Accelerating Your Transformation
It’s inevitable that with advances in technology comes the need for transformation to take advantage of these technologies.
Mining companies must regularly consider investing in their IT infrastructure to deal with an influx of connected devices, automated plant and equipment processes, and challenges of collaboration across geographically dispersed sites.
There are also the complexities of managing mine asset themselves, from high production costs of extracting and processing minerals, investment in critical equipment, maintenance and labour, to fleet tracking, logistics and transportation, all whilst trying to hit targets and maximise ROI.
Smart automation is essentially driving the need for asset owners to implement more efficient, more secure software that can help streamline their processes, including the real-time collection, analysis, storage and protection of an overwhelmingly large amount of data, day-in day-out.
In the world of digital transformation, to achieve the desired operational efficiencies and deal with technologies requires the implementation of a robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
There are many ERP systems available and the assessment of which one suits which client is not an insignificant exercise. Additionally, service providers will not specialise in all ERP possibilities, so clients will need to be satisfied with an implementors’ experience, expertise and working culture.
ERP systems by their very nature are not intended to be customised for individual enterprises, however most can be. Customisation adds cost, complexity, risk and requires additional resources and time. This is about clients’ flexibility in matching their business processes with the practices embedded in the chosen ERP system.
An important decision for any ERP product is the reason you are moving to a particular product. What are you trying to achieve, and how do you know when you have achieved it. The ‘how do you know’ justifies the investment made, however is frequently ignored or overlooked. Implementing a product is the first part of the journey, and using it to improve your business with the technology you have procured, in a changing world, is the next part.
DAS Consulting is one firm with an in-depth understanding of the challenges asset owners in asset intensive industries face along their transformation journey, and how the right tools and expertise put them in pole position to improve the management of their asset.
The Australian Mining Review caught up with DAS Consulting Director Keith Johnson, and General Manager Gordon Hang Gong, to learn more about the power behind ERP software and why choosing a customized platform is so important in industries such as a resources and Defence.
AMR: Firstly, can you give us a background into what DAS Consulting do and the industries you serve?
KJ: At DAS Consulting, we implement ERP solutions across asset intensive industries,
including public and private companies in the mining and resources, Defence, transport and utilities space. For us, it’s about understanding every aspect of that industry, and providing a solution that meets the industry expectations of our clients.
We are a leading ERP systems provider that combines experience, technical expertise, and domain knowledge to deliver what we and our client have collaborated on, to effect a satisfactory solution. We treat each implementation as a collaborative journey, working closely with our technology partners and clients to drive value at every stage of the process.
Asset intensive industries such as mining demand ‘operational readiness’ as they operate in a fluid environment with frequent changes in the positioning of assets and resources. Asset management in mining focuses on the availability of physical assets and resources to service the operational plan in a timely manner and on budget, while generating income for the enterprise.
We implement ERP solutions that offer indepth functionality for usability and optimum total cost of ownership through the lifecycle of the system. From evaluating opportunities to solving hidden productivity challenges, we help improve business performance across operations and the plant and equipment lifecycle.
Our belief is that software alone does not solve business problems, but it is the people who make the difference. We pride ourselves on our capability of providing products and services for the digital transformation of asset intensive industries whose main business platform is SAP ERP.
Our current industry specialisation is with SAP’s Defence, Security, and Aerospace, including S/4HANA DFPS.
We are a licensed partner of iSEC7 for SAP Mobility Solutions and Baton Simulations for ERP business process simulation on live S/4HANA Fiori systems, which allows us to provide solutions that streamline complicated and inefficient asset data collection procedures.
Additionally, providing our clients with business efficiencies and significant improvement in maintenance practices to reduce maintenance unit costs and increase asset reliability.
AMR: In a mining operation, there would clearly be several problematic areas along the transformation journey. What do you see as the key issues and how do you address them?
GHG: As a business transformation company, DAS Consulting has worked with mining organisations for over 25 years, it’s safe to say we have addressed almost every potential issue that could arise in projects of this scale. The priority in any transformation project we work on is increasing operational efficiencies, optimising costs, and implementing a solution in the shortest time possible without impacting site productivity.
I would say the three most common issues that exist centre around data, security, and training. As mines become more automated, it’s only natural that greater amounts of data are extracted which require powerful software platforms and processes to manage it. From driverless trucks, wireless communications networks, drones and surveying technology, to plant sensors, remote oil sampling, and fleet tracking equipment, all these activities demand robust and secure data management systems.
As data is extracted and monitored in real- time, the quality of data is critical, particularly with the increased reliance on predictive maintenance, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
But, there’s also an increased vulnerability to cybersecurity threats as mining operations embrace new autonomous technologies and enterprise applications. As companies invest in cloud, analytics and interconnected devices that integrate devices, people and plant, it’s critical to ensure systems are up to-date and compliant.
This is where our highly trained and qualified consultants come into play to help companies select the right ERP solution and strengthen their digital infrastructure aligned to their unique site requirements.
We offer a suite of digital transformation and workflow automation solutions that provide the necessary safeguards to protect their digital infrastructure.
Training forms an important part of our ERP implementation process as it is an area many service providers in the market seem to neglect. DAS Consulting has actually partnered with Baton Simulations to offer a digital acceleration solution that uses gamification and visualisation as part of in-application learning and support. It is essentially an ERP simulator which removes the need for expensive shelfware, publishing leadtime and classroom training. Users can see an end-to-end process on screen, so they understand their role and that of the application transactions in their organisation.
AMR: You mentioned the IFS cloud-based enterprise software. Can you provide some detail around its suitability for mining companies?
GHG: Although SAP is still our core business, we are starting to see incredible value in the award winning IFS software, which is a cloud-based enterprise software offering a modular package approach aligned to the individual needs of a specific enterprise. There are a number of larger companies transitioning away from SAP to IFS. This is common in the start-up space where smaller mining service providers simply can’t afford the financial investment in SAP.
That is why we have partnered with IFS as it’s not only cost-effective, but provides a much shorter implementation time backed by a super-efficient training program.
The ‘IFS Cloud’ product is Cloud first, but not Cloud only, and deployment can be cloud based or on-premise. It offers a high degree of flexibility as we can build out a tailored solution for clients with only the relevant modules that align to their specific business needs.
IFS can manage ERP requirements while providing best-in-class performance for specific industries, with mining being one of the core industries. It has a robust and thorough methodology, which allows us to significantly shorten the ERP implementation timeframe, subsequently saving the client money, while enjoying the advantages of these solutions earlier. This extends beyond implementation into the operational lifecycle.
From the back office to the operations, we look at every opportunity to increase efficiencies through a collaborative system.
Most other systems neglect a company’s business plan once the new system goes live where it just becomes part of the functionality they use to keep the business on track. If our clients are unsure of what ERP they need, we conduct a Business Value Assessment that provides high-level insight into what modules they require. This is then presented to senior management as the Business Plan with expected costs and timeframe and serves as an evaluation tool project plan, configuration requirements and KPI’s.
DAS CONSULTING AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
Level 1, The Realm, 18 National Circuit,
Barton ACT 2600
+61 2 6198 3269