iktva Preview: ‘Accelerating Future Success’ theme of this year’s forum
Senior vice president of Procurement and Supply Chain Management, Mohammad A. Al Shammary, looks forward to a bigger-than-ever iktva Forum and Exhibition and takes stock of the program’s success to date.
From relatively humble beginnings in the Dammam Office Building in 2015, to a must-go-to event in 2023 at the Dhahran Expo for top suppliers globally, local suppliers, and crucially local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the iktva Forum and Exhibition has come a long way.
Its growth has mirrored the tangible successes of the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) Program, which has emerged in the intervening years as a catalyst for the transformation of Aramco’s supply chain and of how the company does its procurement business.
The iktva 2023 Forum and Exhibition gets under way on Jan. 30 and runs through Feb. 2 under the banner theme “Accelerating Future Success.”
In its essence, the iktva program has been a critical enabler for the stimulation of an energy industry ecosystem that has proven its mettle during the most challenging of times.
At the heart of iktva is its nurturing of a Saudi energy services sector that helps domestic energy-related industries to flourish and become globally competitive.
To that end, by design, the 2023 Forum & Exhibition will feature pavilions and zones showcasing the opportunities available in the areas of enablers, sustainability, digital, manufacturing, and industrial.
“The event this year is designed to be more targeted, so that businesses and visitors can clearly see the exhibits and opportunities relevant to them, and participate in the workshops and talks for these areas of interest,” Al Shammary explained.
The event is over four days for the first time this year, and this is because we listened to feedback from previous years and realized that people were keen to have extended networking opportunities, and wanted more time to do business. A lot of business is done at the event.
— Mohammad A. Al Shammary
Platforms for networking
“The iktva Forum and Exhibition provides these platforms for networking and doing business.
“Linking all of these zones will be the iktva boulevard, so everything will lead visitors to their areas of interest. If they want to know the opportunities in digital, manufacturing and so on, they can easily go to these areas,” Al Shammary said.
The iktva program itself has added four more elements that can contribute to the score of a company wishing to partner with Aramco as it continues to localize its supply chain.
Environmental, social and governance, cybersecurity, establishing regional headquarters, and the uncapping of export percentages are now a part of the formula.
“All of these are important,” added Al Shammary. “When we think of cybersecurity, this company can only be safer if its suppliers are adopting the best standards. We uncapped the export percentage so that companies excelling in this area remain incentivized to export more.
“And, the setting up of regional headquarters has obvious benefits for Aramco, the Kingdom, the businesses themselves, and the local workforce.”
Al Shammary reflects with pride on the latter point, and the fact that the iktva Program recorded, since its launch, an impressive 70% jump in its Saudization headcount among Aramco suppliers since the Kingdom and the rest of the world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Add to that, as of the end of 2022, Aramco and iktva have achieved a total of 63% in local content efforts, an increase from 35% in 2015.
“Our target is 70% by 2025,” noted Al Shammary.
All of these efforts have built formidable resilience into Aramco’s supply chain, a characteristic that came to the fore in the wake of recent economic conditions.
A key objective of iktva is to promote reliability and resilience, not just in Aramco, but in the Kingdom.
— Mohammad A. Al Shammary
And, the Kingdom has followed suit and adopted the iktva model and its formula.
For iktva and Aramco, some 30 new manufacturers have been established last year, marking a rise to more than 150 manufacturers since launch.
Supply chain development
There has also been a 120% increase in suppliers spend in SMEs’ development when compared to last year, which indicates a marked acceleration in supply chain development.
Going forward, Al Shammary said, “We will accelerate future success through iktva. Iktva has become a platform through which we ensure adoption of best practices and ignite innovations from the local supply chain. Iktva’s goal is to set the local supply chain on the forefront of supply chains around the globe.”
“At this year’s Forum & Exhibition, there will be 200 investment opportunities across all of the sectors,” said Al Shammary.
“Iktva is meeting its targets because of the support of Aramco organizations, from top corporate management all the way through.
“I think that it is important to say that iktva is now firmly in our DNA. It is here to stay.”