Standing true to Ali Bin Ali (ABA) Holding’s reputation as an all-rounder, Ali Bin Ali & Partners (ABAP) – CAG and Baladna division emerged victorious in the popular Japa Sports League Inter-Company Basketball Tournament 2018.
Held at Aspire Dome, the tournament took place from August to November 2018. There was participation from 32 companies from all over Qatar, including Al Asmakh, Aerotech, Nestle, Arab Center for Engineering Studies (ACES), Carrefour Qatar, Daewoo, Hamad Medical Corporation, Al Mannai Group and Nakheel Landscapes.
The 16-member team of Ali Bin Ali Holding, led by Coach Ronnie Padios, trained and practiced hard to elevate the level of their game. They challenged all odds to balance work pressure with the tournament.
This dedication and hard work guided them to the final of the tournament against Nakheel Landscapes on November 2, 2018. After a spectacular performance, the ABA Holding team emerged victorious by 15 points.
Freddie Gilboy from ABAP was named the man of the match.
Delighted with the victory, Market Manager – Baladna Division Mr. Joseph Samaha said: “I had full confidence in the boys and knew they would bring the trophy home. The team put in a lot of hard work and sacrificed a lot, they totally deserve this win. The entire ABAP division are super proud of our boys and we are glad that we could contribute to Ali Bin Ali Holding’s sporting tradition.”
It was celebration time at QCare Medical after the division went live with Ali Bin Ali (ABA) Holding’s ERP FORWARD project on October 14. On October 29, the entire QCare team headed by General Manager Mr. Zuhdi Z Al-Jaouni gathered on the QCare premises to commemorate the successful beginning of their FORWARD journey.
FORWARD Project Sponsor Mr. Mohamad A. Ebrik, FORWARD PMO Manager Mr. Youssef Farajallah Mahmoud, FORWARD Project Manager Mr. Ahmad Hamdy Shalaby, General Manager of ABA IT Mr. Youssef C. Moussa and ABA Group Corporate Communications Manager Mr. Imad Hashim were also present at the event to applaud the teamwork of QCare and the FORWARD project team.
Opening the event, Mr. Zuhdi said: “The owners have made a heavy investment in this system in order to support the continuity of the business, and we should also give our best efforts to make it successful. The QCare team, along with ABA IT and the FORWARD project team, will need to make sure the systems functions well. We know there will be ups and downs in this journey, and I would like you to take charge and be proactive in solving any problem that may arise.”
Thanking everyone for their efforts, Mr. Ebrik said: “Systems are always given to you as tools and they will remain just tools unless you use it. It is with your efforts, the system will become productivity. QCare is the 12th ABA division to Go Live with FORWARD, and the issues with the application are also now decreasing. However, if you still face any problems you can always approach the ERP team and support user.”
The gathering was also the perfect chance to recognize the FORWARD heroes in QCare. While each and every member of the division contributed to the Go Live, there were some who offered their consistent support to the entire team and made the transition to the FORWARD system smooth.
A certificate of appreciation was handed over by Mr. Zuhdi and Mr Ebrik to Logistics Officer Aleth Cruz, Division Coordinator Pinky Sharma and Senior Product Specialist Marwa Kamel.
To add a fun element to the gathering and in line with the event’s slogan ‘Your pulse took us forward’, an engagement activity was planned for the evening. The QCare team and their FORWARD associates were individually checked for their blood pressure and heart rate. The team members then wrote down the reading on the banner and signed it off.
The FORWARD application at QCare went live with three modules – Finance, Logistic and Sales – and the system has proved to quicken their overall work process, avoiding any tedious and redundant task. With all data streamlined, complete and in proper order, the QCare staff are happy with the application.
After stabilizing FORWARD operations in QQP, Ali Bin Ali (ABA) Holding’s ERP project is preparing to Go Live at another FMCG division of the Group – Prime Consumer Products (PCP). Similar to QQP, PCP will be going live with the following modules – Finance, Supply Chain, Sales and later, Trade-Marketing.
After September 27, there will be a cut-off of five working days in PCP when some of the business areas will stop operations for the transition to take place. PCP will go live with FORWARD ERP on October 7.
FORWARD’s journey in PCP began in July 2018 when officials of the FMCG department and the FORWARD team decided to Go Live with the application in October. Towards the end of July, the GM of PCP, Mr. Ghassan Aibef, met with the FORWARD team to discuss the transition and implementation phase and detailed plans were formulated to ensure that the change was smooth.
This was followed by functional meetings where the project timeline was discussed along with process-mapping. For each of the modules, dedicated captains were selected and made responsible for the progress.
No transformation is free of roadblocks and, like the other divisions of ABA Holding, the PCP division too faced a few challenges in the process of implementation. However, the team overcame the challenges and the staff of PCP had a great learning curve, coming out of their comfort zone to get used to the FORWARD application.
