TACON: the construction partner of choice in Ethiopia

TACON: the construction partner of choice in Ethiopia

As a proud member of the TAF Group, Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction PLC (TACON) is a team of innovative, committed and engaged professionals who strive to deliver and exceed on the diverse expectations of all its stakeholders.

While engineer Tekleberhan Ambaye Fanta made his name as a philanthropist and businessman, the construction company he established in 1993 served as a springboard for the group that has now become one of the leading diversified Ethiopian business firms.

Over the course of the last 25 years, rapid growth and an ‘obsession with performance and speed’ has seen TACON certified as an efficient and renowned Class One Ethiopian General Contractor (GC 1).

Over the last seven years, the company has seen its annual revenue increase by 1,167%, maintaining an average growth rate of 167%. The service segment of the company has also grown to provide a full line of infrastructure development services, including among others: construction of highways and airport runways; civil works of railways and water projects; massive earthworks; specialist pile foundation excavation services; and industrial plants.

But what is the secret to this success? For Seifu Ambaye, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, it has been a drive for total client satisfaction as part of a major strategic transformation.

“Since I took up the post of TACON’s Senior Deputy General Manager in 2010, I embarked on a radical transformation of the company’s strategy, ushering in a new era of project management and internal efficiency,” says Ambaye.  

“With the technical support of Ernst & Young (EY), the TAF Group has recently formulated a growth strategy that aims to gain competitive advantage and demonstrate institutional effectiveness through growth goals in the areas of financial, customer and market and internal processes.”

The unmatched growth of TACON is very much characterised by a mixed bag of both solid opportunities and substantial challenges. Through time, Ambaye came to realise that the company was marching too quickly to the extent of outgrowing existing capacity. This, in turn, created notable difficulties in meeting the growing expectations from clients for timely delivery of projects, including an inability to shoulder the burden of contractual and financial commitments.

“If these challenges, coupled with internal pressures such as ineffective leadership, traditional construction service delivery methods, highly politicised behaviour and lack of systems continued to prevail, the growing malaise would reach an unbearable point,” he says.

“The growing demand placed upon the company by its key stakeholders allowed us to transform the businesses of TACON and the TAF Group at large as a way-out strategy.”
Tacon identified a number of key drivers for this transformation. From the government’s push to develop competent local contractors, clients’ shift in focus towards the timely delivery of quality projects, to the aforementioned internal pressures, the company needed to act.

“We adopt a project management philosophy that revolves around collaborating with all stakeholders and engage in integrated project delivery, creating detailed activity and resources plans to meet the client’s scheduled implementation timelines, track project progress and fine tune deviations, closely monitoring the quality and cost-efficiency of operations thereby completing and delivering the projects on-time,” Ambaye explains.

“The result is that we take pride in the promising outcomes, thus our clients can always be assured that only the most experienced and qualified people are serving them, all the time.”

Amongst TACON’s diverse client portfolio is a number of government organisations. Over the course of its two and a half decades of operation, TACON has worked with governments to undertake numerous complex commercial, public, educational, residential, multi-purpose, health, research and financial buildings, as well as industrial plants and recreational facilities.

For Ambaye, TACON’s completion of these contracts represent far more than enhancing physical infrastructure; they are implemented exceeding clients’ requirements and done so with high quality and value with the view of ultimately improving the livelihood security and economic self-reliance of local people. “From our perspectives, the significance of the completion of works under contract goes beyond the culmination of the traditional client-contractor relationship,” he says. “In fact, our approach has been instrumental in allowing TACON to become a company of choice of the governments of regional countries.”

TAF Group was created with a core philosophy: ‘Counting on Our Human Capital’ and this is something that Ambaye continues to drive.

“We firmly believe that the company’s prime asset is our human resources,” he says.
“As an organisation we strive to ensure that everyone has adequate opportunity to understand and be committed to take responsibility for their own continued development needs a promote lessons learnt inside and outside the companies; as well as to innovate, improve and recommend better ways, among others.”

These beliefs in the human resources saw TACON establish a Centre of Excellence in 2014. Accredited by the public regulatory bodies, the courses offered by the Centre of Excellence are designed to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude of the trainees meeting relevant Occupational Standard (OS) and remain instrumental to increase the productivity, performance and profitability of the construction industry participants and other institutions.

As TACON looks to the future, Ambaye is mindful of the need to strike a balance between short-term goals and long-term ambition.

“Our short-term goals are to embark on formulating a strategy that combines internal growth by using the company’s capabilities to develop their own businesses as well as re-engineering operational systems and service delivery processes,” he says. 

“To achieve the objectives embodied in our overarching vision and mission statements, the leadership will continue to invest in human capital; review the project management and supply chain practices in order to eliminate all service delivery that falls below industry standards. This will allow TACON to continue to stand tall above others in the industry.”

Seifu Ambaye