Rapid ERP roll out

Oil & Gas construction and engineering company lamprell completed the rollout of a new erp solution to a very tight timescale

Tags: EngineeringLamprell Dubai LLCOracle CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
  • E-Mail
Rapid ERP roll out Shumon Zaman, Vice President, Information Systems & Technology, Lamprell. (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  May 9, 2014

Oil rigs rank among some of the most complex feats of engineering in the world — combining oil production, engineering, power, support and living quarters for crew, all in a self-contained, sea-going platform. Constructing these massive self-contained rigs, for offshore and onshore use, is an equally complicated business. UAE-based Lamprell is a regional leader in rig construction, as well as a provider of contracting and engineering services and the company has built its business on building new rigs on a contract basis.

With multiple yards in the UAE and facilities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the company manages multiple construction contracts for multiple customers, with over 10,000 personnel and a combined footprint of 925,000m2.

In 2012 however, the UK-stock market listed company made a loss, which included a fine from UK financial regulators, which was imposed in part due to deficiencies in Lamprell’s systems and controls which meant that it could not properly assess its financial performance. The financial losses ended up resulting in a management overhaul. As the [new] company CFO later put it, systems and processes had not kept up with growth. In short, Lamprell needed to put an ERP solution in place as quickly as possible.

Lamprell brought in Shumon Zaman as ERP project director [he is now VP for Information Systems & Technology], to deliver an ERP solution that would serve around 2,000 admin staff with the essentials of financials, HR and payroll, within a time frame of six months. The company wanted a proven, tier one solution that would help it to realign its processes with best practices, across its operations in multiple countries and give it better accountability.

The company selected Oracle for the project, which was named ‘Compass’, in part because of its proven track record, and also because of its flexibility. Operating in such a complex, niche sector, Zaman explains, Lamprell needs to rely on applications that are not available out-of-the-box, such as systems for commissioning new oil rigs, so it requires the flexibility to be able to integrate custom systems with the main ERP.

“The reason why we chose Oracle, was that being in this specific industry, you need systems that are quite flexible. Oracle’s strategy has always been, they try to do best of breed, and that is pretty much what we wanted — a backend, best of breed. On the operational side, we will bring in or develop whatever is required, and integrate it into a solid tier one, and that is why Oracle basically won the race,” he says.

Oracle Solaris servers were also selected, because of how the hardware has been tailored to perform well with the Oracle applications that would be used. With the complexity of some of the existing applications, it was decided to go with a phased approach, which would allow the company to rapidly leverage the benefits of the core financial modules, while adding the custom applications and modules later as necessary. With solutions based on a single database, the Oracle system would act as a single shared resource that could be deployed to all of the operating units worldwide.

As the former CIO of a UAE-based trading conglomerate, Zaman had experience of rolling out Oracle to a complex, multi-business organisation, and he was also able to draw on a number of experienced professionals who he had worked with in projects in the region, Europe and North America, who could join him at the company. Zaman felt creating a new team, was the best approach, rather than relying on hiring in consultants and outsourcing, in terms of providing flexibility, cost effectiveness and control.

“We had the big guys bidding for this project, but I felt that if I was going to deliver it in record speed, in value and cost effectiveness, then really I needed control, and bringing in a third party would not enable us to do that,” he says. “My guys worked 12-14 hours a day, I couldn’t ask other companies to do that. Also, when you are part of the organisation, you tend to live and breathe the organisation, it is not a hit and run, you have to do the best job possible — these are the intangible benefits that really make a difference.”

A team of 25 was assembled in one month, with new personnel working alongside existing Lamprell IT staff on the project. The team followed PRINCE2 for the overall methodology and project management, combined with Oracle’s blended methodology in terms of aims and business flow, which Zaman said gave a best of breed approach to the roll out. The project involved a very large degree of business process re-engineering, which was documented extensively, and shared with end users as well to give them insight into why new processes would be an improvement.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code