Man with a plan

In this section of Channel Middle East, we pack our bags and head to work with a member of the channel community to find out what a typical day on the job entails.

Tags: ASUSTeK Computer IncorporatedAlmasa Holdings
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Man with a plan
By  Andrew Seymour Published  December 14, 2010

Name: Omar Baktash
Company: Almasa
Job title: Senior Product Manager for Asus Products
Years in the role: 15 years
Years at the company: 10 years
Previous companies: Al Laith (Iraq), Compu Valli, ID Net

How would you summarise your role?

I manage the Asus notebook business in terms of purchasing, inventory, revenue, profit and channel management. I am responsible for checking the pricing in the market and selecting the right products for the region. The role involves following up on shipments and sales orders, and ensuring the correct pricing is in our system. I also carry out training for the sales team when necessary and meet with customers.

What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office each day?

I start my day in the office with a cup of coffee and then I check my e-mails. I tend to start with the most important e-mails from the vendors, as well as the important ones from customers. After that, I will look at the internal e-mails, which are usually from members of the management or sales team.

What does a typical day entail for you?

A typical day is focused on managing the products in terms of profit and aging stock. I have to select and arrange shipment of the right products, taking into account market fluctuations and behaviour. There is always a balance that needs to be achieved between stock and revenue. Part of my job is also to communicate with the resellers and sub-distributors, so that they have the latest stock information and product updates. I spend time getting feedback from them, particularly on market pricing and how the competition is doing. I handle customers from all around the region, including Iraq, Kuwait, the UAE and North Africa. Meeting customers and looking into their requirements is an important part of the job. After work, I spend the evenings with family or have dinner with family and friends.

What skills do you need to do your job?

You need to have strong communication skills, knowledge about the products you are managing and technical knowledge. You also have to understand the market, particularly in terms of how the dynamics can change and what is likely to happen in the next six or 12 months.

What’s been your most memorable moment in your current role?

Each time I am given a job to do by senior management I attempt to take on the challenge and complete it in the best way possible. I have been rewarded for that in the past and have been promoted to higher positions, so those are memorable moments for me. The moments when a vendor appreciates the achievements I have made are also memorable.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I still see myself working in the IT business, perhaps managing a wider range of products along with a team of people.

How much time do you spend out of the office each week?

I spend around 25% of my time every week out of the office, visiting the market and conducting meetings with customers and vendors, as well as driving marketing activities. If I am not meeting with customers then I like to do market surveys, checking which brands are on the shelves and how they are displayed. I’ll also look at my product to ensure it is displayed and priced correctly.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

The most difficult aspect of the job is maintaining control of the inventory and stock to keep the situation healthy. That has to be balanced with profitability and revenue. Because the competition is so high these days, maintaining the right level of profitability in line with the company’s targets can be a challenge.

What do you get up to during your lunch hour?

I usually spend the lunch hour with colleagues or friends. We meet for lunch and then catch up on all the latest happenings.

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