South Africa’s labour issues on the mines were debilitating this year, energy prices and availability are hurting the bottom line, commodity prices are causing havoc, safety on the mines continues to be a focus area – and these are just a few of the many challenges facing mining in Africa today.

 

These firms have been the bastions of employment and supported economic growth on the continent for decades and we continue to rely on them for a sustainable economy. Each company within Africa’s mining sector needs to take a hard look internally to ensure their longevity and productivity. Regardless of the type of challenges your company is experiencing, what we know is that improved transparency into the business definitely allows management to make the best possible decisions that are not only informed but also justified. This means management not only makes informed decisions bringing about increased accountability and effective decision making but hopefully optimising growth and efficiency that impacts the top and bottom line positively.

 

There is a strong story for the impact that IT can have on the bottom and top line but more than that, there is strong evidence that undertaking these investments even in hard times can ensure that as commodity prices are restored, labour issues resolved and stability returns that companies can come out far stronger and ready for superior efficiency and management control.

SAP helps you achieve: Better production planning, execution and control

At SAP we’ve helped many of our mining customers (and other asset intensive industries in the Energy & Natural Resources sectors) make informed decisions and grow profitably.

Reporting & Analytics

SAP’s reporting ensures visibility across the organisation with real-time data analytics. Our reporting enables you to drill down into key areas of interest/concern on your mobile device 24 x 7. Understanding and reacting to information real time not only adds flexibility but also the ability to use tools such as predictive analytics to understand likely outcomes.

Anything from demand forecasting, commodity pricing, real time production analytics through to overall performance and early alerts is covered here. We will devote a full article on this in the future showing the “art of the possible”.

 

This is not just your high level analytics but can be broadened to include your operational reporting to monitor real time mining and equipment (anything from sensors on drills rigs, pumps through to your manually entered variables). As the divide between mining technical systems and other information systems becomes increasingly narrowed, we are focused on ensuring we bring all information together to provide a consistent and real time view of the world from mining through refining all the way to the board room.

 

Enterprise Asset Management

In asset intensive industries and in times of economic pressure as we currently are, prolonging longevity and improving uptime remains critical. This is where SAP’s Predictive maintenance becomes useful for complete end-to-end asset management and supports understanding where your assets are for quick identification, deployment and repair. Our solutions are designed to ensure full transparency and control over assets to maximise your usage and their lifetime savings that can be lost through outages. It is not only predictive that is important but overall maintenance and renewal activities.

Safety & Sustainability

Safety related regulations are constantly being modified, requiring the ability to firstly track whether relevant employees have undertaken updated training and certification, hours spent in a shaft or that procedural elements have being followed. SAP systems handle everything from flagging anomalies to reporting on emissions and tracking performance.

 

Fraud

Unfortunately fraud is pervasive and rather than treating the symptoms we need to implement systems, protocols and procedures to prevent and detect these early. In a mining context this could mean anything from theft of cables, physical assets or financial fraud. Implementing solutions that prevent and also detect fraud as well as help to identify potential risks is key.

Mobility

This can only be fully covered in terms of the applicability and breadth of impact in an article on its own, but suffice it to say mobile devices are becoming the “new desktop”. Mining companies are already taking ruggedized devices down the shafts in order to make their workers more mobile, management are using them to understand and interact on the go and maintenance staff are using them to remain productive and reduce unnecessary down/office time.

Supply Chain Management

SAP offers systems that not only allow your to track all parts of your supply chain understanding where the bottlenecks are but also to get alerts when there are deviations from performance targets allowing you to take informed actions. Visibility and efficiency in the supply chain show real demonstrable value ensuring not only that one can improve margins but that downtime and excess stock can be optimised.

In today’s world this is just the beginning as we are now moving to real time responsive supply chains which are dynamic and adapt to the constantly changing conditions from forecasting through to stoppages or other operational requirements. This can bring significant advantage both from a cost perspective but more significantly in terms of ensuring a more flexible and adaptable business model in line with realities of competition and other factors.

 

These are only a few ways that SAP’s IT solutions can impact your bottom line. To find out how our South African team can help you achieve superior efficiency and management control, contact us today.

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