Onwards and upwards
From Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to finally Dubai, Muhammad Qasim Latif’s journey with Wärtsilä spans almost two decades and different countries. His dedication and quest for excellence have taken him places, quite literally.
In his free time, Qasim loves to explore new regions. And as luck would have it, since the start of his career, he has lived in three different countries and this has given him a chance to indulge in his passion.
While he is currently working in the Middle East as a Business Development Manager for Sales, Qasim began in Wärtsilä Pakistan laying the foundations of his career with roles from field services and technical services to operations and management and power plant sales.
“In 2017, I moved to the United Arab Emirates from Saudi Arabia, where I had spent eight years creating a footprint for Wärtsilä and developing the market,” he says.
Qasim’s 19 year-long stint in the company is filled with many notable projects, including power plant sales in Pakistan during 2006 – 2009, and the introduction of significant new Wärtsilä engine models, such as the first W32TS in Saudi Arabia and world’s first tri-fuel W50DF engine operating on gas.
“These machines are remarkable since they operate on gas and crude oil in combined cycle mode,” he adds. “This assures flexibility and reliability in operations.”
A sense of ownership
According to Qasim, the key to his consistent growth lies in the freedom he enjoys at Wärtsilä. “When the organisation places its trust in your decisions, there is a sense of ownership that helps you work towards the best interests of the company,” he explains.
And it’s precisely these decisions that have earned him and his team many milestones. But the memory that brings a smile to his face is of beating his competitors in an important deal.
“I can never forget the surprise on our competitors’ faces when the customer’s chairman announced the bid in our favour; it was unbelievable,” quips Qasim. “They were pretty confident of bagging the deal, but we won the project thanks to our more comprehensive and superior offering,” he says triumphantly.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing always. Qasim remembers how a new project sales deal was stuck in internal limbo, as the sales teams wanted to offer different solutions to the customer: Engineering, Procurement and Construction agreement as well as Operations and Management agreement. “The solutions had to be merged, but before it could be done, our teams needed to discuss the matter thoroughly,” he explains.
Eventually, it was Qasim’s experience in services, operations, management agreements and power plant sales that came in handy. “I managed to convince the teams to adapt to the new solution we were suggesting to the customer and that finally helped us bag the project,” he recalls.
Excellence in all things
Since then, Qasim has witnessed communication processes within Wärtsilä improve drastically – a trend that he feels has vastly improved the effectiveness and agility of the company.
“Now, everyone is more aware of the group strategy and the thought process behind making new decisions,” he says. “This is a significant improvement considering how much the company has grown over the past few years and with more people coming on board. Shared understanding helps in being able to work towards a single purpose.”
Operational Excellence initiatives, believes Qasim, has helped streamline processes within the company, and this, coupled with other key factors, has the potential to keep Wärtsilä ahead of competitors.
“R&D has surely played an important role in this,” he points out highlighting the company’s ability to efficiently deliver projects using state-of-the-art technology and standardised solutions.
So, what’s next? Qasim is confident that Wärtsilä will continue to be among the top energy players globally over the next five years. “I see myself playing an active role in that process,” he declares, calling himself as an ambassador, helping to spread the good word about the company.