Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Outdoors in Oman

I am proud to tell that I work for Mars. It is a humble family-owned company. It has no string attached to any ridiculous banks that have caused all the world-wide financial havoc. There is no share holders to dictate how the business should be run which boldly means, not so many asses to kiss. The company's existence is to delight its customers, their pets and its associates. The employees are called associates for we like to be associated with one another like a big family. Our chocolates are branded as Mars, Galaxy, Snickers, Bounty, m&m's, Ripple, Twix, Jewels ..well the list is long actually. Our pet food brands are Pedigree, Whiskas and Sheba. We also produce food products like Uncle Ben's, Abu Syayef, Dolmio and Nutro. Our beverage brand is Flavia. Our chewy and sugar products are the Skittles, Starbust, and recently Wrigley's products have been a part of our business. We have all the right reasons to be proud of the products. One reason for sure, we like them so much and we eat them a lot (err...but not the pet food).. and you should too :-)

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Last weekend our company had organized and sponsored the following event......

I was hoping to join the event. I was also thinking of taking home one of the homeless cats staged in the show, as there are many expatriates had left Dubai and their pets behind. But on the same day, I had another important event sponsored by Mars, which is of higher priority for me.

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I feel obligated to promote Mars, its products and its business event as above, in return to the AED15,000 granted to our production team excursion to Musandam, Oman. The trip expenses amounted to exactly AED11,000 after negotiation with the tour operator. We thought of driving in a convoy to cut cost. But our Safety Manager has his valid concern about the associates driving before and after their shift and the team activities. He also has his worst case scenario in his head. What if something happened to the one bus we provided and the whole production shift in it? The operations would be affected and so we made other plan.
* * * * * * * * * *
My production team consists of 32 associates including myself. So we chartered two 15-seaters coasters. Two of our associates drove in a car. This cost of the transportation added another AED4,000. The Safety Manager emailed me a report from our unit in India that covers an incident happened on a company-sponsored trip there last year. Along with that, he attached the company policy on outdoor team activities. We spent a few hours in the office to do the risk assessment of our activities 2 days before the trip. We had a checklist. All were ticked satisfactorily. After understanding and owning the responsibilities, I have the freedom to take my production team to roam the coast of Musandam, Oman in search for the natural beauty and the essence within ourselves to build a stronger team for future challenges.

The car that led our way

One of the two coasters that followed....

Inside the coaster on our 2 hours journey from Dubai to Oman

At the meeting point close to Sharjah-Oman border as the day darkened

Settling down as we reached our campsite in Oman

I presented and led the discussion on our 2009 objectives, goals, strategies & measures

The camp fire was one of the best treat before we retreated into our tent

The breathtaking view to wake up with.

A perfect early morning combo - the sunrise, the sea, the sand & the dhow.

One "m" was all set for a new day infront of our tent

More "m"s posed as if the red M&M's team had won the Olympics relay...

....and the whole bunch posed while waiting for our breakfast

The search for a perfect isolated beach that we could call ours for the day

Our mini expedition into one of the coastal caves of Musandam

The isolated beach surrounded by only rocks and hills

Our safety co-ordinator standing infront of the water edge while I made a quick check on the depth and the presence of any hazards. No jelly fish, no sea urchin, no glasses, few metal cans and no swimming beyond this point. So I said, '"OK boys .... the sea is yours!" .

The water was not that clear, a disappointment for those hoping for a good snorkeling.

A lonely crab annoyed by our presence on its private beach

The rocks with their many faces shaping the coast of Musandam

The team discussion continued on the dhow on our way back.

The wharf with moored boats and dhows.

The fishy smell and the setting sun marked the end of our trip.


Inah said... called retreat in the dessert :D

Roti Kacang Merah said...

LOVE that morning breathtaking view and also the last view.

brilliant entry too -- very educative pertaining the risk and safety factors prior to office field trips/retreats. in fact, i memang suka kalau you share about your organisation's management -- things that i could pick-up bits and pieces and prolly implement some teeny weeny bits here at my own unit.

hey kami ni pembeli setia whiskas biscuits tau. in fact, we're the ultimate proof that whiskas biscuits can make ANY stray cats look as if they're expensive and well-groomed ;-). hey we should get some special discounts ke apa lah... or, a paid trip to Dubai Mars ke apa ;-) haha

kKEarthling said...

You're so lucky you're from Mars. Planet Earth is poor & sick now. If you hv focus group to test new products & whatnot, shout & we will all be there...err, i'm talking abt things for people to eat, not pets.

azizi said...

awesome view.
amazed by that.

Syamsulfaiz said...

Hallloooo JUmper,

All this while I thought you were in construction or ID company. Tak sangka rupanya dgn food company.

