Arabic center for International Cooperation had opportunity to talk with Amine Guermazi, Managing Director in The Lean Six Sigma Company Africa from Tunisia. Our interlocutor is a highly skilled Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, senior Project & Program Manager and an Industrial Engineer with exceptional achievements in deployment of lean six sigma in manufacturing, with a strong focus on developing a Continuous Improvement culture driving productivity improvements. He has 15 years of combined consulting and industry experience.

Mr. Guermazi shares very important information about working in global company, he describes how one good business team should look like, he defines what is the most important in business today and what is the key to success. Mr. Guermazi also points the most famous business events in Tunisia and recommends the most popular locations in his country that are loved by foreign and local tourists. We are very thankful to Mr. Guermazi for giving us the opportunity to make this interview and we hope that our readers will enjoy reading it.

What does it feel like to work in an international company that operates in 25 countries around the world?

I’m very excited to be a part of a leading global knowledge firm - The Lean Six Sigma company, and the opportunity to drive its growth strategy in Tunisia and Africa Continent.

How willing are young people in Tunisia to accept a foreign business model as employees? Are they ready to adapt to the foreign budiness model in general?

More and more young Tunisians work with multinational companies located in Tunisia in different field, and they have sky-high ambitions to learn and get expertise. Most of employee are familiar with budiness model , and for the new one they can learn from the path of other employee. Some young people like to start their own business and some of them like to join companies as employees, but we should be aware that we are a country under reconstruction. This means a huge development plan is needed to increase awareness of people of the foreign budiness model.

Do you know at what level is the economic exchange between Serbia and Tunisa?

Economic relations between the two countries are mainly maintained through a balanced trade exchange. Trade in goods during 2019 amounted to 27,215,000 euros, with exports from Serbia amounting to 13,907,000 euros and imports to 13,308,000 euros.

Did you have any business cooperation with Serbia before?

The lean six sigma company CEE is based in Belgrade, the lean six sigma company CEE and The lean six sigma company AFRICA collaborate together (Exchange information, Training, Monthly meeting with all partners in particular The lean six sigma company CEE)

You are very successful in business, what is the secret of your success?

The Lean Six Sigma Company is based in the Netherlands and it is Europe's leading Lean Six Sigma provider. With offices in more than 25 countries across North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, we are among a few managements education and training organizations to receive the ISO 18404 and ISO 13053 global standards. There are other training providers in Africa, but there are several reasons why The Six Sigma Company stands out. First, our trainers have years of in-depth experience across major global industries. Second: we provide individual project coaching to our students to drive Lean Six Sigma projects in their companies as part of the program. All our training materials and simulation exercises are developed directly from the Netherlands according to global standards and best practices. Third: we do invest in local team development ( employee, trainer, consultant…), we share our success , learn from our mistakes and always trying to seek perfection ( actually this our DNA) .

What is your definition of a really good business team?

Behind any business success lies a great team. This formula applies to us as well. A successful team starts with hiring the right people—those who value working toward a common goal, are goal-oriented, and respect the hierarchical structure that most businesses require. The business team should contain complementary skill sets such that the full group of people can accomplish tasks that you, as the team leader, could not do on your own. Once the right people are in place, the goal is to bring them together into a cohesive unit.

What are your business experiences and what are the business challenges that you are facing with?

Most people associate Lean Six Sigma with manufacturing, but we are breaking these perceptions. we do see interest from companies in the banking, construction, healthcare, , insurance, ,automotive and hospitality sectors. Some public sector organizations and academia have also reached out to us, and this is indeed encouraging.

Have you had a hard time dealing with the unpredictable situations that business brings (like Covid-19) that greatly affect business?

When I got acquainted with the Lean Six Sigma methodology for the first time, the importance of Change Management was immediately clear to me. So, as a Master Black Belt, both implicitly and explicitly, I always include Change Management aspects in my trainings and coaching’s. During Covid-19, we were facing a challenge, participant could not any more participant in classroom training We were thinking about this situation and we brainstorm with our team (locally and globally) how can we turn this challenge into opportunities We come up with the idea, to organize the virtual classroom training and also prepare 100 % online courses.

How difficult it is to choose good employees for your team, how high the criteria are?

Hiring the right people is crucial for the success of any business. The recruitment decision should be founded on solid, objective factors. For us we Look at potential candidates with a bigger picture in mind, taking into consideration the mission to be accomplished ,the company culture and needs and the required skills.

What are the most famous business events in Tunisia?

A lot of events are organized by sector (Agriculture, Textile, IT, technology ,training, Tourism..), to choose the most famous business events in Tunisia , we should take into consideration audience reach, opportunities created, size, rating, format and international outlook. I can highlight as an Example the FITA event (Financing Investment and Trade in Africa) organized on annual basis by the TABC ( Tunisian African Business Council).

