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Navigating the Manufacturing Landscape: Insights from an Industry Trailblazer, Mohamed Taha Elkiaei

Mohamed Taha Elkiaei
Photo Credited to: Mohamed Taha Elkiaei

By: Sasha Karpova

According to a Chubb and the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) report, 76% of middle-market manufacturers project overall performance improvements this year. The middle market, comprising 200,000 U.S. businesses and contributing one-third of private sector GDP while employing 48 million people, plays a crucial role in assessing overall business resilience. We sat down with Mohamed Taha, an expert in the field of manufacturing and operations and spoke about the sector of manufacturing, industry, and supply chain, which stays strong amid potential economic challenges. 

Mohamed started his career as a Quality Engineer at General Motors Egypt, joined Procter and Gamble, and went up the ladder in different locations. Over the past years, he started up several lines with the latest technologies to achieve high throughput and improve productivity; his stamp is seen in the field of Fabric and Home Care Fast Moving Consumer Goods, where he contributed to higher product availability and presence in the market, in addition to optimized operating cost. His expertise led him to oversee end-to-end supply chain operations at the Procter and Gamble Paper Site in Oxnard, CA. His success is rooted in strategic problem-solving and team leadership.

Mohamed, you have been in different global roles focused on loss analysis and manufacturing process optimization, with solid results already demonstrated. What inspired you to start a career in this field?

“I have a great passion for Loss Elimination and being more efficient in the field of Manufacturing, Industry, and Supply Chain. I see it as the future; in a market with continuous challenges and fierce competition, the business that can reach the highest level of flexibility and resource utilization will be the only winner. In addition, I enjoy working with people, building capabilities, and sharing my knowledge with others; it gives me a sense of achievement and success.”

Right after your graduation, you managed to join a key project in Singapore with Keppel Group as an Engineer under training. What exactly did you do in this role? 

“The project we are talking about was in the field of recycling. I was working in a Water Reclamation Plant for liquid waste recycling and purification, and I was also part of the Solid Waste Recycling Project in an Incineration Plant; it was a rich experience that set me up for success later. It was the stem of learning the power of reapplication to fix recurring issues systematically and brainstorming as a team to develop new innovative ideas for business growth.”

Mohamed, you have been exposed to different kinds of projects and business issues over the past 15 years; a journey like this has helped you gain good experience in Continuous Improvement and Process Optimization. In your opinion, which skills made you valuable for the top Tier companies? 

“My journey began as a Quality Engineer at General Motors Egypt, where I climbed to Quality Planning and Assurance Supervisor, leading crucial launches and gaining diverse market exposure. Transitioning to Procter and Gamble in 2012, I excelled in Process Engineering for Fabric Care, mastering problem-solving and loss elimination.

I spearheaded a $21 million capacity project in Mexico, launching two packing lines enhancing Dry Laundry Powder’s North American market presence. In the U.S., as Senior Technical Department Manager, I optimized operations, reducing unplanned losses by 50%, and saving over $1.1 million.

My expertise led me to oversee end-to-end supply chain operations at the Procter and Gamble Paper Site in Oxnard, CA. Here, I leverage skills in value stream mapping and automation projects, optimizing the supply chain and driving substantial business impact. My success is rooted in strategic problem-solving, team leadership, and an unwavering commitment to operational excellence.”

In your current project in the Fabric, Home, and Family Care Business, What are you looking to achieve and implement?  

“I am eager to fix any existing defects or losses by addressing the root cause of such issues and preventing recurrence with an intelligent equipment and process design that eliminates potential errors or failures. In line with that, setting robust standards and methods to ensure sustainability and continuous improvement has been my strategy in my previous projects and will continue to be with an extra focus on market needs and behaviors.” 

Last year, you were honored with the Servant Leader award, a distinction given to only 1% of your 1500-employee population.  How did you get additional accomplishments?

“I am certified in Manufacturing Breakdown Elimination and Unified Problem Solving methodologies. I have conducted numerous training sessions in these areas, developing comprehensive training materials to serve as guides and references for others.

In the realm of fast-moving consumer goods, my contributions have been multifaceted. I’ve created numerous job opportunities within communities, established standards and work instructions for efficient manufacturing processes, and trained aspiring individuals, guiding them toward successful careers. Over the past five years, my efforts have led to substantial savings, exceeding $5 million, recognized and acknowledged by my management multiple times.”

As an expert in the field, you have made some important contributions to the manufacturing, industry, and supply chain. Can you please tell us about it?

“Throughout my journey in the Manufacturing, Industry, and Supply Chain, I have always been targeting loss elimination by non-value added tasks and continuously seeking Work Process Improvement; the key tool here is to identify the daily management tasks and the critical in-process measures that would ensure healthy output measures serving the overall business goal, this is coupled with the Value Stream Mapping exercise to layout the roadmap towards the ideal state.

I am delighted to have been part of many Value Stream Mapping efforts in several businesses where the losses were identified. The masterplan was developed and executed by implementing some significant projects, like building a new production line or restructuring the supply chain for better manufacturing cost and less lead time, all of which led to better overall service; another satisfying aspect was training and engaging other resources in the process to build the capability and knowledge needed for continuity and continuous improvement. This is the best part of the job.”

Your thoughts are incredibly insightful, Mohamed. As you move forward with your plans, what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals in the manufacturing industry? How can they navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunities this ever-evolving landscape presents?

“I would say this to my fellow professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs: never stop learning. Embrace change and stay updated with the latest advancements in technology. Networking is invaluable; surround yourself with mentors and peers who inspire you. Be open to collaboration and be willing to adapt your strategies based on emerging trends. Most importantly, believe in your vision and persevere. The manufacturing industry offers boundless opportunities for innovation and growth; it’s up to us to seize them and shape the future of manufacturing together.”

What are your predictions about the industry? Especially in the US? 

“The Fast Moving Consumer Goods represent a huge business scale in the United States, with many opportunities to streamline its supply chain and improve its Manufacturing Cost and Resources Efficiency; the current competition in the US market will only be in favor of those looking at smart technological solutions to deliver the product at lower cost and less environmental impact.

Zooming in, the revenue generated in the Home and Laundry Care market in the United States amounted to US$31.31 billion in 2023. According to the projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for 2023-2028, the market is expected to grow annually by 2.71%. The largest segment within this market is Laundry Care, which had a market volume of US$15.35bn in 2023.

When compared globally, the United States stands out as the country generating the highest revenue in the Home and Laundry Care market, with US$31.31bn in 2023. These statistics can put into perspective the importance of such a business and how promising the future will be for the strategic projects within this segment.”

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