Leading in Today’s Digital Age: Why Innovation is Important

1 August 2019


By Dato’ Faris Yahaya, Group Chief Executive Officer

CELEMI Round Table Forum 2019 | 12 June 2019 | Majestic Hotel


Today’s Construction Landscape and Challenges

Despite the challenges local construction players are facing; tighter government budgets, increasingly competitive bidding and rising costs of building materials, the recent move to revive ECRL and soon-to-be Bandar Malaysia projects are positive indications that the sector will bounce back in due time. Amidst today’s volatile market landscape, it’s high time for players to gear up and disrupt the industry by tackling necessary existing challenges that are long-due: meeting construction timelines, cost overruns, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of site workers and also reducing the environmental impact of materials used in construction.

This is of course backed by the Government’s efforts to drive forth the growth of the construction industry, supported by the fact that the brick and mortar industry is still one of the key contributors to the nation’s GDP with 2018’s share at 4.5%.

Since coming into power, the Malaysian Government has been actively driving the rapid adoption of technology within the brick and mortar industry to enable greater growth, improve efficiencies and stay in the line with current demands and global construction trends while also executing institutional reforms and advocating for better practices in the industry such as open tenders, safe and equitable work practices and the implementation of advanced design software and systems.

Intentional Disruption for Value Creation

To further encourage industry players to be highly productive, environmentally sustainable, while not losing focus on safety and quality standards, the Government introduced the Malaysia’s Construction Industry Transformation Programme 2016 – 2020 (CITP), designed to transform the local construction industry to stand on par with globally competitive players. The rapid speed of technology has made it necessary for us as leaders in the construction sector to rethink and reconsider the necessity to disrupt.

As the Group CEO of ORANGEBEAM, a pioneering home-grown construction and development company with over 30 years of experience in the industry, I have identified three (3) key factors in forming and driving my business direction at ORANGEBEAM together with the team to create intentional disruption:

  • Increase business productivity: According to McKinsey, construction is the second least digitised industry. Digitalisation, innovation and industrialisation are all steps, which ultimately lead to efficiency, effectiveness and new opportunities. Innovation in the construction industry enables a much safer construction site, cost reductions, new businesses opportunities, and better resource utilisation.
  • Creating new ways in working: Today’s workforce is led by a new generation – the millennials. These are digital natives who source information and acquire additional knowledge – digitally, through a few clicks. They may not be accustomed to patiently picking up knowledge over a long period of time – as the senior supervisors have done over the years. We can manage this by looking within – by invoking a culture change and a mindset change.
  • Identifying novel synergies for value creation: Thanks to technology and today’s digital-everything, companies are pressured to perform, deliver and respond quickly. With more businesses transforming through the adoption of technology, competition increases as well. Disruption is not just limited to adoption of new technologies into the product. It requires infusion of innovation and technology into different parts of the business and across the value-chain – even those that are management and site-centric. Disruption goes beyond the transformation of a single business – it must be realised across the value chain so we may work together in making a difference in our industry.

Collaboration Across the Value Chain

Many wonder, how do we change our mindsets to think like innovators and encourage everyone in the organisation to do the same?

  • First and foremost, a significant shift is required in the way we think about solutions – what other methods can we use to solve the challenge beyond what we are used to?
  • Customers today are constantly evolving. At the rate of today’s transformation, we should seek to understand their pain points better and using these insights to provide better services and solutions, enabling them to live a more quality life.
  • Not only do we have to be better at keeping up with the latest trends, we also need to proactively look for ways to prepare to transform these trends into opportunities.

Disruption goes beyond the transformation of a single business – it must be realised across the value chain so we may work together in making a difference in our industry.

At ORANGEBEAM, we put our “transformation” hats on, roll our sleeves and start working on our new “blueprints” to meet the changes today, to challenge the status quo and jump on the “disruption” bandwagon to stay relevant and competitive in the industry. Change is happening quickly and it’s forcing businesses to evolve. In order to survive in this new environment, we are training ourselves to be agile and focus on responding to the increasingly high expectations of its customers.



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