Business unusual revolutionising electrical construction

EnI Electrical, part of the Zest WEG Group, is not only on a drive to change the electrical contracting industry, but also the larger South Africa construction landscape

EnI Electrical, part of the Zest WEG Group, is not only on a drive to change the electrical contracting industry, but also the larger South Africa construction landscape.

 Its strategy is working considering that the electrical contractor enjoyed a record revenue year in 2015, while recording 404% growth rates since 2010. Importantly, as much as 60% of the company’s projects last year comprised repeat customers, but this has come from approaching the construction environment differently.

“One of our success stories is that we are always invited back by our customers. This tells a very important story, especially in construction. In our industry, it also sends a very clear message to us and the market that we are definitely doing something correct,” says Trevor Naude, managing director of EnI Electrical.

He says that a major competitive edge for EnI Electrical is its ability to understand its customers and their unique project requirements.

“We are not just supplying a product that meets a specific specification. As contractors, we are delivering something unique. If we do not understand their needs, it is going to cost us money,” says Naude.

As he points out, relationships start at boardroom level and they are reinforced by delivery of what was promised by the company’s top level management. And, it is for this reason that the management team is known for also participating in the close-out of projects.

Transparency is also key for Naude, who is extremely concerned by contractors’ known exploitation of scope changes in projects to their own benefit. “It is a tumour in the entire construction industry, and therefore a practice we have shunned. We refuse to indulge in this and are on a concerted drive to change this practice through the way we approach our contracts from bidding through to completion of the works,” he says.

As part of the company’s drive to “transform the culture of the local contracting fraternity” even at the operational level, significant time and effort is spent by EnI Electrical in developing its well-known “A-teams” that are headed up by impeccable leaders.

“Any team is indicative of the size of the project, but it is our teams’ leadership that is a significant differentiator on a construction site. They are not merely technically competent, as this is a given for any construction team, our leaders understand the business of construction and are effective in multiple areas, which is exactly what is needed to complete projects successfully,” he says.

Last year, these teams helped build a uranium mine in Namibia, a new gold mine in Ghana and a platinum mine project in Rustenburg, Northwest Province, as well as being involved in a Coca-Cola factory expansion programme in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The company’s policy of open and transparent communication with its customers has also been adopted internally.

In-house conferences are held once a year where on-site experiences are shared internally to improve performances on contracts and, just as importantly, to break conventional construction mindsets.

“We unpack what has made us so successful and do not shy away from understanding and sharing between us what has not worked to our benefit, and how we could improve in these areas,” says Naude.

“New management blood” has spent significant time developing a large company mindset internally to ensure EnI Electrical successfully secures and completes large projects, since the company was acquired by Zest Group in 2008.

However, he notes that EnI Electrical has still preserved the benefits that come with a small business.

This “small business memory” includes EnI Electrical’s agility and therefore, ability to react quickly to market demands.

Clearly, EnI Electrical has a recipe for success – business unusual. And, this approach to business is being welcomed in a market that is rapidly changing, and demanding more from contractors.