People from Serbia love Tunisia and they often choose to spend summer there, but which 10 locations would you recommend to tourists from Serbia to visit in Tunisia and which specialties they must try (domestic food)?

Often seen as simply a beach destination, Tunisia has a bucketful of surprising tourist attractions and things to do for those that venture off the sandy shores. Ancient ruins to discover out in the countryside; and the vast desert expanse of the Sahara to the south with its sweeping dunes, craggy mountains, and hidden, palm-tree-filled oases. This my list the top tourist attractions in Tunisia.

1- Sidi Bou Said and Carthage: amazingly photogenic, Sidi Bou Said is a clifftop village that seem to have fallen off an artist’s canvas.

And Carthage was the capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia. Carthage was one of the most important trading hubs of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the classical world.

2- Tunisia’s vast Sahara covers much of the country’s interior, and the most beautiful corner of the desert is the field of sand dunes known . you can organize camel, hiking, and 4WD excursions and multi-day trips to the dunes.

3- Sahel (Monastir, Sousse, Mahdia): With its golden beaches and sapphire blue sea, its medieval monuments and its charming marina, Monastir, sousse and Mahdia offers one of the most attractive faces of Tunisia.

An ideal destination to sun yourself by the sea, but also to visit a fascinating region: from Sousse to Kairouan, from El Jem to Mahdia, you will travel through time. In the countryside, you will get to know the way of life of the Bedouin villages. And along the coast, the fishing ports will enchant you.

4- Matmata: is a small Berber speaking town in southern Tunisia. Some of the local Berber residents live in traditional underground “troglodyte” structures. It is the home of a certain Luke Skywalker in the stories of Star Wars way back in 1976.

5- Kerkennah Islands: with crystal clear and fragile shallow waters is itself. Kerkennah Island is dedicated solely to fishing thanks to an ingenious system: the fixed fisheries. These labyrinths build in shallow waters, built form palms fixed to the muddy bottom, guides the fish towards traps with the fishermen come to collect them. The fisherman of Kerkennah use traditional shallow-bottomed boats with triangular sails, the loudes.

You can enjoy delicious cuisine based on sea products in a terrace in front of the sea in a beautiful setting.

6- The Median of Sfax: The medina of Sfax is one of the best preserved in the whole of the Mediterranean basin, and an example of the urban planning typical in old Arab towns. Its crenelated ramparts, built in the Middle Ages, are pierced by monumental doorways; the most ancient were defensive devices, made to repel invaders. The Great Mosque, built in the 9th century, occupies a central position; its prayer hall, vast and full of arches and ancient columns, opens out to a courtyard and sober square minaret. The souks, streets dedicated to commerce and artisan activities, surround the Great Mosque and link it to the entrances of the city.

7- Ain Drahem & Tabarka: is one of those areas that the person is not going want to miss when they are visiting Tunisia. in the Tunisian North-West. A paradise for outdoor activities and superb sandy beaches for holidaymakers. The small town of Tabarka is located in a natural site of great beauty.

All around, pine forests, rocky coves and lookout points offering panoramic views over superb untouched landscapes. The old Genoese Fort faithfully watches over this small coastal town, its fishing harbour and its marina.

8- Le kef: discover a little known side of Tunisia: the Atlas Mountains and the plains of the “hauts plateaux”. In these contrasting landscapes of the west of Tunisia you’ll find Le Kef, a charming little town with a tumultuous past. Natural beauty is not the only thing this region has to offer: the town has held on to countless memories of its vibrant history, including its Ottoman fortress.

9- El Djem: El Djem is famous for its amphitheater or colosseum. It was capable of seating 35,000 spectators. Only the Colosseum in Rome (seating about 50,000 spectators) and the ruined theater of Capua were larger. Many tourists come here to see what it was like to be inside what was once a place where lions and people met their fate. Much of it is crumbled but the essence of it still remains.

10- Testour: is a small town located in the north of Tunisia. The town is perched on the hills of Medjerda Valley, It has a beautifully decorative Great Mosque, it was built at that time, but the town remains both Muslim and Jewish.

The minaret is particularly interesting as it has two Star of David symbols on the eastern side, probably an emblem of unity between the two exiled religions. The minaret is also one of very few in the world which has a clock. Its numbers are symbolically placed backwards as a sign of the exiles who wished to turn back the clock to when they were happily settled in Andalusia.

What is your advice for our readers, how to start a business and to be successful in it?

First Conduct market research. Market research will tell you if there's an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business, prepare a business plan and get your finances in order, then start to develop your product and learn from the customer feedback to improve your business (learning by doing) And last advice : invest in what you love !