Although Michael Arnold’s appointment was only made as recently as last year, his experience as Managing Director for Doka’s UAE operations certainly helped to give a clear picture about what running a national operation entailed and how to quickly leverage synergies that enhanced performance while helping to identify potential opportunities.
“As a nation that borders with the UAE, I had the opportunity to visit Oman on several occasions, which gave me a clear idea about the state, scale and speed of construction. I had also spoken extensively with colleagues in-country who shared some of their experiences and how it differed from other parts of the GCC.
In terms of area and population, Oman is virtually the opposite of the UAE being just over three and a half times bigger in area and half the size in population, and while this has led to a slower output of construction activity, it has been able to garner greater efficiency by benefitting from the extensive synergies of having significant resources just over the border.
In principle, our main priority is to listen to the client, particularly when it comes to services on site, warehousing, logistics, operations and engineering capacity, and while Oman requires the same spectrum of formwork, scaffolding and services as provided in the UAE, it also shares similar project work in both the construction and industrial sectors.
From a corporate level, we’ve focused more on the industrial sector, which has gained the most momentum in terms of attracting external stakeholders, including contractors and operators. For Doka, providing expertise in areas such as engineering and site services from an early stage, particularly in scaffolding has proven time and time again to solve complex issues quickly, thereby helping to keep projects on track.
Having the right people involved is also a crucial aspect of what we offer, which is why another key benefit is having experts in close proximity, who are on hand to support our already highly skilled Oman-based team.
In terms of personnel, other overlapping roles include Head of HR and Head of Operations, meaning they have clear oversight over both countries and are able to work towards consolidated targets.
When it comes to shared services, we were lucky enough to have a regional structure in place since 2018, meaning exchanging material and now services and engineering can be conducted with both transparency and ease. One of our shared services’ most highly effective tools has been to utilise competencies and capacities based on forecasted availability, and I’m extremely happy to report that we’ve faced no bottlenecks since its launch, even during the pandemic.
Certainly, our experience through years of fine tuning in the UAE has been of great help to the rapid efficiency found in Doka Oman. As an example, many of our creative and innovative ideas were born in the UAE and required significant trial and error in order to get them just right; processes that took several years. By applying the lessons learned, Doka Oman was able to achieve the same success in just four months. As an office which is 40% comprised of Omanis, there is a real sense of pride and understanding when it comes to dealing with clients and while that was unfortunately capped during the various lockdowns, I’m confident the government has strategically banked on continuing to develop its infrastructure, schools, hospitals and tourism trade.
Ultimately, our aim is for both countries to enjoy the very best of what each have to offer. In that sense, our teams already have a proactive approach to collaboration and are motivated to support one another. I’d held onto the belief that Oman was a very traditional market, however, I was definitely mistaken. Once inspired, and shown examples of success, Oman is a country that embraces technological progress, case in point, the launch of our B2B e-commerce platform, which provides customers with fast, easy and cost-competitive access to many of Doka’s products. It took just three days to complete four orders. By selling products that are required on almost every site, such as formwork, scaffolding and concrete components, everything can be done at the click of a button, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and can be delivered to site below-market rates. It’s not only sustainable but reduces the processing time in terms of leads, which therefore decreases our administrative processes. It really is a win-win for everyone and something that was quickly adopted in Oman. Again, thanks to the UAE’s proximity, stocks can easily be sourced and supplied, even at short notice.
As a family run business with over 150 years of heritage behind it, Doka and Oman share the understanding of working smarter not harder. While the pandemic certainly had its downsides, we were able to develop new and efficient ways to communicate and learn, which now help to sustain our productivity. As such, Doka will continue to use its corporate culture to anticipate the needs of what clients want and I would say that it is this approach which is supporting our success in the market. Relationship building is certainly important, and, thanks to the warmth of our team members, partners and clients, Doka has always been made to feel very much at home.