I have never been to Musandam. The pictures tell that it is a very nice retreat place with scenic view. Will go there someday.

Lee said...

Hi Jumper, I love Mars products, and my all time favorite is Bounty.
Right now in my fridge ada half a dozen Snikers and Bounty.
Love to munch bila tengok TV.

Wow! Love your pics here, beautiful.
Must visit this negeri one day.
Have fun and keep well, Lee.

Ms B said...

Didnt manage to read the whole entry (it has been a long week. deadline tomorrow). was only interested in choc bit ie mars! does that mean you can give us some? esp these days as my dinner are either muffins or choc bars.

Jumper said...

The gulf with its barren desert is full of surprises,indeed. When I was a schoolboy daydreaming to roam the world in my Geography classes and when the teacher named Molly was an utter mess, I had never thought much about the gulf existence. When I watched the desert scenes in "The English Patient" in the 90s, I start to realize the mysterious beauty of the Arab world. Still it never occurred to me to engage my life to this part of the world until now when I actually live in it.

I have worked in 3 multi-national companies, a Japanese, a Swiss and a now a family-owned. The last has been the best in its management practices, light in philosophies and no bull shits. The focus is on doing what is practically right, not politically neither ideally right. It is a down-to-earth company, with a pool of talented people who grow but still feel small. I'll make it a point to share more of these teeny weeny bits in my future blogging.

We don't manufacture pet food in Dubai. Our unit in Hyderabad, India produces it in many variants of dogs and cats food. There is an interesting thing I know recently. In India, there's Whiskas with spicy flavour! The research reveals that these pets have been living with the Indians and have been so used to leftover human spicy food for generations and they just love the substitute of the modern pack with all the right spices. Back to your domestic purchasing, on behalf of Mars, I thank you for being our loyal customer. But I just can't act on behalf of Mars to give any discount - I'm just a peanut ma.... Nevertheless, if you come over to Dubai, you'll definitely get a VIP tour to our chocolate factory.

Come on.. hopes are still rife on planet earth. Earthlings are creatures with bouncing ability to get out of the mess and hardship. If you're willing to unmask your identity behind the Nyonya kuih of the hidden kopitiam at the Green, you may call 050-6973102. I need you not for product tasting, but I need you to take home good chocolate samples accumulated in my fridge that I get every week.

Thanks for dropping and commenting.
I thought of commenting on the speech made by the limbless man you had posted, but I was speechless...wordless....there.

Why? Do you have anything against someone working for food company. OK. Let's make it clear. I don't add melamine in the chocolate, if that's your issue. Musandam is simply great. Yes, you should go there; but try to camp overnight by the beach. You'll be stunned with both the sunset and sunrise. But if you're afraid of the darkness in-between the sun shows, call 050-6973102. I can be trusted for a good camping buddy; but only when I'm off from my chocolate making duty.

Uncle Lee,
Those who loves Bounty is exotic in nature. I learn this from our study to characterize our chocolate consumers for a marketing strategy. And having known you from your blogging, I would consider the following characters like .... fearless strong-fisted manly man, ageless romeo, king of tango, sweet-talker, heart-breaker, savvy and smart business dealer who travels in private jets in casual tie-less outfit. You make a good Bounty ambassador!

Ms. B,
Your life is hurdled with so many deadlines, dear. So you should be snacking with Galaxy G collections that we manufacture here in Dubai.The name Galaxy, the rich taste and smooth texture will take beyond your hurdle and get you in the galaxy of indulgence. I have a handful here to give away for free but how to reach, you're so far..
Still as a believer in Food Science,Health and Nutrition, I encourage you to snack with the chocolate but please don't skip dinner altogether consistently.
Thanks for commenting.

hady said...

salam jumper

oh, i miss to read ur entry post!
(been busy lately with works and stuff..)

anyway, its surprising to know that u are working with Mars! your son and daughter must be very proud of that. maybe they will say "kamu tahu, ayah saya yang buatkan coklat yang kamu suka tu!".

oman. so u've been there as well. beautiful rite? so nampak nya xjadilah saya nak sambung cerita Oman Trip part 2.. :P

Jumper said...

Hi. Better get busy than get laid off. Mars is a fun place to work, I'm really bersyukur. Oman is humbly pleasant and I enjoyed its seaside. But the water was not as clear as I had thought. It's never too late and you must always finish what you've started. So I'm anticipating the sequel of your story in Oman...
Have a good work-life balance dude!

Roti Kacang Merah said...

"So madame, whiskas original, or hot & spicy?"

heh heh

hady said...

hey, im going to musandam, oman agai this week. this time for snorkelling! yay!

Jumper said...

Hopefully the water will be clear for you. Have fun.