Apart from the PCP staff getting used to the system, another challenge was dealing with customers. It was hard for customers like Proctor & Gamble as they had to go through their internal process of listing PCP again in their system. Similar to the customer cycle, the suppliers’ cycle also had to go through similar challenges for smooth placement of orders through the system and creating internal reports.
Speaking about the introduction of the FORWARD application in his division, Mr. Aibef said: “Getting the right mindset and moving from the old methods was a challenge in the beginning. However, the team’s commitment and positive attitude towards the project have made the journey so far effective. I hope that over time people will grow more comfortable with using the system.”
A special event was organized at the ABA Travels office on September 16, 2018 to celebrate the implementation of the FORWARD ERP application at the Ali Bin Ali (ABA) Travel division. Though it is the Finance and Procurement teams that are primarily involved in the project, it was a moment of pride for the entire family of ABA Travels.
Apart from the FORWARD and Travels Team members, those present on the occasion included GM Travel & Cargo Mr. Saeed Al-Hajri, FORWARD Project Sponsor Mr. Mohamad A. Ebrik, ABA Group Chief Financial Officer Mr. Iftekhar Ahmad, GM Human Resources Mr. Aldrine Fernandez, Group GM Finance Mr. Ganesh P.K, GM ABA IT Mr. Youssef Moussa, and Group Corporate Communications Manager Mr. Imad Hashim.
The informal gathering aimed at celebrating the hard work of the entire team and recognizing the heroes who left no stone unturned to make the transition process smooth.
Opening the event, Mr. Al-Hajri thanked the FORWARD Team and said: “Mr. Ebrik and his team have done a great job in introducing ERP and automating our financial operations. I wish the ABA Travels Finance Team all the best as they start working with this new application.”
Mr. Ebrik applauded the role the Travels Team played in the implementation and said: “We can bring in new systems any time but it’s the team that made it possible to get the latest technology. It is the effort of Team ABA Travels along with the team at the Head Office and the Project Team that made this implementation possible.”
The FORWARD Team also took the opportunity to recognize the heroes in the ABA Travels Team. While the entire team had a big role in the process, Azhar Baksh and Parag Karki went the extra mile.
The ABA Travels Team also expressed their appreciation for the support they received and handed over gift vouchers to each member of the FORWARD Project Team.
Concluding the event, Mr. Iftekhar said: “It is the hard work of all the people involved that made this implementation possible. Despite ABA Travels’ tight schedule during the summer, the teams worked together to be on track. I look forward to the division closing the month much earlier.”
Spreading its wings beyond Qatar, Ali Bin Ali (ABA) Holding’s FORWARD ERP project has gone live in two divisions of ABA Holding in KSA. FORWARD achieved this milestone on September 9, 2018 by branching out two e-HR partner modules – HR Core and Payroll – to Platinum Sands and Noon Al Momayaza. Both these divisions are part of the Company’s Luxury and Hospitality divisions, respectively.
The Go Live date for the Self-Service module of the same application will Go Live on October 1, 2018 after the completion of end-user training.
While the system will be centralized in Qatar, employees in KSA will be using the e-HR Partner employee self-service application and send in their leave and other requests through their accounts/profiles. Almost 200 staff members in KSA are now ready to use the FORWARD e-HR Partner application.
Similar to the transition phase of the e-HR Partner in Qatar, there will be a period of parallel run in KSA, too. As a step to cope with this change, the employees will continue with the traditional methods – running parallel to the new application. After a couple of months, the e-HR application will be completely functional and used by all KSA employees.
FORWARD’s journey in KSA started in September 2017 when the solution was agreed upon. Although done remotely, the FORWARD team – with support from the staff in
KSA – conducted a comprehensive collection of data sheets and security profiles. In April 2018, once all data were gathered, the Intrasoft team traveled to KSA for two weeks to conduct the User Acceptance Training (UAT).
The implementation process was not free of challenges mainly because of certain localizations imposed by KSA. To support them, the Oracle ERP upgrade was initiated by the FORWARD team in May 2018.
Another major hindrance was the prevailing political situation, which made mobility to and from KSA difficult. All communication, knowledge transfer and decisions had to be taken over Skype calls and emails, which sometimes slowed down processes.
However, the synergies between KSA staff & Team FORWARD ensured the team was able to rise above all odds and ABA’s e-HR Partner has successfully gone live at the first international location.
Speaking about the journey, Senior Manager ABA HR and FORWARD Functional Track Lead (FTL) Mr. Ajay Daniel John said: “The most challenging part of this implementation was definitely the physical distance. A lot of work had to be done virtually. This Go Live was only possible because of the constant communication and co-operation between the KSA staff, FORWARD team and the HR team in Qatar. We still have a long way to go in stabilizing the application, but it is a positive start and the parallel run period will help us identify and resolve issues, if any.”
