Award Winning Consulting Firm Ensures Business Operations Continuity With Deltek ERP
Alpha Consulting Engineers, established over 25 years ago in Singapore, is an electrical and mechanical engineering consultancy firm with 50 people delivering award-winning projects in the APAC region.
In order to reduce complexity, maintain its high standard and quickly respond to changes in the business environment, Alpha Consulting Engineers collaborated with Deltek to transform its internal business infrastructure with a customised enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
In this interview, Choong Choon Guan, Director of Alpha Consulting, reveals what led the firm to embark on a digital transformation journey.
Can you tell us about your company's mission, where and when it started and the scope of your operations in the region of Asia Pacific?
Mr. Choong: Alpha Consulting is a spinoff from a much bigger company, which, at that time, was the largest A&E consultancy firm in Singapore. Alpha Consulting was started in 1995 by the leadership team of the previous firm.
Despite sporadic projects in the wider APAC region, we never really had the goal to develop internationally. We see ourselves as a Small to Medium Enterprise with around 50 employees. The largest we have ever been was around 70 employees. At one point, we did plan to grow larger but soon became aware of the challenges that would arise with such strategy. The recruitment of seasoned engineers, which are limited in Singapore, control of the high quality standard of our deliveries, as well as the unwillingness to put the financial stability of the company at risk, made us realize that a staff of 50 is probably the optimal size for us.
We decided not to increase the size of the team, but rather stay a middle-size company and increase the high quality service to our customers with the completion of iconic projects in Singapore.
Can you tell us more about you, your background and current role at Alpha Consulting?
Mr. Choong: I started my career as a young engineer at a company called PCR Consulting Engineers Pte Ltd. In 1996, I decided to join Alpha Consulting as a full-time engineer, and have stayed since then.
My background is in mechanical engineering and I am currently a Director and shareholder at Alpha Consulting. We have a total of three directors in Alpha Consulting including Mr. Loh Fook Yuen, who is our Managing Director. I am also involved with the Association of Consulting Engineers of Singapore (ACES) and have been a council member for over four years now, currently serving my third term.
ACES, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Singapore, is a non-profit making association representing the independent consulting engineering profession in Singapore. Members, comprising of consulting engineering firms operating in Singapore, are mostly practicing structural, mechanical or electrical engineers. The objective of the association is to promote the professional interests, rights, powers and privileges of Consulting Engineers in Singapore. We sit together for the purpose of cooperation and mutual advantage and consultation of the profession, with the aim to improve the industry as a whole.
Your firm undertakes engineering consultancy services for the building industry and has won many awards. Is there a specific project you are most proud of?
Mr. Choong: I would say in every project, there is something different that we can be proud about. However, receiving our first GreenMark Platinum Award here in Singapore, in 2009, is something that made us all very proud at Alpha Consulting.
More personally, applied to my domain of expertise in mechanical engineering, my thoughts go to collaborating with multinationals to build high tech factories. Specifically, when we are building advanced ultra-clean air filtration systems with the ability to control the concentration of airborne particles counts down to not more than 100 particles in every cubic foot of air for the production cleanrooms. The Seagate Technology building in Singapore, a 50,000-sq.m 4-story facility, for which we were involved, is probably one of the most exciting projects I have had the chance to work on.
In one of the most recent projects, the AAiM Building that is completing soon, we have deployed a state of the art Active Chilled Beam system design as the air conditioning system for the entire office building, which is one of the first few in Singapore. I am personally very excited to await the completion of this project.
Although we are not the biggest consultancy firm in Singapore, we do have confidence in our engineering abilities that allow us to implement new technologies in the city.
"The Deltek ERP solution is scalable and we were able to select modules that would respond specifically to our needs."
Alpha Consulting is already very successful in the APAC region. What problems were you trying to solve that prompted you look for a new solution?
Mr. Choong: Since I became a director at Alpha Consulting, I would say that one of the biggest challenges we had was the management of the finances and operations of the company. For many years, we looked for a solution to track and manage our projects. We are born engineers and do not have a lot of experience in finance so we have hired an accountant who helps us, yet, understandably, they do not have strong knowledge of our engineering operations. It was always very challenging and time-consuming to bridge the gap.
We had a solution in the past that helped us track time spent by engineers, but, due to old technology and many limitations, it no longer worked well for us.
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What differentiates Deltek from the competition and what was the deciding factor that caused you to choose Deltek ERP?
Our previous solution was end of life and no longer suitable for our needs. Consequently, we decided to look for a new ERP solution. I was surprised to discover that most solutions were more suitable for large companies with a presence all over the world – this would be overkill for a company our size.
Eventually, we met with Deltek and we have found the team really understanding of our needs and business. Deltek ERP is scalable and we were able to select modules that would respond specifically to our needs, without the necessity to buy counterproductive functions.
"I pay for what I need and we can see that the solution is the result of strong industry expertise from the Deltek team."
About the Author
As Alpha Consulting Engineers’ Director, Choong Choon Guan is responsible for the company’s business strategy. With the firm since 1996, he focuses primarily on business processes improvement to ensure the company meets its objectives and is compliant with industry regulations.
Alpha Consulting Engineers Pte Ltd was established in January 1995, to undertake a whole spectrum of mechanical and electrical engineering consultancy services pertaining to building construction and other industries. For more than 25 years, the firm has completed numerous projects, ranging from teaching institutions, hospitals, hotels, office buildings, shopping malls to aircraft hangar and data centres in Singapore and the APAC region.
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