Slim BOULABIAR, GMC SARL: “We as GMC rank number three in milling of durum wheat in the local market. We also rank number eight in milling of bread wheat. Our operating semolina mill has the capacity of 550 tonnes of production, and our flour mill has the capacity of 260 tonnes of production daily.”
Les Grands Moulin de Cap Bon, alias GMC SARL is one of the most important semolina and flour producers of Tunisia. Especially being among the top 3 companies in semolina production of the country, GMC serves within La Rose Blanche group which is the biggest agricultural food producer of Tunisia. Producing both semolina, flour and pasta, couscous and feed, the company has focused on consolidation in the local market especially in order to increase its power in the international market. Slim Boulabiar, the Mill Chief of the company explains the mission of the company as sort of quality and customer satisfaction.
Answering our questions about GMC SARL, Mr. Boulabiar also shares details of raw material market in Tunisia for readers of our magazine.
Dear BOULABIAR, first of all can you tell about your company Les Grands Moulin de Cap Bon? What can you say about your company and how you could make it today?
“Les Grands Moulin de Cap Bon”, alias GMC SARL company is the result of acquisition of Grands Moulin de Nebeul which was going through financial difficulties by La Rose Blanche group in 2008. Reviving of this unit was a part of a strategy aiming to strengthen the position of our group in the Tunisian market. Also acting to meet needs of our pasta unit which is very active at international level, our group therefore guaranteed semolina supply thanks to this acquisition.
Today, being in a market segment of a sub-branch of grain and derivatives in the agricultural food industry, our GMC company carries out its activities around two main products as processing of durum wheat and bread wheat in semolina and flour form under the brand of “EL KHOMSA”.
Being a part of La Rose Blanche Group, which is the indisputable actor of the Tunisian grain industry, GMC provides a strong vertical integration with 3 industry centers in Northern, Middle and Southern regions and catches the opportunity to operate in other fields. These areas can be listed as follows;
• Planting, harvesting and storing of wheat,
• Processing of wheat as flour, semolina and bran at first,
• Processing of wheat as pasta, couscous and feed at second,
• Shipping and distributing of wheat in national and international market.
We can summarize the mission of our company in this industry as “strengthening the position of the group in the industry by meeting standards and requirements of commerce and providing closeness to customers country-wide”.
Can you give us some information about your production facility, capacity and technologies you use? Which level is your company at in capacity and technology usage?
Machinery and equipment used in our company represent cutting-edge technological innovations. Our operating semolina mill has the capacity of 550 tonnes of production, and our flour mill has the capacity of 260 tonnes of production daily.
We as GMC rank number three in milling of durum wheat in the local market. We also rank number eight in milling of bread wheat.
And which aspects do separate your company from your competitors in your country? What can you tell about your corporate culture and functioning?
Our company separates from other companies with its spirit and quality culture within it. Thanks to our services and products we provide, we ensure customer satisfaction. In addition, we perform “satisfaction measurement and assessment” each year unlike our competitors in order to meet demands of our customers and guarantee their satisfaction.
We have a corporate culture established by the main directors of the company including former directors of the group and passed on today. This culture also includes experience and mastership of the group on commerce. Therefore, being within a group with mastership, recognition and leadership gives company the opportunity to grow as a part of a development strategy and establish a common vision with all group companies.
High background information and audit ratio of the group make integration and training of the newly-recruited more efficient and transmission of corporate culture can be easy with current information and experience accumulation.
In addition, our company management including human resources is willing to establish the founding of a strong resources management; meeting demands and expectations of customers and increasing product quality for a much better position in the market.
Semolina has an important place in your production. It even constitutes your main product range. Who do you sell semolina you produce to? Who are your customers?
As I stated at the beginning of this conversation, product range of GMC company has developed around two main products since the very beginning. The first of these products is semolina. Our company produces 4 different semolina by grinding hard wheat for pasta. These are classified as big (GG), medium (MG) and fine (SSSE) depending on particle size and as bran and minced semolina as by-product.
In our flour mill, bakery flour named PS is produced by grinding of soft wheat, and various by-products are produced with the production of pastry flour called as PS-7.
Our customers consist of bakers, vendors, cooperatives, wholesalers, pasta producers and small and medium sized patisseries.
Do you serve for only Tunisian market (domestic market)? Do you have any activity for exportation, or any goal regarding this?
We are currently conducting researches for new customers to export our products to foreign markets. Because the strategy set for encouraging export of the company continues to be among the interests of the authorities of Grands Moulins du Cap Bon.
In addition, for this purpose, in the period when the company exports, it is important to state that export amount of the company is respectable and improves constantly, especially it has a 12 percent of share in total endorsement of the company. As also understood from the export records in 2016, GMC has focused on consolidations in the local market in order to enhance its international sales.
What does your company owe its market power to, or what makes you different in the international market?
Since the beginning, with 3 industry centers of GMC in the Northern, Middle and Southern regions, it was decided to be within La Rose Blanche which is also known as an important player of the Tunisian grain industry. Similarly, it was determined that the company would carry out its activities with a strong vertical integration at a large spectrum such as planting, harvesting and storing of wheat; turning wheat into flour, semolina and bran with the first processing step; and turning it into pasta, couscous and animal feed with the second processing step and in addition to all these, shipping and distribution.
All these factors represent the perfect position of the group, thus allowing it to conquer export markets even in the fierce international competition environment. Moreover, considering activities of GMC, market share researches conducted in agricultural food sector, particularly in grain and derivatives industry indicate that there are two main products: “Flour” and “Semolina”.
One of the most important matters in milling is raw material. What is the status of raw material in your country, how do enterprises supply raw materials?
As you know, grain has an important place in almost all agricultural research programs conducted world-wide. In Tunisia, it is aimed to produce especially durum wheat and barley consistently. This indicates that grain has an extremely important position in our country. Besides, grain production in Tunisia highly depends on climatic conditions and is frequently exposed to drought. Many works have been performed in environments lack of water for grain production and these were welcomed warmly. Even some works indicated that grains show resistance mechanism against environmental restrictions causing growth, development and efficiency problems in grains.
On the other hand, departments of various ministries have to intervene in agriculture, commerce and industry for management of grain chain. Established in 1960 and operating within the Ministry of Agriculture, Grains Council (GC) is the most important structure of this industry. The Council is responsible for implementation of pricing policy and modernization of production techniques. Private representatives (such as wheat cooperative and center field products cooperative) have been used since 2004 in order to ensure harvesting and storing grains.
Grains Council (and its representatives) acts as monopoly in the grain industry; however all process are done according to prices set by the regulation and announced at the beginning of each season. The Council is also obliged to import in necessary amount in order to meet domestic demands. These grain products harvested and stored by the organization are then sent to millers, namely processor companies with reduced prices.