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After the boom Andrew Skudder, CEO, CCS, advises now is the time for construction companies to get back control of their operations With the GCC construction industry enduring a tough economic climate following years of unprecedented growth, contractors are realising the value of greater control and transparency in their operations. Unfortunately, according to Andrew Skudder, CEO, CCS, the construction industry has been relatively slow to adopt information technology, where spending on IT accounts for less than 1% of revenues. Among CCS’ solutions and services is Candy, an estimating and project control solution which helps manage the estimation, management and planning of all construction projects, from estimating through to tender award and ultimately, final account. “Candy provides seamless integration of analytical estimating and critical path planning generates estimate forecasts and cash flows, while the Valuations and Earned Value modules track and monitor progress and performance of the contract for the contractor,” he explains. In addition to Candy, the web-based ERP construction accounting and costing business solution, BuidSmart comprises integrated procurement, accounting and payroll modules and a host of added features including plant, yard and store management, subcontract management, document control, business intelligence, HR and time and attendance. “CCS provides a ‘best-of-breed’ approach by integrating the essential elements of budgetary or allowable control and cost accounting to provide contractors with real time, reliable, auditable, accurate and activity-based comparative analysis of costs and allowables, the information that determines the success or failure of a construction venture.” He describes 2016 as one of the worst years for project activity since 2004, as governments and developers reacted to lower revenues by reducing project expenditure. 76

About Andrew Skudder Andrew Skudder, CEO, CCS - Construction Computer Software started his career as a commodity trader at Mitsui & Co in Johannesburg, South Africa. He joined CCS in August, 2016 from Murray & Roberts and reveals he is very excited to be working with, “a great team of people who are passionate about the industry, our solutions and our Clients. Together we aim to be the leading provider of software solutions for the global construction and engineering industry.”

“We are seeing some right-sizing in the market and a greater emphasis on cost containment,” he acknowledges. “This in itself is a challenge for CCS but is also a great opportunity as clients need critical management information to effectively manage project costs from estimate to final account. “I have confidence in the GCC’s resilience to economic changes. Companies need proper controls to restrict cash-flows and make sure the job going ahead can be done with limited fluidity. Construction is a cyclical industry, and we expect a few ups and downs, but projects for Dubai Expo 2020 and FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar

// construction business news me // March 2017

have to go ahead. Now more than ever, these projects’ budgets will have to be managed with discipline. “The global economic climate highlights the consequences of laxity of control systems in boom times and it is right now that all contractors should produce better estimates, and have closer control over projects and better monitoring of earned value and cash flows. To rely on the previous mindset of a continual stream of work and bulging order books would be a dangerous folly. At times like this, ‘cash is king’ and CCS’ solutions are designed to give management the tools they need to control their cash effectively.” “CCS can aid our client’s decision making processes, keeping tendering, procurement and numerous construction project variables under tight control enabling better decisions with better information produced at the right time. Current conditions present various challenges but also unique opportunities for our clients to streamline their business processes and controls.” One of CCS’ own challenges is overcoming the perception that implementing a new software solution can be superfluous to the core business activity of construction as well as expensive in terms of time, resources and costs. “Companies should take the opportunity presented by the slow down to consolidate and train staff to use the software properly and maximise on their investment,” he advises. “When the market does pick up again they will be even better equipped to utilise the software tools to aid decision making, accuracy and control to meet and better their margins. Companies have to realise the inherent benefits of proper control, speed and accuracy required to make better decisions and execute the right actions to minimise losses and maximise gains in a challenging market environment.”

Construction Business News ME - March 2017  
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