Mining for the perfect solution
JSE open pit mining and materials company, Afrimat, has deployed MWare XRM to improve its productivity and also to have a more detailed approach of its quarries and equipment. One Channel partner and ERP specialist, MyMethod Consulting, implemented the solution that is based on the Sage 300 ERP platform with Sage CRM.
Afrimat supplies a broad range of construction materials and industrial minerals ranging from mining and aggregates, metallurgical dolomites, agricultural lime, concrete products to readymix. It has also established a strong foothold in contracting services.
Afrimat's Pierre Marais says one of the biggest constraints for any company in manufacturing is productivity of time and equipment. "The main focus of the project is to ensure our plants work to their optimum and to identify process improvement opportunities in the various production steps."
MWare boasts various XRM modules, including procurement management, supply chain management, service manager help desk management, service manager fuel management, service manager quote and mobile sales.
MWare director Mich Martins says it provides management with timely and reliable insight to guide important business decisions. "The philosophy of using CRM as a front-end is simple, it's easy to use and requires almost no user training as compared to using the back-office ERP system directly.
"It's a business solution that enables companies to improve business processes, provides closer management of new and existing customer relationships, increases revenues and decreases inefficiencies," he says.
XRM refers to the use of a common CRM system such as Sage CRM as the development platform for specialised vertical applications. The benefit of leveraging such platforms is that they have the following characteristics: they allow for complete form and field customisation, they possess a powerful workflow engine and they have an escalation and notification service.
Furthermore, they are Web-based and mobile ready, they are scalable and they can be integrated into most accounting and ERP systems, as well as other line-of-business systems.
"We, as a company, had an overview approach of the performance of our quarries and equipment. As the company grew, the need became clearer to have a more detail approach - detail in reasons for targets achieved or not achieved," Marais explains.
"The difference in regions and onsite equipment made it difficult to set standards and targets that were achievable, and all role-players had to buy into this standard."
Productivity measurements were established and set as the standard for Afrimat. A key performance indicator project was launched to measure the detail of time and equipment utilisation. Input sheets were developed to capture the detail work time planned versus all planned and unplanned stoppages, to review the total performance of the specific quarry or equipment.
Marais says the analysis of the data captured is done per shift and information is immediately available to ensure continued improvement. "An input sheet was developed with various security levels to ensure that it is user friendly and that information is accurate."
Afrimat now has information on hand to speed up the improvement process. This tool gives operators a sense of ownership that contributes to a better working environment where managers and workers celebrate their successes.
"Process and machine history is being gathered, which assists in the preparation for an improved budgeting and process development process," he concludes.