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ERP Implementation in Tanzania for A Leading Mining Outsourcing Company

Business Background

Client is a Tanzania based mining construction company having most of its activities concentrated in the Mining sector. The HO and the workshop are located at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It has various Project Site offices in the remote areas in the up-country region of Tanzania.

Client takes the job from the mining companies on a contractual basis to remove the earth layer from a particular area of land marked for mining. For the execution of the job they open a temporary Project Site office near the location and the selected manpower is deputed for that office. The heavy machinery and the earth moving equipment are moved to the site from the workshop at Dar. This equipment and the machineries are transported by heavy duty carriers. Every Project is supervised by the Project in Charge and a daily report is sent to the management at HO. Earlier client was using a simple accounting software only for accounting purpose. The same software was used at the various project sites to maintain the local accounts of the site.

Objectives of ERP Implementation Tanzania

Client’s organizational structure before the ERP Tanzania implementation was a decentralized one, where individual project sites and branches were not integrated with any network. Apart from accounts the rest of the records were maintained in MS-Excel sheets at individual locations. There was no way to do any analysis or consolidation of stock or accounts until and unless the data was supplied from all the locations on demand. The stocks were managed more on trust basis than on facts. All the activities at the project sites were out of sight of the management and no information was available unless it was asked for. Hence, this became a hurdle for growth. In order to control the business with better efficiencies, the company decided to go for a web based centralized ERP to enforce controls and processes laid down by the MD and Operations Manager.

Solution Choice

Client had a tough time to selecting the right solution for themselves as the vertical was not very common and the available vertical specific solutions were not available locally and the cost factor was another important aspect they had to look at. They were also aware of the fact that they need to do a lot of customization in the software as they had some specific requirements which were not available in any software. They were also not comfortable with the local vendor’s solution. Because of these reasons Client opted for ebizframeERP as the implementation, customisation and support were provided by the principle company itself and they also had a direct presence in Tanzania for so many years. Moreover the licensing policy of ebizframe ERP is such that in the long run the TCO comes down drastically compared to any other global ERP’s.

Implementation Architecture

Earlier it was decided that ebizframe ERP being a web based application, all the users from various locations will punch their data directly to the central server while accessing the ERP thru the internet. This would enable the management to get the real time information about every project on the click of the mouse. This would also ensure discipline within the organization and restrain the workforce from delaying the job in hand. But looking at the less reliable connectivity solutions available in the areas where client had projects, it was decided that apart from the Central Server, specific modules of ebizframe would also be installed at the various project sites so that there may not be any interruption in the day to day business even if the internet is down for some time and the users can punch there data and carry on with their work uninterrupted. ebizframe ERP is developed on 3 – Tier Architecture and hence the users have no direct access to the data. This feature of the ERP increases the security of the data which is an important asset for the organization and which client was very particular about. ebizframe ERP also has certain inbuilt features which help the organization to communicate with the users sitting in distant locations using the intranet or the internet at no extra cost.

ERP Implementation

The Order for the Implementation of ERP was signed in May 2010. A full-fledged Gap analysis and SRS was done and signed off before actual implementation began. After the changes were made in the software and onsite implementation was done with some fine tuning the teething problems, client. went fully live in August 2011 and it was also rolled out at 4 locations simultaneously. ebizframe was customized as per the finalized documentation and some re-engineering of their business processes that was also adopted as the organization moved from a decentralized semi computerized system to an on-line centralized system in a controlled operations environment. All the core modules including the Maintenance module are online now. The inventories of spare parts are maintained in strict order as the non-availability of any spares may hamper the operation at any site which may result in a huge loss of revenue for the organisation. On the other hand it was ensured that the shelf-life of the spares are kept at the minimum level so that the running capital is not blocked for a long time as these spares have high procurement costs and are imported from other countries as per the requirement.

The revenue generation of client was also dependent on the actual usage of the heavy equipment and therefore it was mandatory to capture the usage of these equipments and the invoicing to be done for the same.

Benefits Derived

The post implementation scenario at client is completely different from what it was earlier. Currently the information from all the locations are stored and processed at the Central Server and the information is available at the click of the mouse to all the users with adequate viewing rights. This also helps the management to take informed decision for any project site and/or any branch. This has also increased the probability of the availability of spares and reduced the shelf-life of costly spares and consumables, ultimately resulting in more rotation of the running capital. Some other benefits derived from this implementation are a) generation of invoice as per the usage of the equipment and follow up for payments in time, b) efficiently monitoring of man-power at project sites and the calculation of their pay-outs, c) monitoring of the usage of costly consumables more efficiently resulting in less leakage and loss to the organisation.