Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZ), established in 1996 is one of the fastest growing freezones in the region. Over the years, the organization has provided connectivity and support to multinational companies from every continent, enabling them to establish regional offices to capture the wealth of business opportunities throughout neighboring markets.

Companies typically trading in low volume, high value products, such as telecommunications & electronics, pharmaceuticals, aviation and logistics, jewelry and luxury goods find DAFZ the most attractive hub due to its strategic location in Dubai city near the Airport. DAFZ customers include Fortune 500 Multinational Companies such as Boeing, Airbus, DANZAS, Panasonic, Sumitomo, Clarins, Audi, Porsche and Maserati, to name a few.

Mir’ah (QPR Software) has been the answer to the long felt gap between excellence systems in DAFZ. This flexible, user - friendly platform enabled us to reap the merits of integration in a short time. We have just started but I can already see the promising yields” says Ahmed Habib, Director, Strategy and Excellence Department.

Rapid Growth Requires Better Management Control
Faced with the rapid growth of the organization and its activities, in August 2010 DAFZ defined a new strategy for the years 2011 – 2013, after a comprehensive PESTEL and SWOT analysis.

This plan set out the freezone’s new vision, mission, values, strategic goals and related key performance indicators (KPI). The plan provided the organization with a basis for the development of initiatives and actions aimed at realizing the set goals.

To manage growth in an orderly and efficient manner DAFZ realized that it had to go further with management of its operations through process management: Documenting its processes would allow for better planning and optimization, especially when this could be driven by operations-focused process performance indicators.

Selecting the Right Software
DAFZ understood that managing strategy, performance, processes and change in an efficient manner would not be possible with office productivity tools. It thus set out to find software that would support its ambitious goals.

First it conducted a feasibility study in order to build the business case for defining the requirements. This allowed it to research, benchmark and review several software offerings. Finally it performed a tough vendor selection process. It selected QPR Software’s QPR Suite because of its functionality offering, its ability to easily integrate with back-office systems and most importantly its exceptional user friendliness.

QPR Software’s local Value Added Reseller IYCON complemented the solution with its strong expertise, allowing DAFZ to commit to and achieve a project implementation project of just five months.

The system, re-branded as “Mir’ah” was officially launched as scheduled on January 2011 by DAFZ Director General and the Executive Director, Human Capital and Strategy Division. DAFZ recently celebrated the first anniversary of the successful Mir’ah.

Change Management Critical for Success
Introducing a new system in an organization is without exception a challenging feat: Without acceptance and active participation by the workforce a project can easily fail. DAFZ understood the importance of change management, which it demonstrated in its choice of rebranding the system to “Mir’ah”, meaning mirror, and creating a sense of ownership at all levels of the organization.

“We wanted to create a new culture of monitoring and review at DAFZ, with a focus on improvement, not blame” according to Ahmed Habib, Director of Strategy and Excellence Department at DAFZ. “This is why we also picked the slogan of Mir’ah ‘Measure to improve, not to blame’ to support this”, he continued.

Through its usability and rich functionality QPR software has helped promote teamwork, accountability and consequently commitment to achieving DAFZ strategy and related goals.

A Core Taskforce
To ensure the new system is taken into use properly and developed according to user requirements DAFZ established a core taskforce that ensures the Mir’Ah system is kept up to date and used to its maximum. This team manages the Mir’ah continuously. Nominated Mir’ah champions in all DAFZ departments actively take part in sustaining the system. In addition the CoE manages a continuous program of maintaining awareness and education in order to maximize the use and results of the Mir’ah system.

Easy Access to Management Information
Using QPR has allowed DAFZ to establish a single access point to all management information including dashboards, scorecards, KPIs, process maps, policies, work instructions, ongoing initiatives, comments and clarifications. With the precise and accurate performance monitoring capability of QPR Metrics (previously QPR ScoreCard) , DAFZ has gained greater visibility on Initiatives and KPIs that are not performing according to the defined targets, allowing them to make better decisions and achieving its strategic goals and vision to become “The ultimate free zone destination in the region.”

QPR ProcessDesigner (previously QPR ProcessGuide) has allowed DAFZ to build a single, up-to-date process repository that employees can consult, comment and take an active role in continual improvement.

The value of the QPR system is effectively more than the sum of its components: complete strategy and performance information in various visual presentation formats, a complete and easy to browse process catalogue, all related documentation such as DAFZ policies, surveys, studies, benchmarks and excellence model requirements, user comments, tasks, initiatives and projects in one place and provided in a manner that allows users to makes sense of it all.

Quick Tangible Results
With the QPR system DAFZ has been able to achieve tangible results already within the first year of implementation. DAFZ’s Department’s Business Plans and KPIs have showed remarkable performance exceeding the defined targets.

“Also excellent customer results such as the increase in the number of customers, improved customer satisfaction, and decreased customer turnover rates are some of the successes we have achieved as a result of our new focused strategy and real-time monitoring though Mir’ah” said Ahmed Habib.

“In addition, there is now a focus on process improvement and reducing service cycle times with the aim of increasing operational efficiencies” he continued.

“Financial KPIs and targets have also been achieved with an added focus on effective cost control in these economic times. However, no layoffs have been made and there is an increasing trend in employee satisfaction. The QPR System allows us to make better decisions and helps us achieve our strategic goals as well as our vision to become the region’s ultimate Freezone destination.” Ahmed Habib concluded.

Local Expertise from IYCON
IYCON Fz, LLC, QPR’s reseller in the region, provided DAFZ with a tailored solution based on QPR ScoreCard and QPR ProcessGuide. During the entire project, IYCON Fz, LLC showed great commitment to meet DAFZ requirements and is now considered a valuable business partner.

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