As part of their digital revamp strategy to improve competencies and become future-ready, Al Nasr Contracting has adopted Microsoft Dynamics 365 to enhance operational productivity and internal back-office efficiencies by about 9-10%.
The construction industry in the GCC has undergone a period of far-reaching change over the previous decade. The regional construction markets – particularly those of the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – continue to be some of the most active and fastest growing in the world. In addition, the regional construction market continues to attract considerable investment – both, from within member countries as well as internationally. As the sector continues to bustle with heightened activity, mega-projects and high-stake investments, there is pronounced focus on regulatory control, adherence to international standards, and differentiation from competition. Enterprises operating in this highly competitive space with significantly long project delivery schedules and tight operating margins are highly sensitive to capitalizing on any operational efficiencies – financial, environmental and social – that can generate business advantages.
Al Nasr Contracting recognized the need to enhance their competitive edge in this keenly contested setting and decided to embark on a digital revamp journey two years ago – as part of an organization wide strategic transformation. The company is driven by a mid to long term vision to refine and enhance processes – seeking to work towards addressing the challenges it expects to encounter, as well as the capacities it wants to develop, over the next two decades.
“Just imagine if you can improve the availability of information even by one week due to technology enablement. The impact that this could have – on site activity, the completeness and timeliness of project delivery, the budget and ultimately Client satisfaction – could be truly massive.” – Jihad Khoury, Chief Financial Officer, Al Nasr Contracting Company
Construction companies can often be saddled with multiple instances of less than ideally aligned legacy software and overly compartmentalized ERP tools. One of Al Nasr’s primary motivations, in pursuing digital revamp, was to lead the industry in the creation of efficiencies through technology optimization.
Mr. Jihad says, “Unlike the average manufacturing or processing facility with predetermined processes, the construction industry relies on constant and ongoing decision making, on a daily basis to address site changing environment. In this sector, ERP solutions are extremely data reliant in their pursuit of optimum operational efficiency. Our main challenge, at Al Nasr, was lack of coherence in the functioning of individual IT tools, as well as impediments in real-time data flow, due to their siloed deployment. Our legacy ERP system and project management tools were more than a decade old. Ultimately, the system we were operating lacked several sophisticated extended functionalities and integration benefits that a modern ERP software deliver as a rule. Conceding that sort of operational advantage is simply not an option in our industry.”
Their legacy systems were deployed on a relatively ad-hoc basis, often in response to specific concerns rather than a macro view of the entire operation. Estimation, project planning, ERP and databases are some prominent software dependencies that most modern construction businesses have. Disjointed solutions to these requirements generate bottlenecks in information flow, inaccurate data, process delays and general loss in efficiency and quality.
Realizing the many first-mover advantages they could gain – in an industry that has typically been conservative in the adoption of technology – Al Nasr’s commitment to digital revamp became a central strategic initiative for the company. Having process critical information at their fingertips – in real-time – enabled them to meet projected schedules and allocated budgets, and delivered numerous other cascading benefits, to Al Nasr, their customers and across the value chain.
At the very commencement of their digital revamp journey, the vision was to impact the operating capacity and efficiency of the company over the next decade. They saw the initial investment in the light of the long-term advantages they would gain, and their consensus mandate was built around identifying the right solutions and enabling best practices – rather than the initial costs involved.
“InTWO were especially good at exhaustively mapping the capabilities of the MS Dynamics solution to our requirements and demonstrated the product in very exacting and comprehensive detail. We found their expertise, with the product, as well as our industry, and their ability to communicate it well, very critical in coming to a decision regarding the solution we would deploy.” – John Helou, Chief Executive Officer, Al Nasr Contracting Company
A large internal team comprising over 80 people – representative of all aspects of the business and giving voice to the concerns of all stakeholders – was consulted to ensure a robust solution and smooth change management process.
Two options were identified for every tier of vendor and a demo script in keeping with processes was created. Process owners and their teams – from within the organization – were empowered to evaluate the demos that concerned their operations and overall coherence was ensured through a process of consensus and mutual trust.
In the end, Al Nasr identified Microsoft in partnership with InTWO – as the solution providers that best addressed their vision and concerns.
Al Nasr found Microsoft Dynamics to be solution that was user friendly, simple to operate and yet very comprehensive and powerful in its scope. Their teams were able to gain the skills to operate the solution much faster than the time they had planned to allocate – largely due to the intuitive interface and inherent operational simplicity, and they were able to go live in a timely and orderly fashion.
“Al Nasr found an able and extremely competent partner in InTWO, in helping to manage the change they were seeking to make. In our experience, ERP vendors can sometimes display a lop-sided expertise that is fairly good for their product, but far from adequate with regard to the industry that they are deploying within. This was not at all the case with InTWO. We found their highly qualified team to be not only extremely thorough in their knowledge of their product, but also very well versed with the specific concerns of our industry.
InTWO were especially good at exhaustively mapping the capabilities of the MS Dynamics solution to our requirements and demonstrated the product in very exacting and comprehensive detail. We found their expertise, with the product, as well as our industry, and their ability to communicate it well, very critical in coming to a decision regarding the solution we would deploy. About 1600 hours were spent by a team of 83 individuals, over the course of six months in the selection process – and InTWO was with us every step of that journey.
Digital revamp is a highly ambitious undertaking that requires painstaking attention to detail and a perspective that puts the organization undergoing the process, first. In this regard, I believe we at Al Nasr chose very wisely indeed in partnering with InTWO”, says Mr. Jihad.
Based on current performance, Mr. Jihad estimates an improvement of 9 to 10% in operational and back office efficiency.
Al Nasr Contracting Co. L.L.C. was established in Abu Dhabi under U.A.E. Laws in the year 1972 to operate as a national company. Al Nasr Contracting Co. L.L.C. is recognized as the market leading multi-disciplinary contractor in the region, with broad in-house expertise in all types of civil engineering and electro- mechanical works. Since the beginning we have always believed in team spirit and a “can do” attitude, and for over 35 years we have focused this on achieving total client satisfaction. We have many prestigious and long term clients, because we take pride in our work and we concentrate on finishing on time and providing a quality product for all of our customers. We are a major U.A.E. company, with permanent manpower of over 4,500 employees, and we excel in the full range of civil engineering, infrastructure and electro-mechanical works such as: pipelines, pumping stations and large capacity storage tanks, civil works on factories and industrial facilities, desalination, reverse osmosis and chlorination plants, high and medium voltage electrical networks, substations, street lighting, district cooling plants, chilled water distribution, heat exchangers, submarine pipelines and cables , sewerage, fire fighting networks, irrigation, landscaping etc.