Today’s mining companies are complex organizations that operate in dynamic and evolving business environments.
To manage a successful mining operation involves navigating the diverse and increasingly complex challenges of sustainability, governance, and stakeholder engagement on top of the requirements of managing finances, inventories, and supply chains that are common to all operators.
Illumiti, a leading Canadian-based systems integration and management consulting company, is helping mining companies improve their business operations by implementing a cost-effective solution to enterprise resource planning (ERP) based on SAP software and then tailoring it to the individual needs of the company.
For most mining companies, “their core processes, such as finance, procurement, and maintenance are to a large degree the same no matter where they operate,” says Rory Friedman, Illumiti’s vice-president of mining.
He says that by digitizing a company’s core business processes, Illumiti harnesses the power of the cloud and the basic functions of an ERP to help them improve cost control and make better decisions, which “can lead to efficiency gains, growth in revenues, and a more empowered workforce.”
By leveraging industry best practices, Illumiti implements the system as quickly and responsibly as possible, Friedman explains. “When we first engage with a company, they often fall into the trap of believing that they need to create a perfect system with all the ‘bells and whistles’ attached.”
However, this approach, he says, can be often very costly and time-consuming, alienating those tasked with implementing and adopting the system, and can take years before the benefits and value of the system to the company are realized.
“Our platform can often be implemented in just a few months, accelerating the time to value for shareholders while also providing visibility to key stakeholders involved in the process, which helps to create buy-in from those who are critical to its successful implementation and deployment.”
To achieve this, Illumiti utilizes a modular template with the critical processes common to all mining operations, says Friedman.
“Rather than re-inventing the wheel every time, our solution is 80% pre-built, which allows the company to focus on the other 20%, and so provides them with a platform that continuously improves over time and evolves with their business and the diverse and changing demands constantly placed on them.”
Illumiti’s modular implementation approach is gaining considerable traction across the mining industry. The company has already helped more than 30 mining companies operating globally to reap the benefits of a faster, more efficient digitization of their business processes.
“We generally introduce the ERP platform and protocols as early as the post feasibility study, before construction begins,” Friedman says. “The modular nature of the template means that the capabilities needed earliest are implemented at the start of the process, with additional capabilities added later as the mining operation matures.”
He adds that by the time the mining operation goes into production, all the core modules are already in place and are tailored to the business's specific needs.
Although each company’s situation is unique, with their business model, operations, and the markets they serve all determining their specific needs, Friedman compares implementing an ERP framework to building a house.
“The platform can be seen as the plumbing or electricals or all the other common elements of the house's foundations. Once these foundations are in place, the owners can then focus on bringing their furnishings to personalize the space.”
In the same way, he says, Illumiti’s rapid implementation and integration of its ERP allows its core business processes to be quickly digitized, allowing the company to identify opportunities for improvements to these processes.
“Eliminating errors introduced during manual data entry, for example, frees up managers and supervisors to focus more on analyzing data and problem solving as they can take a more holistic approach to an operation, with the data collection and compilation left to the software,” Friedman says.
He adds that, following implementation, the platform helps improve communications between different business functions such as finance, procurement, maintenance, and inventory management, which can “lead to smoother and more effective interactions between stakeholders across a business and the streamlining of operations.”
According to Friedman, process automation and advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence can be leveraged in various business functions like maintenance to drive material improvements by introducing predictive maintenance capabilities.
He says invoices, for example, can be scanned and then rapidly and accurately compared with goods or services received, which “optimizes the system via automation, freeing up time to focus on analyzing data and identifying discrepancies instead of spending time entering data manually.”
He adds that because all the data is contained in one system, retrieving vital information to help in understanding the cause of a problem “becomes much quicker and simpler, saving the company time and money.”
Illumiti’s ERP platform provides a mining company “with the tools to help improve how the business operates instead of just operating the business,” Friedman says.
The preceding Joint Venture Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by ILLUMITI and produced in co-operation with The Northern Miner. Visit www.illumiti.com for more information.