features

Being bold, disruptive and hungry to create that difference

10 January 2019

The New Straits Time

KUALA LUMPUR: Excerpts from an interview with Orangebeam Group chief executive officer Datuk Faris Yahaya.

Question: What is Orangebeam?

Answer: Orangebeam, the name, was made known to the staff on December 14 last year when I had my townhall meeting with them. But the idea was mooted before then. The company was known as Perdana Builders Bhd. It is a group of companies made of two primary activities — construction and development.

As a construction company it started way back in 1986. Along the way it gave birth to a development company, which is primarily involved in property development in Putrajaya, currently in Presint 16, but we also have land outside of Putrajaya. We have completed almost RM13 billion worth of projects covering infrastructure, maritime, ports and green buildings, and also commercial buildings like the Pavilion shopping complex, high-end residential and other projects.

Q: Why the name change to Orangebeam?

A: Orange represents ‘Bold’. Our people are bold, capable and resilient. Orange also represents the colour of the future and innovation. Beam exemplifies ‘Strength’ and it’s a structure that distributes force and weight horizontally. This also represents our people.

The name Orangebeam represents what we are — bold, disruptive and hungry to create that difference. It could put us on a solid foundation and footing before we go out and tell the world that we are here, we’ve been around for 30 years and now is the time for us to take that lead.

Q: You say the industry is ripe for disruption and change. In what way?

A: Look at how the industry has evolved. Twenty or 30 years ago, when you wanted to do a building construction model, you would start with manual drawings.

Then it evolved to CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing), then BIM (building information modelling). There are many aspects in the way construction industry activities have been undertaken that can be made a lot more efficient and effective, and can modernise. It’s not just about digitising the industry. What’s more important is to make sure that we can play a role for Malaysia to take a lead in how construction is being done.

There was a report by McKinsey back in 2015/2016 that looked at how industries adopt technology. The construction and building industry was the second least digitised. Coupled with the industry outlook for Malaysia and the region, which is seen as having the highest growth in terms of infrastructure spending and allocation by the government.

Countries like the Philippines and Vietnam are at the forefront of ramping up their infrastructure spending and it is opportune for a company like us to take a lead here, but also expand our presence beyond our shores and become the ambassador not just for the industry but also Malaysia at large. The usage of technology can give us the edge. That is the only way to differentiate ourselves.

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