Greetings from Lebanon In the middle of the Corona pandemic, Technica invents the AmbuVent. A ventilator whose parts are cut on Bystronic laser machines. But Lebanon is shaken by another crisis. We meet again with Tony Haddad, Managing Director.
Tony Haddad is a patron who cares about his employees and combines leadership with vision and sustainability. And this in a country shaken by crises. But the Lebanese keep getting up and reinventing themselves. When Bystronic visited Technica to report in our customer magazine “Bystronic World” this in spring, Managing Director Tony Haddad spoke to us about the latest invention - the "AmbuVent". A ventilator that his employees developed within a very short time and the parts are cut on the Bystar Laser cutting machine. The idea for the "AmbuVent" was born during the Corona pandemic, but this suddenly drifted into the background on August 4. Suddenly the whole world looked to Beirut in shock: an explosion in the harbour destroyed large parts of the capital city and cost many people’s lives. Another tragedy with new questions, which Tony Haddad answers for us. We met him again - this time virtually, via video conference.
"We want a change"
You can hear it in the tone of his voice, Tony Haddad has not given up hope. Although he stresses: "We don't know if we're already grounded or if we'll go one step further towards hell". He lists the crises of the last decades and for that the fingers on one hand are not enough to count. The explosion in early August churned the country again: "We have always had wars and crises and we have developed a resistance. We are fighters," says Tony Haddad, emphasizing the cohesion of the Lebanese society.
The people are suffering. The economy is suffering. The Lebanese want a change. Looking back on August 4, Tony Haddad says: "I was hoping for a wake-up call. Because the explosion itself is not the shame. The shame is that nothing happened afterwards".
“You are crazy”
People from around the world expressed their compassion in early August, because Tony Haddad has built up an international company over the last decades. He took and takes the scepter into his own hands – as he did in 1982 when he realized his vision: "I wanted to manufacture machines in Lebanon and sell them all over the world", and this in the middle of a war. Everyone advised him: "Don’t do that. You are crazy!” But he didn't listen and went ahead with his plan without any business plan. "38 years later, we are suppliers to multinational companies. We have orders from Mexico, Russia, Peru and Africa, among others".
And another crisis – how do you explain that to employees?
It was a long way until Tony Haddad built his customer base on almost every continent: "I was only 30 years old when I founded the company. I wanted to employ people here so that they didn't migrate abroad", and today he employs around 200 people, for whom and their families he feels responsible. He understands their concerns and their existential fears are very big: "We calm them down by explaining the situation. We do not lie. We are facing a crisis and so we tell them what we have to do. And, how this will have positive effects for them, for their families, for Technica and for our country".
As an entrepreneur, Tony Haddad moves forward. It's not just about managing the current situation, but also having a strategy for the future.
Think global, act local
Today Technica delivers automation solutions all over the world. It is important to Tony Haddad to build a relationship with his customers. That's why Technica plants a tree in the name of each customer, when they issue a purchase order (PO): One tree for every hundred thousand Euros. Using GPS data, customers can watch their tree grow in Lebanon. "This way we can create a connection between us and our customers". Technica has already planted over two thousand trees in the Lebanese forests. This is in line with our culture element CSV - create shared value for the community.
And even more trees shall be planted, because Technica wants to continue to grow and, with its Strategy 2025 "go global, go digital and go lean", open up new countries and markets together with its employees: "Here too, we are showing them how we want to grow together.
We are setting up a factory and operation in Poland to serve the market in Europe; we have the same plans for Canada. The "Internet of Things" supports us with digital solutions. This means we have lean processes and can act quickly in the market".
An idea turns into a ventilator
Reacting in a swift manner to changes and to break new ground is the strength of Technica. When the corona-news from Italy spilled in early 2020, Tony Haddad couldn't get rid of those sad images he saw. Without hesitation, he decided to manufacture ventilators that were desperately neeed. Software and mechanical engineers developed the “AmbuVent” day and night for two weeks, which was finally certified by the American University Hospital, and is used to support patients live in hospitals, explains Tony Haddad proudly and smiles.
Technica will earn nothing from this invention. If there is any demand, Tony Haddad will give the device to the hospitals at cost. An approved ventilator manufactured on a Bystronic laser cutting machine: this way, hundreds of ventilators can be produced per month. "The partnership with Bystronic is very good. You support us, you have an answer to our needs and the right quality. And I am sure that the next machine will also be one from Bystronic". Tony Haddad has kept his word and just signed the contract for a brand new nitrogen generator.
"If I have one wish..."
Tony Haddad emphasizes again: "We are doing well. We are getting along". The explosion in the port of Beirut was no accident: "The explosion was a shock. Fortunately, we are far away from the port. But many people suffered. Many people died. Many people lost their homes". He hoped for a wake-up call. But people forget quickly, they adapt.
Now Tony Haddad becomes thoughtful and the screen turns silent for a moment: "You know, I wrote an article in 2002 that I have found in my papers recently. I have a dream: to live in a country where people know that they have a value. I wish that Lebanon will again become the Switzerland of the Middle East, where we can have a good time, like in the 70s".