Etihad Credit Insurance contracts EY for strategy advisory in the UAE

04 February 2019

The UAE’s federal export credit entity Etihad Credit Insurance has awarded a strategy and operational transformation contract to EY.

Commencing operations last year to support the UAE’s non-oil exporters in the development of a diversified local economy, state-entity Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) has tapped Big Four professional services firm Ernst & Young to provide insights and solutions in the areas of strategy and operational transformation – with the aim of enhancing ECI’s “processes, standards and framework to better support UAE businesses.”

“ECI is committed to consistently maintaining seamless operations that are compliant and adaptive of top-notch technology,” said ECI Director of IT and Operations Ali Saleh Al Ali. “Collaborating with a reputable advisory firm like EY is a strategic move as it will provide ECI premium solutions and tools that are cost-effective and reliable as well as help us in further streamlining our processes according to industry standards and practices.”

Through a range of export credit, financing and investment insurance products, ECI expects in the next three years to be supporting $40 billion or more worth of exports and re-exports, and has in the past two months signed a number of agreements, including partnering with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, tapping French credit insurance software firm Tinubu Square as a technology partner, and establishing a collaboration deal with UK Export Finance following the Lord Mayor of London’s recent visit to the region.

Etihad Credit Insurance contract EY for advisory services in UAE

In line with the sustainable economic development and diversification aims of the UAE’s Vision 2021 agenda, the latest deal with EY will see the Big Four advisory provide ECI with insights and “quality services and solutions” as to the agency’s strategy and operations, in a move which ECI CEO Massimo Falcioni says is a crucial step towards helping UAE businesses to establish their presence locally and globally.

“Today, the emergence of technology, data analytics, cloud computing and new tools and techniques are providing companies with greater levels of assurance and unique insights,” said Falcioni. “ECI is focused on incorporating the latest industry practices, technology and tools to help. The collaboration between ECI and EY, known for its high-quality​ advisory services, technical excellence and broad understanding of financial and non-financial factors, is a crucial step towards this direction.”

EY MENA Insurance Leader Sanjay Jain noted the importance of agencies such as ECI on global trade. “Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) and Trade Credit Insurers play a significant role in supporting global trade and promoting (re) exports. ECI has a critical role in the UAE’s economic diversification agenda and EY is looking to support this vision through our proven credentials with other global ECAs.” According to Jain, the project will be led by Swiss-based EY Financial Services Advisory Partner Joerg Thews.

Saudi pharmacy chain Nahdi transforms with aid of two consultancies

11 April 2019

Saudi Arabia’s leading pharmacy retail chain Nahdi has undergone a recent transformation with the help of two consulting firms; Resilience& for a business process re-engineering project and Redbox Digital for an omnichannel commerce implementation.

With a vast network of outlets in 140-plus cities and villages across Saudi Arabia, the Jeddah-headquartered Nahdi Medical Company oversees the biggest retail pharmacy chain in the Kingdom – serving millions of customers every year. Stating a goal to remain at the forefront of innovation, Nahdi has recently undergone two transformation projects with the aid of consultancies Resilience& and Redbox Digital.

The former project, which commenced last year, has seen the team from management firm Resilience& partner with Nahdi’s Business Process Re-engineering leadership team to institute a more efficient and agile manner for serving its customers. For the strategic transformation, Resilience& among other activities assessed processes against best-practices and benchmarking tools and applied a performance review mechanism to aid with any future fine-tuning.

Founded in the UK in 2015 and with further branches in Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Morocco and Greece, Resilience& describes itself as a network of consulting firms and independent experts – among them; UAE-based principal partner Ahmed Ragab, who has 15 years of cross-sector consulting experience across the Middle East – including a brief stint as a deputy director with Baker Tilly in Kuwait; and senior manager for digital transformations Tamer Montase, a former manager at Ernst & Young.Saudi pharmacy chain Nahdi transforms with aid of two consultanciesMeanwhile, Nahdi has also seen an UX overhaul with the implementation of a complete omnichannel commerce experience across its retail stores and digital channels delivered by global digital commerce and creative design consultancy Redbox Digital – a leading global elite Magento partner in the Middle East. According to the firm, Nahdi experienced its highest ever site traffic and best basket size and conversion rates in the week following the launch.

Built on Magento Commerce Cloud and Magento Order Management (while integrating Nahdi’s existing back-office Oracle systems), Nahdi’s head of omnichannel and former Accenture management consultant Pawel Dabrowski described the implementation as an amazing achievement given its size and complexity. “There were so many elements to consider from mobile application and single sign-on to loyalty programmes and single customer view,” Dabrowski said.

“Being able to bring all these together required knowledge, skill, understanding of the wider eco-system and more importantly team-work. There were challenges along the way, as with any large-scale implementation, but Redbox’s technical understanding, flexibility and ability to swiftly solve complex issues was behind the project’s huge success. They have a long history in the region and an excellent reputation for delivering high-performing omnichannel solutions.”

Founded in 2004, Redbox has a regional hub in Dubai (established in 2013 and serving clients in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar) with further operations in the UK, US, Italy Australasia, South Africa and Mauritius – the digital consultancy having since its inception built up an impressive roster of clients including Universal Music, Sephora, AXA, Nespresso, The Body Shop and Abul Latif Jameel, the parent of lean management specialists Four Principles.

Elsewhere in the regional healthcare sector, Four Principles itself recently celebrated a total supply chain and procurement processes lean transformation project for the Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group – naming the company its inaugural Kaizen Awards’ winner – while specialist consultancy GE Healthcare Partners has just picked up its own award, being highly commended at the prestigious MCA awards in London for a transformation project in conjunction with the Dubai Health Authority.