FORWARD, ABA Holding’s most ambitious project is moving ahead slowly but steadily. It is gradually automating functions in all the divisions of the Company. The next few months will witness the ERP project Go Live in important divisions including International Agencies (IA), Prime Consumer Products (PCP) and Qcare.
Adding another business division to its portfolio, Ali Bin Ali Holding’s FORWARD project went Live at ABA Travels on August 5, 2018.
With preparations continuing since the month of May, team members from the division and FORWARD PMO left no stone unturned to guarantee a smooth transition to the new system.
Though it is the Finance and Procurement teams that are primarily involved in the project, there was complete support from departments within the division. It was a hectic journey but the very young Finance team of ABA Travels took up the challenge and wheeled through with confidence.
It was the hard work and dedication of Azhar Baksh, Parag Karki, Arjun Marasini, Midhun Puthiyaparambil Jose, Mohamed Hadj Khalifa, Floriefel Canda, Jenny Veloria Sumang and Khurshid Alam combined with support from the FORWARD PMO that made the Go Live a success.
FORWARD has not just replaced the financial system for the travel division, but will also play a vital role in enhancing the functionality of e-travel. It will significantly add value to the finance and procurement processes.
Azhar Baksh, who is leading the project in the division, said: “I am proud of my team. Each one of them gave their best to make the transition process flawless. They underwent training and workshops, collected reports and prepared data to minimize the chance of any problem after the Go Live”.
Congratulations to the great team, keep up the good work!
Implementing the ERP solution in a conglomerate such as Ali Bin Ali Group is a mammoth challenge and the ABA FORWARD team, along with Intrasoft, is leaving no stone unturned to make this transition foolproof and smooth.
The recent workshop to align all QQP processes in a stabilized and efficient manner was part of this effort and the outcome was highly positive.
The workshop highlighted different topics in detail, which created an opportunity for open discussion about any previous issues. With the workshop proving effective, the QQP team is now more confident and comfortable with the processes of the new system than ever before.
General Manger of QQP, Mr. Dany Aoun, and his team have liked the approach and confirmed improvements in running their day-to-day business operations with no major issues in using the system.
Mr. Aoun said, “This workshop was very necessary for our division and it has been very helpful. Our team has worked with FORWARD and Intrasoft to identify and resolve most of the issues and we can definitely see the effect on our everyday work.”
Following the workshop, major progress has been seen in the business process of the QQP division and they were able to close accounts for 2017 as well as the initial months of 2018 as a result of the stabilization phase.
The workshop also helped identify some action points and the teams concerned are working together on executing them until the end of the stabilization period.
The commitment and hard work that the team has shown during this entire process is commendable, which has led to fruitful results. The continuous support of Chief Operating Officer – FMCG Mr. Nabil Mourad and Project Sponsor Mr. Mohamad A. Ebrik during the QQP stabilization period encouraged the team to remain committed to nothing but success.
With QQP gradually reaching the finish line of their stabilization period, the FORWARD team is now ready to prepare for rollout in the rest of the FMCG divisions.
It has been more than a year since FORWARD went live and, apart from the four pilot divisions – Head Office, Printing Press, Medical and QQP, the solution has already been rolled out in two other divisions – ABATS and Logistics as well.
With the goal to align various operations of the business in a structured and efficient manner, FORWARD team – along with Intrasoft – conducted an Operational Alignment (OA) Workshop for QQP, Logistics and the higher management.
The workshop was held between May 6 and 13, covering different business processes every day.
Inaugurating the workshop, Chief Operating Officer – FMCG Mr. Nabil Mourad said: “Commitment from all quarters is necessary to make this project a success. The FORWARD team is taking all the steps necessary to address the problems but the divisions will also need to be proactive and assist in the process by identifying the issues.”
Reiterating Mr. Mourad’s thoughts, Project Sponsor Mr. Mohamad A. Ebrik said: “Teamwork is the key to finding solutions to any issues that we are having with the system. I am sure this workshop will bridge all the gaps.”
The workshop helped get a better understanding of changes FORWARD has introduced in the QQP and Logistics processes, their impact and the roles and responsibilities of the people concerned as well.
It also got the attendees to collectively brainstorm and discuss proposed solutions, working together to overcome any glitches that may have occurred in the early stages of implementation.
In preparation for the workshop, the FORWARD team, along with Intrasoft, conducted a business study and visited the divisions concerned to understand the situation and gather data. They also travelled to Jordan for a week to get a deeper understanding of the issue as well as plan enhancements.
The OA Workshop shed light on important issues and initiated a positive approach to solving them as a team.
