Mining the Future with the Right ERP Solution
It’s getting tougher to build and run a fruitful mining operation. In the face of today’s uncertainty – disruption caused by a pandemic, sustainability issues, price declines for commodities, workforce management obstacles, and supply chain restrictions – an unprecedented array of challenges has intensified common mining industry issues. Throw in complications with finance, procurement, inventory, and maintenance, and the future looks even more challenging.
Luckily, the mining industry can think creatively about how best to respond to challenges today and how best to prepare for a more sustainable future. Better business outcomes can be enabled with cost-effective, digital solutions with a digital transformation, namely enterprise resource management (ERP). By harnessing the power of the cloud and placing improved productivity at the operator’s fingertips, organizations are better prepared to respond to broader disruptions and emerging demands.
How Does Digitizing the Core Benefit a Mine?
By utilizing the right technology, process efficiencies will be increased, decision making will improve, costs will be controlled, and employers will empower their employees. And since most mines perform core processes the same way (finance, procurement, inventory, maintenance), technology improves and enhances everything. Illumiti takes SAP software and tailors it to the core activities common at all mines and mills. Ultimately, mines will watch revenues grow.
The goal? To leverage industry best practices and implement a system quickly and responsibly. This accelerates time to value and gives stakeholders a platform with visibility into everything and a system to continuously improve over time.
Mines setting out to establish ERP protocols can often fall into the trap of thinking that they have to create the perfect system. Such an approach necessitates making hundreds of decisions upfront and taking as long as two years before improvements to the business are seen.
A Templated Solution Tailored for You
Illumiti has created a modular template with the necessary processes common to all mine operations. Its solution is eighty per cent pre-built, which allows the company to focus its efforts on the remaining element that are unique to a particular operation. And it can implement its template is as little as 13 to 17 weeks.
The software is generally introduced as early as the post feasibility study. The modular nature of the template means that the capabilities needed earliest can be implemented first and additional capabilities added as the operation matures. By the time production starts, the core modules are in place and customized to the unique needs of the project.
The goal is to implement the templated solution and tailor it to your needs as you use it. You focus on what you actually need, not on what you think you need.
The Benefits of Using ERP Software
What Illumiti offers is a platform to get a business system running quickly and implementing more efficiencies earlier.
Entering data is done on a tablet in the field. A maintenance superintendent can walk through the mill, for example, and pull up the history for a piece of equipment, see available parts, and generate a maintenance request. Gone are the days of returning to the office (which may be miles away) and entering data manually from notes on paper.
The digitized approach helps eliminate errors that may creep in when a second party is entering data. This frees the supervisor or manager to become more of a problem solver because they can look at the operation as a whole and trust the software to organize the data.
This knocks down the silos between finance, supply chain, and maintenance, and allows mines to create better integrations between stakeholders across a business process to create holistic efficiencies and streamline operations.
Process automations and machine learning can be leveraged in a variety of areas, one of which is to scan incoming accounts payable (AP) invoices quickly and accurately, then allowing the system to perform a three-way match against goods or services received. This frees up staff to manage by exception and focus on analysis of data as opposed to data entry.
Gone are the days of extracting data into multiple spreadsheets and performing various analyses. Using the standard embedded key performance indicators (KPIs), SAP allows a business to set targets across process chains and also perform peer comparisons setting the stage for improvement. Because all the data is in one system, drilling down to get necessary information and understanding the root cause of a problem is simpler with ad hoc reporting and advanced analytical capabilities.
With the new lessons we’re learning today, we can better understand the mining industry’s trajectory and the next normal. It’s here today and it’s digital.
About Andrew Howell
As a graduate of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Andrew has focused his career on becoming a senior-level innovation leader and business process engineer in the SAP ecosystem. Andrew currently focuses on transforming businesses by leveraging revolutionary, intelligent technologies which ultimately digitalize their organizations.
Illumiti is a modern SAP systems integration and management consultancy committed to delivering strategy, technology, and business transformation to ambitious clients. An SAP implementation leader with a strong history of working with mining industry companies, Illumiti consists of more than 350 SAP consultants with an average of more than ten years of experience, leading processes and world-class mining software, with more than 30 mining customers operating more than 60 mines globally.