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IT in Construction – A Case Study


IT in Construction – A Case Study

More and more construction companies are now taking the SAP ERP route. Satish Pendse discusses the success story at Oriental Structural Engineers

In my previous articles I discussed about various subjects ranging from how IT tools can give tremendous help in estimation and tendering, optimization of reinforcement bars & making office paperless. In this issue let us discuss one more SAP success story.
Name of this Delhi based construction company is Oriental Structural Engineers Pvt Ltd commonly known as OSE.
OSE is one of the leading construction companies having expertise in construction of rigid and flexible pavements for roads / highways and airfields, including bridges, flyovers, embankment with reinforced earth and earthwork. Established in 1971, OSE has come a long way to achieve that reputation, it has today.
OSE is experiencing rapid growth and is expecting to continue this phenomenon at least in medium term. It also plans to diversify its operation in other verticals like BOT. To manage the increased business, management felt that the entire organization should move towards system based working rather than person based working.
It is necessary to have world class software in place which can seamlessly integrate across functions and ease data entry and data retrieval effort. OSE had made an earlier attempt in ERP implementation using local software which could not meet expectations fully. The major lacuna in the local ERP software was lack of integration among various modules, long data processing time and absence of construction specific standard features. This made OSE think of taking long term perspective. They were looking at software, which will be more rugged and proven to give top class results.
OSE had a very correct approach of treating this initiative as a business initiative rather than technical initiative. HCC’s IT services group approached OSE as an implementation partner with the proposal as a business implementation and not as an IT project.
This approach made OSE’s job easier to select implementation partner and finally work was awarded to HCC’s IT services group. The project was sponsored by Sanjit Bakshi, director, OSE. Bakshi says that sector in which OSE works is very cost sensitive. So the entire focus was on setting up the systems which will help in standardization of processes which finally helps in cost controlling. He was very confident of his team taking up this challenge.
The project was named as Project Parivartan, to signify that the management expected transformation through this initiative. Bakshi ensured that he personally attends all project review meetings and provide decisions quickly. OSE project manager Subodh Prasad ensured that both the teams, gel well together and scope creep does not happen.
Prasad never allowed impractical functional demands to derail the project. The OSE management provided the entire infrastructure required for the project. The project was very challenging consisting of all the major modules implementation in a tight schedule of 3.5 months. In OSE a core team was formed with representatives from each department and the department heads were made process owners.
HCC, itself being an experienced large scale construction company, has developed SAP templates for the construction industry. OSE process owners did not have to explain construction industry processes to HCC. Only the variations required from HCC’s templates were discussed. Because of this innovative approach, considerable time was saved as well as communication gap was avoided. All the major expectations of OSE from SAP implementation were addressed.
The management of OSE took a step to stop all other parallel systems and insisted on using SAP by all the concerned employees. Implementation is a half job done but the further value comes from using the system correctly. It is always challenging in initial stages to ensure that right quantum and right quality of data goes in to the system. This was achieved by using the methodologies provided by HCC.
By now OSE is using SAP ERP for more than six months and the management is satisfied that their new system is providing them reliable information at the click of a button, saving a lot of time which is utilized in taking strategic decisions.
Looking at the success of SAP at OSE, they decided to have this system in their other group companies as well. At present SAP implementation is progressing as per plan at OSE’s sister concern called Oriental Quarry & Mining Pvt Ltd.
This is giving definite shape to the dream of Sanjit Bakshi to make ERP as a work culture in entire Oriental group.

Satish Pendse works as the chief information officer for Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), which has started offering IT services to the infrastructure industry. This also includes implementation of the tendering & estimation software. Through this column in Construction Week India, the author brings out the increasing significance of Information Technology in the construction industry. He can be reached on satish.pendse@hccindia.com

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June 2020
10 Jun 2020