The Silicon Review
Al Laith was established 26 years ago to participate in the growth and development of the UAE and the GCC overall. CG Tech, an international technology services group, is the parent owner of the company and saw the Middle East as a strategic fit for the group’s growth plans backed by an incredible team culture in Al Laith.
Al Laith was not the typical go to company for CG Tech as they covered a very different industry segment, however, events and industrial services relied largely on project management and logistics planning, which CG Tech group companies and leadership are well-known for being experts on. It was this strategic fit, and ability to bring strong project systems that drove the investment into Al Laith.
Al Laith today provides design and engineering, as well as project management and execution of technical temporary infrastructure projects around the Middle East, supporting multiple industries, including oil and gas, construction and real estate, advertising, event and entertainment. It also provides training services through its fully accredited training school.
Al Laith has been recognised through numerous awards as the leading one-stop provider of rental equipment and event project solutions in the region, and a large portion of that success is a result of the ecosystem that makes up the business.
CG Tech brings value by adding strategic oversight and innovative solutions to its operating companies. The Board is made up of highly experienced individuals who have not only built businesses from scratch but have also run large public companies.
Al Laith’s priorities lie in managing the ecosystem within which it operates.
“When looking at our people, we have a dedicated and committed group of individuals with a great attitude who collectively make a great team. With some members having served over 20 years, the Al Laith team has been tried and tested under varying conditions.
When considering our supply chains, we have built a great group of suppliers who remain agile and responsive to our business needs and keep the engine running with high demand requests and short time frames.
When considering our clients, we respect their safety, schedule, quality, and cost requirements and work with them to ensure a win-win for both parties whilst adopting a ‘whatever it takes’ approach.
When considering our communities, we actively support and fund various community initiatives aimed at providing support to those in need” said Jason English, Chief Ecosystem Officer.
Benchmarking Business Performance
Al Laith performed relatively well during the Covid pandemic considering the segments in which they operate and has achieved this by approaching a different mindset, largely focused on its people. Contrary to the industry norm which was to retrench, furlough and cut people, Al Laith’s approach was to double down and to recruit and invest in people.
Training has also been a key aspect of success for Al Laith who focus on ensuring all their teams are 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, foreman, crews are trained and tested on understanding the company vision, mission and values.
Project managers undergo comprehensive project management training directly by the CEO and the shared services teams are encouraged to align to project outcomes.
Al Laith has its technology hub which develops technology advancements aimed at improving and optimising productivity and efficiency as well as identifying new products and services and the team reflects on the successes and failures of each job through post-mortems to reflect on areas of improvement. These learnings allow improved performance on follow-up jobs.
A DEEPER LOOK INTO EXECUTION OF DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Al Laith’s core operations can be broken down into 2 main segments: Rental solutions and Technical Project Services which can be further broken down into six main categories: demountable structures, temporary logistics and facilities, work at height solutions, engineering, design & project management, training & servicing, and innovation & technology. Specifically:
Structures that are usually temporary and can be removed at a point in time. When a client needs to build or rent a demountable structure, Al Laith’s team of master builders and engineers can design, engineer, and build a structure fit for purpose. Al Laith has been involved in building some of the Middle East’s largest and most iconic temporary structures and even the smallest of structures for a range of local and international clients, such as concert roofs or stages, a grandstand, a VIP marquee substructure, temporary warehouse or an extreme zip line experience.
Temporary Facilities and Logistics:
The team deploys temporary infrastructure overlay of any type of project site through Al Laith’s wide range of product offerings e.g. to control access or crowds, transport people, create temporary working spaces, provide VIP toilets, beer gardens, media production facilities, artist rooms, lighting towers or tents, provide bespoke sleeping pods for remote sights, screening centre or isolation cabins, golf carts, mules or an event skybox or broadcasting studio.
Work at Height Solutions:
Al Laith offers a unique variety of access solutions from scaffolding to powered access machines and scissors, lifts, or mast climbers. Al Laith’s equipment is IOT connected and can provide analytics to help choose a more optimized solution.
Engineering, Design & Project Management:
Al Laith’s team of engineers and CAD designers can design and engineer bespoke solutions to ensure people’s safety first without compromising on build time and quality whilst optimising on build costs.
Training and Servicing:
A fully accredited training centre for PASMA and IPAF and courses onsite or at client premises. Al Laith also provides repair and servicing services for a fleet of machinery and plant and equipment.
Innovation and Technology:
Innovation sits at the heart of everything Al Laith does. We have access to the latest technology and products under development and trial and roll out those technologies which offer value to each project. Al Laith uses the latest in IoT systems and visualised rendering and animation to enhance the value offering to the clients.
“Besides these, we are constantly looking at new products and services that add value to our clients. With additive manufacturing becoming mainstream, and advancement in technological innovations occurring at speed, we hope to play in some interesting spaces soon,” said Mr. English.
TAKING GIANT LEAPS
Al Laith has developed several strategies to support its business growth and to build a transformative culture. Many of these initiatives start from the top and are driven by the CEO, and include:
On the safety front, keeping safety personnel more on-site and less in the office and instilling a culture of safety across the management team.
On the innovation front, the deployment of IoT systems, digital applications, cloud based ERP and workspace software, are just some of the initiatives the company is undertaking to transform its culture.
On the Human Capital front, the company is realigning to see people as capital rather than a resource and bringing in new skill sets that are aligned to a new way of thinking. Training teams on the company vision, values, and operating procedures and seeking feedback from staff on things that need to improve is also a priority. The company built an online learner management system with content that is continually being updated and personnel undergo training programs weekly.
On the Financial front, automating admin heavy tasks, such as petty cash claims and deploying centralized collaboration software to manage tenders and quotes and general documents as well as automating administration functions such as leave applications and time management are key.
On the Branding and Marketing front, the company created a fresh look and feel to represent an innovative business and upgraded all digital marketing components from website to social media postings, clothing, work outfits to office screens, and company presentations. They also rolled out full IoT deployment in equipment and vehicles, as well as bought in IoT camera systems for remote work monitoring.
Al Laith has been in business for 26 years as a result of the trust clients place in the company. Whilst leadership comes and goes, the core remains.
“Clients trust Al Laith to solve their problems, and it’s an honour we take very seriously’’ said Jason English.
LEADERSHIP | AL LAITH GROUP
CHIEF ECOSYSTEM OFFICER
Jason English has more than 20 years of senior management experience in the Project Management & Project services space. After serving as a member of the South African Police Services and the medical unit, Jason qualified as a Mechanical Engineer and worked for 15 years at Ireland based Kentz Engineers & Constructors. In 2012, Jason became the CEO of Prommac Technical Services, and also has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), a Project management professional qualification, and is a qualified helicopter pilot. Jason has spoken at and attended seminars around the world, and is one of only 4 South African-born leaders ever to be selected as part of the Peter Diamandis mastermind of 250 exponential entrepreneurs. Jason serves on the Regional Executive Committee of YPO MENA and PAN Africa, and is a board member for the Global Deal and Opportunity Network. He was appointed as CG Tech Chief Ecosystem Officer in 2018 and appointed as the CEO of Al Laith in 2020.