ALEC Engineering and Contracting LLC (ALEC), already a leading contractor in the UAE, employed the ExO Works team to guide them through a 10-week ExO Sprint to maintain their top rank and ensure that they were able to continue their growth and innovation path.
Why ALEC Decided to Hire OpenExO
In 2019, ALEC was a company on top, but the leadership team understood that if they paused too long to enjoy the view, they might miss their competition in constructing tomorrow’s tallest building.
ALEC had received numerous awards for excellence, quality, safety, reliability, and sustainability and was consistently ranked among the leading contractors in the region, but knew that to remain competitive and to continue delivering extraordinary value to its customers in five or ten year’s time; they would need to start the reinvention process today.
“We are in good shape now, but if we want to be in good shape five years from now, we have to fundamentally change our business now.” - Hercu Viljoen, Managing Director-Related Businesses
We had several meetings with ALEC’s Board of Directors to explain the ExO methodology. They challenged us with questions such as, “Why would we put $500k in this project rather than sending a bunch of people to an MBA course?” We were then able to refer to our grand results and case studies from other similar companies that achieved growth and true innovation through our ExO Sprints.
Our approach, which revolves around using their intellectual capabilities and our coaching, was decisive as well as opposed to consulting.
ALEC spoke with one of our clients who went through a 10-week ExO Sprint, and that was the confirmation. One week later, ALEC was ready to start the ExO Sprint.
ALEC’s Challenges Prior to the ExO Sprint
- Outdated digital support of processes (many manual steps)
- Siloed organization, leading to lack of alignment
- Resistance to change, which included overcoming the “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset that led to slow and low user adoption
- Other challenges faced included:
- Maturity level of stakeholders
- Low margins, which lowered risk appetite for R&D initiatives
- A large requirement to re-skill and upskill ALEC’s workforce
ALEC’s Goals with the ExO Sprint
- Internal alignment
- Reinvention through innovation
- Digitization of all processes, and the integration of BIM (Building Information Modeling) software
- Ability to influence the development of new projects as soon as possible, through reorganization of the value chain
ALEC’s ExO Sprint Execution & Solutions
Execution of the ExO Sprint
This is the first Sprint in which a third-party psychometric analysis was used to select the optimal Sprint teams—a highly successful experiment by Paul Epping (ExO Head Coach) and Tariq Qureishy.
All Initiatives Approved
Eight ExO initiatives were created, in which ALEC merged two ExO initiatives. All initiatives are currently under development in the organization, and each has project leaders. The board made this decision, and the CFO is overseeing the execution. ALEC is allocating funding every quarter accordingly to ensure the goals of the initiative are met.
One Initiative’s Success
ALEC successfully set up its new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which they described as a “stepping stone” for its digital transformation. This is a direct tie to one of their ExO Initiatives, which they hired-out instead of creating in-house.
Recently, ALEC signed a deal with CMiC, the innovation leader in ERP and field operations software for the construction industry in North America, to use its platform and software to run financials and field operations. CMiC’s Single Database Platform™ architecture delivers a single version of the truth to users across all functional areas.
In addition to all of the ExO initiatives being approved for funding, ALEC organized education sessions to familiarize people who were not on the ExO Sprint with the method and thinking of the ExO methodology.
ALEC continued to innovate through running seven internal ExO Sprints at the same time to find solutions post-Covid for the construction world. The world is seeing less demand for new buildings, while a lot of current buildings are empty. ALEC is now looking for ways to use their learning from the ExO Sprint to exploit new activities for these buildings.
ALEC also launched a modular manufacturing business, LINQ Modular, that incorporates the Tetra initiative, which focuses on building affordable modular style houses. LINQ Modular’s construction method reduces the time to build a new house by up to 50%. The company opened up a production factory for the houses at the end of 2021. The factory employs over 350 people and can produce over 60,000 m2 of product per year.
ALEC is making exceptional progress in other ways as well. This year, they opened a data center, launched an internal learning program, established strategic projects and a development division, and will release their first sustainability report. They are also focusing on digital construction, which offers opportunities for reducing GHG emissions and freeing up labor hours.
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