Mohammadi Electric Products (MEP) had a modest beginning in 1974, manufacturing only two products – plugs and sockets – in its factory on a small plot in the Barishal BSCIC Estate.
Over the last four decades or so, the company has emerged as one of the leading market players with its annual turnover reaching Tk430 crore – nearly 8% of the domestic market – and an array of some 1,600 items.
Mohammadi Electric now has two large manufacturing units, producing most essential electric products such as ceiling fans, all kinds of lights, cables, switches, sockets etc.
And now that the company has established a strong foothold in the domestic market, it is now looking at overseas markets. Shafiual Alam Chaklader was the founder Chairman of MEP.
The company is also working on setting up a new factory in Bhola.
According to official sources, the products of the company are in good demand all across the country.
The sales of the company did not fall even during the unprecedented economic slowdown caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic; rather its products remained in high demands in all markets, said Sayed Ahamed Khan Mahid, senior general manager (corporate sales) of Mohammadi Electric Products.
He said the company currently has two manufacturing units – one in the BSCIC area and the other is at Hatkhola of Barishal city. The Hatkhola factory manufactures the electric products while the BSCIC factory is used for making commercial packaging.
"We produce every electrical product for the local market and customers," said Mahid, adding that the present market value of the company is more than Tk500 crore.
Mohammadi Electric employs around 4,000 people including those in transportation and marketing, and Mahid said around 90% of its workers are women.
Registered as a private company in 2010, The MEP got a five-star rating from the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI).
"We have established the company with an aim to reduce the widespread import dependency in the sector," said Shokil Alom Chaklader, director of the company.
The company is now marketing 1,600 different products, he added.
"We import our raw materials from South Korea, China, and India. We manufacture all the products, except energy lights and all LED lights, in our factory. These two types of products are assembled here," he mentioned.
At present, the company has dealers in each district. It also has 11 sales points across the country.
Workers of the company are paid fairly with all their rights ensured. Employees also get free medical service.
All the staff members got their salaries and Eid bonuses regularly amid the pandemic and none of them was let go due to the crisis, according to Shokil Alom.
The making of MEP
In 1974, soon after completing a diploma in mechanical engineering from Barishal Polytechnic College, Shamshul Islam Chaklader along with his two brothers collected machines from Old Dhaka and started manufacturing electric plugs and sockets in a rented room with an investment of Tk40,000 and six workers.
But only after six months they had to stop production owing to a space crisis. Later, their maternal uncle arranged a room for them in Hatkhola of the Barishal town.
Witnessing the popularity of the first two products across the country, Shamshul Islam Chaklader and his brothers planned to launch a new product – light bulb holder – but they could not arrange the required Tk20,000 to procure a machine.
That time, their younger sister came to their assistance with Tk15,000. They borrowed the remaining Tk5,000, said Jahangir Alom Chaklader, present managing director of the MEP.
"We collected our machines from India and China," he added.
Not looking for a job after graduation, Shamshul Alam had gone for setting up a factory to manufacture electric products as there was no such factory in the southern region.
The MEP mainly thrived on its initial three products – electric plug, socket and bulb holder.
Detailing their future plan Sayed Ahamed Khan Mahid, the senior general manager, said, "We target to export our products and have plans to export to African countries."
He added that they have around 5,000 corporate clients who directly purchase goods from the company.
"We offer some extra facilities for our corporate clients, which include lighting design and electric planning for enhancing the beauty and attractions of a business establishment."
"We are thinking of establishing our factory in Bhola for the availability of natural gas," he said, urging the government to develop infrastructures to help expand different industries in Barishal.
To earn customers' confidence, the company is committed to provide after-sales service for all their products. They ensure the service within 24 hours of claim.
Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Fortune Footwear, a corporate client of the company said, "I am pleased at the service of the company. I am getting their service as soon as I require it."
Sellers are also satisfied with the after-sales service of Mohammadi Electric. "We confidently sell MEP products as there are very few complaints about them," said Shahidul Islam, a retailer at Katpatti Road in Barishal.
Electrical products business in the country
The domestic market of electrical products and wiring solutions is growing fast, thanks to rapid urbanisation and increased availability of electricity.
Industry insiders said the market size of electrical goods currently stands at around Tk5,500 crore. Branded products cater to 50% of the local demand, while non-branded local and imported goods meet the rest, they added.
According to industry insiders, Walton, Pran-RFL, BD Lamps, and Energypac are the major market players.