The unprecedented events of COVID-19 exposed the gap in technology across several industries. The management lacks in the way back office is handled or the way front line workers execute the job, and there is a need to become more effective and efficient. “The industry has moved to a lastminute.com environment as many entities are holding off on decision making till as late as possible due to the state of COVID, and this makes the need for intelligent responsiveness that much more important,” explains, Jason English, the Chief Ecosystem Officer CG Tech and CEO of Al Laith Group.
Jason has been a part of the industry for over two decades and holds expertise in the areas of Project Management & Project services. In 2012, Jason bid farewell to the corporate world and began his entrepreneurial journey. By 2014, he was involved with a group of private investors and sparked the beginning of a journey to build an international group. A year later, Jason and his team hired a COO and soon after bought 50% of the company in Dubai aimed at expanding the foothold in the Middle East oil and gas space. Soon, the team was able to build a drone company HQ in London, acquire an electric company in South Africa, and in the same year acquire Al Laith. In 2019, the CEO of Al Laith retired, and Jason was visiting Dubai to inspect what kind of CEO was required to take over. However, the COVID outbreak locked Jason and the family back in Dubai.
Under the daunting circumstances, Jason undertook the role of CEO. COVID had highly disrupted the business around us and during the timeline, things were standing still. Fortunately, Al Laith had a distinctive team and under Jason’s leadership, the company was soon back on track and is now ranked amongst the leading companies of the year 2022.
Established nearly 27 years ago, Al Laith was focused on the growth and development of the UAE and the GCC. CG Tech- an international technology services group, is the parent owner of the company and views the Middle East as a strategic fit for the group’s growth plans backed by an incredible team culture in Al Laith. Back then, Al Laith was not the typical company for CG Tech as it covered a different industry segment. But the Al Laith turned out to be a strategic fit and was capable of bringing strong project systems that drove the investment into Al Laith.
Today, Al Laith offers design and engineering along with project management & execution of technical temporary infrastructure projects around the Middle East that supports multiple industries. It also offers training services through a fully accredited training school. Al Laith has been recognized through numerous awards for being the leading one-stop provider of the rental equipment and project solutions in the region, and a large portion of that success is a result of the ecosystem that makes up the business. The excellence of Al Laith combined with CG Tech’s strategic oversight and innovative solutions further strengthened the offerings.
Al Laith’s priorities lie in managing the ecosystem within which it operates and utilizing technology to enhance the performance of traditional businesses. Its core operations can be divided into two main segments i.e. Rental solutions and EPC Services (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction). Furthermore, the Rental Solutions and EPC Services are further divided into six main categories:
Apart from this, the Al Laith team continually invests in looking for new products and services that add value to the clients. Jason added, “With additive manufacturing becoming mainstream, and advancement in technological innovations occurring at speed, we hope to play in some interesting spaces soon.”
Amid the harsh environment of the COVID pandemic, Al Laith performed relatively well considering the segments they operate in and has achieved this by approaching a different mindset focused on people. Al Laith constantly invested in people and recruited new talent. The focus has also been on the training where the company ensured all the teams were highly skilled and more importantly aligned. From the CEO who runs a bi-weekly Q&A session, to the Divisional managers who run weekly presentations and training on their department functions, to an online LMS, supervisors, foremen, and crews are trained and tested on understanding the company vision, mission, and values. The CEO directly trains the project managers through comprehensive project management and the shared services teams are encouraged to align the project outcomes.
Al Laith also stays abreast with the technological trends and has its technology hub. It develops technology advancements that are aimed at improving and optimizing productivity and efficiency alongside identifying new products and services. The team actively reflects on the success and failures of each job through post-mortems to reflect on areas of improvement. These learnings allow for improved performance on follow-up jobs.
Al Laith is continually working on excelling their platform while improving the gaps they find. “We have an asset pool above AED250m, and so managing a fleet of plant and equipment of this magnitude is complex,” asserts Jason. One of the key goals will be to improve the logistics and management of assets within the group such that Al Laith will have live, interactive dashboard systems that can track and share stock availability and locations.
It will also aim at sorting out document management systems as with growing businesses the data also becomes abundant, which makes it vital to file, sort, and manage the data. Al Laith moved the business to google workspace in 2020 and has been implementing filing management systems. However, moving 27 years of data will be challenging so this will be a major focal point for the company. Jason stated that another key goal will be to create succession planning across all key positions. He added, “We have already embarked on this journey and have done well so far, building depth is fundamental to enabling us to expand geographically.”
“Al Laith’s priorities lie in managing the ecosystem within which it operates and utilizing technology to enhance the performance of the traditional businesses.”