DBI Consulting was established as a fit-for-purpose, Pan African business aiming “to change the lives of people on the ground and anchor sustainability.” Ditibane notes this entails a major responsibility for management and is not to be taken lightly. “The current situation is that any person who acquires professional engineering status can open a consulting engineering firm,” he notes.
“In order to differentiate ourselves in the existing market and also to complement it, we strive to create simplicity, add value for our clients and use time as a competitive advantage in terms of delivery,” says Ditibane. Another key differentiator is DBI Consulting’s extensive footprint in all nine provinces.
“While it is important not to reinvent the wheel, there are a lot of inefficiencies at the local government level that we can eliminate by forging strategic alliances with the nearly 300 municipalities in the country,” adds Ditibane. “Our differentiated approach to infrastructure consulting is therefore maintaining a highly networked business.”
An existing gap that DBI Consulting looks to fill is in the arena of turnkey solutions. “This allows us to be the owner’s or client’s advisor and implementing agent at the same time,” notes Ditibane. While it entails high risk, the opportunities presented are commensurate. “We like to think we are wired differently in this regard as it allows us to perceive opportunity that the rest of the market is blinkered to.”
In terms of inhouse capabilities, DBI Consulting offers project management and planning and value engineering and pre- and post-feasibility studies, including bankability. It also has specific skillsets in civil, structural, electrical and mechanical engineering, geotechnical, water, transportation and geoscience. More specialised or non-core services are outsourced, including quantity surveying, cost management, architecture and instrumentation and automation.
“Our main value proposition is that we offer our clients genuine value for money because we are such an agile business. We are not stuck on tariffs and can adjust to the client’s affordability level if it addresses the risk profile for all stakeholders. That is a unique selling proposition for us in the market.”
Ditibane explains that if a project is deemed unviable, DBI Consulting can conduct its own risk modelling and assessment. “If the indicators on the risk profile do indeed reveal that such a project is feasible, we will commit to it.” Here the main benefit for clients to entrust their projects to the company is its accountability to its own delivery mandate.
“We pride ourselves on being the best communicators in the market as we can flag any problems that may arise at an early enough stage so they can be mitigated successfully. We are even able to communicate problems on the fly and walk the client through the entire spectrum of potential solutions. This means there is a huge level of confidence between us and our clients.”
Despite ongoing challenges such as tight margins and non-payment, DBI Consulting still delivers on its value proposition. “The fact that we have consciously diversified the business means that our own risk profile has been reduced,” stresses Ditibane. “We are not orientated towards specific clients or sectors but are multi-sectoral and capable of participating in all market sectors.”
This includes a regional focus as well, with DBI Consulting’s reach extending as far afield as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia. “Being able to diversify and expand is essential. We can guarantee our value proposition to our clients because at the end of the day our risk is so highly diversified.”
Looking to the future, Ditibane says his vision is to transform DBI Consulting into an IPO-ready business within a decade. “We will decide upon listing when we reach that point, but first we must ensure we have end-to-end systems in place to drive the business forward,” he concludes.