Ali Bin Ali (ABA) Group’s FORWARD project reached a new milestone on Sunday, April 1, 2018 by welcoming another division – Ali Bin Ali Technology Solutions (ABATS) to the FORWARD family. After the pilot divisions, ABATS is the first division of the FORWARD first batch roll-out to Go Live.
True to the slogan, ‘Growing together to reach new heights’, ABATS has grown and evolved in its journey with the successful implementation of the FORWARD ERP Application.
The added value that FORWARD will bring about in ABATS involves the introduction of the Project Costing & Billing module. With the help of this module, the division will be able to perform costing and billing operations more efficiently by having an overview of all its projects and activities. This will be a key milestone, and will enhance the core business of ABATS.
On Sunday, a gathering was organized to celebrate the successful launch of FORWARD at ABATS. Apart from the ABATS team, present at the event was Chief Operating Officer-ICT Mr. Mohamad A. Ebrik, ABA Group PMO Manager Mr. Youssef Farajallah Mahmoud and Intrasoft Project Manager Mr. Amer Dakhqan. Top management from the Head Office also attended the event to mark their support for the FORWARD Project.
Congratulating Team ABATS on its achievement, Mr. Ebrik said: “Whenever there is a new system implemented there are hiccups, we face troubles in business but slowly we start to realize its benefit and start utilizing it. Similarly, with FORWARD we are bringing the latest technology to ABA and investing a lot. But the biggest investment we are making is in our people who are running the application. Now, the challenge is to make sure that we can utilize the FORWARD system and take advantage of it.”
Mr. Ebrik also added: “The team has put in great efforts, spending weekends and nights to make sure that everything was up and running before the scheduled Go Live.”
Mr. Youssef and Mr. Amer also thanked the ABATS team for their dedication and cooperation throughout the transition period.
While the achievement was a result of substantial efforts of the whole ABTAS team, two heroes stood out during the transitional phase, namely Mr. Shafquat Zubair, Finance Manager, and Mr. Shaleh MD. Mridha, Management Accountant.
Certificates of appreciation were handed over to them by Mr. Ebrik. Mr. Zubair accepted the certificate on behalf of the entire ABATS team and said the actual journey has begun now with the Go Live.
To mark the journey to new heights, ABATS & FORWARD team members put a small note on the symbolic tree to mark their contribution to the ABA FORWARD project. It was also a sign of unity and cooperation, which is the basis for the success of the project.
The FORWARD planning and transition phase for ABATS was made possible by the sheer dedication and commitment of the ABATS team complimented by excellent guidance and teamwork by our PMO team.
Lined up next for the roll-out is ABA Logistics Division. FORWARD PMO and the Logistics team are putting in every effort to Go Live, as scheduled, in a few weeks’ time.
The FORWARD Team is consistently reaching new milestones taking Ali Bin Ali (ABA) Group to the next level of efficiency, making us more modern, centralized and accurate.
Expanding the capabilities of the already functional e-HR Partner, and making a significant enhancement to the system, the Group HR Departmentstepped up its game by introducing Performance Management (PM) for ABA staff.
With the successful completion of the User Acceptance Test (UAT) for the PM on the HCM, the system went live on March 18, 2018.
This particular addition is of high value to employees at all levels as it introduces a more effective, meticulous and fair structure for evaluating and rewarding ABA employees. With the rollout of the Performance Management system, as the age old saying goes “Anything that is measured, definitely IMPROVES”, there will surely be improvement of performance and productivity among the workforce.
Currently the initial scope is focused on bonus eligible employees, starting with the year 2017. However once the system is stabilized the scope would be expanded to the entire 4000+ ABA family, which would then encompass the commission and overtime eligible employees as well.
According to Senior Manager of HR Services and Expertise Ajay Daniel John, “…going forward, the PM system will form the cornerstone of all decisions pertaining to salary increases, promotions and other career decisions.”
This achievement would not have been possible without the people working behind the scenes. The HR core team, otherwise known as ‘subject matter experts’ (SMEs) spent long working hours gaining knowledge about the system and its functionality. The team travelled to Jordan for four days and received intensive training from Intrasoft.
On their return, FTL Ajay Daniel John, HR-Super User Ahmed Farouk and the SMEs – Ahmed Salmaan, Eleni Ntoulaveri and Bob Mathews – shared their expertise with the HR Business Partners and 25 division nominated ‘Project Champions’ from across ABA, so that they can cascade this knowledge further and assist the end-users after the system’s Go Live.
Over the coming few weeks, this team of ‘Project Champions’ will aim to share their knowledge and train the targeted employee group on how to plug in their objectives for the year 2017, as well as conduct appraisals for the same, to kick start the first phase of Performance Management roll-out.
Great job guys for your immeasurable commitment and hard work!