Four Principles partners with Saudi Customs on operational improvement

29 April 2020 3 min. read

GCC-based lean management consultancy Four Principles has teamed up with Saudi Customs to help improve the agency’s operational efficiency.

Middle East lean management champions Four Principles has partnered with Saudi Customs on a project to improve the operational performance of its core activities and enhance customer experience. In an effort to position itself as a global freight and logistics hub, Saudi Arabia has in recent years invested significant sums into transportation infrastructure, and is already home to the largest network of ports in the Middle East. 

Now, in fitting with the nation’s ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 agenda, Four Principles is supporting Saudi Customs’ transformation by applying lean methodologies to implement best-in-class initiatives, from setting up an operational excellence department to identifying process improvement opportunities across its core activities. According to the partners, these initiatives are bringing the customer experience to industry leading standards.

Four Principles partners with Saudi Customs on operational improvement

“The first step for Saudi Customs is to become the best regional customs service, contributing to the Kingdom’s vision of becoming a global platform for logistical services and raising economic competitiveness,” said Ahmed Al-Haqbani, Governor of Saudi Customs. “By partnering with Four Principles to transform major operational processes, we are confident that we will achieve our Vision for Saudi Customs, starting with the 24-hour customs clearance goal.”

Further outlining the project, Al-Haqbani described the creation of a unified center for operations which can receive and treat customs’ declarations from all ports in the one center as the first move in streamlining the agency’s operations, simplifying procedures and reducing clearance time. As further noted, the concept was successfully piloted in one port and is expected to be implemented in all ports across Saudi Arabia by mid-next year.

And the project has already attracted praise, with the Four Principles and Saudi Customs operational excellence teams jointly awarded with the highest accolade in the category of ‘Change Leaders Award’ for the Governmental sector by The Business & Management Forum. The parties state a vision for continuing the partnership over the long-term, aiming to achieve the same level of excellence across all Saudi Customs’ ports.

“In line with the Government’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan to transform the country into an international logistical center, Four Principles is proud to be supporting these changes through implementing continuous improvement projects at Saudi Customs in order to improve efficiency towards operational excellence,” said Four Principles managing partner Seif Shieshakly, who co-founded the lean management consultancy in 2010.

Celebrating the firm’s 10 year anniversary earlier this year (with the establishment of a joint venture with Abdul Latif Jameel in 2017 described as a key milestone), Four Principles outlined the $2 billion in savings it had helped to achieve in client operational costs in Saudi Arabia since its founding, as well as reducing service delivery and production lead times by up to 96%. Soon the firm will also be launching a dedicated training academy in Riyadh.

“By promoting lean transformation initiatives, it is our aim to deliver a profound change in corporate culture, from the bottom of our clients’ organisation to the very top, with a passionate focus on optimising value,” said Shieshakly. “To that end, we have saved millions of hours of clients’ time and skills from wasteful activities, while creating more value for their customers. We are proud to reach this 10-year milestone in our own journey.”