This follows the original software contract to the value of R700 000 for Maximo, a leading work and asset maintenance management system, clinched by MST early in 1998.
By using a ‘best-of-breed’ information systems approach in support of its flagship gold-mining operation, Avgold plans to achieve a predetermined gold production cost of below $200/oz at Target.
The 10-year-old, 35-employee MST has developed the capability to provide the mining industry with the required products, services and methodologies to achieve these types of productivity improvements, MST business leader Kobus Blomerus tells Mining Weekly.
“Due to a cost-an-ounce target being set on the production of gold for the first time in South Africa, a total new mining and mining management concept has been developed. “A production plan integrated with the maintenance management system will be a critical enabler of this goal,” Blomerus says.
MST was instrumental in introducing this revolutionary approach to mining, the company’s senior Maximo account manager Danie van Vuuren divulges.
He believes that mining in general cannot afford to ignore this development and envisages that successful completion of the project is set to place Target at the forefront of profitability in gold-mining.
MST is also implementing Maximo at another Anglovaal group affiliate, Associated Manganese Mines of South Africa (Assmang).
The first high-level strategic phase has been completed at Assmang that entailed strategy and requirement definition. MST will complete functional specifications in March as well as the definition of interfaces.
Van Vuuren says Assmang will be using Maximo to set up electronic- commerce functionality with suppliers of equipment and spare parts.
Maintenance-significant elements are being identified and the system is populated with baseline data.
The Assmang system is due to be commissioned in August and further knowledge transfer and hands-on training will be offered to ensure optimal use.
Blomerus says MST will return at intervals of three to six months over an 18-month period to give an independent report to senior management on the performance of Maximo at Assmang.
He feels confident that the time scales indicated by the return on investment (ROI) study to determine project payback, that was done as part of the project justification, will be realised.
The same approach will be followed at Target.
MST set out with a vision to be acknowledged as the number-one supplier of business improvement tools, methodologies and services to Africa. Its main focus is on the wealth-generating industries, such as the manufacturing, mining, transport, facilities and the oil and gas industries, contributing to the African Renaissance.
Maximo already has a substantial presence on the African continent and is used in countries such as Mali, Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Several African companies benefit from global agreements with PSDI, the US developer of Maximo.
By taking skills from an engineering base into the information technology industry, MST is focusing on solutions to enable its clients to become more competitive in the global market.
More than 90% of the company’s employees are qualified and experienced engineers and technicians. This enables MST to understand its clients’ business and formulate business solutions rather than providing information systems only.
MST promotes the use of a best-of-breed software solution philosophy by integrating with world leaders in financial management, human resource management and other leading systems.
Van Vuuren says although integrating ‘best-of-breed’ systems that pose more challenges for the solution provider executing the project, it offers significantly more advantages for the client in getting both the integration and the best solution.
He reports that a significant portion of the yearly customer support fees is directed towards research and development and architectural enhancement of the product, ensuring that Maximo clients will remain at the leading edge of technology at no additional cost, thereby reducing system life-cycle cost and overall risk.
PSDI reinvests approximately 13% of its total revenue of US$120-million (1998) into research and development.
Blomerus points out that PSDI’s next big technology step is to migrate Maximo to the Java objects environment, rendering its availability as a total object-orientated system imminent.
MST’s other product, Arena simulation software, is a decision support tool and enables users to optimise design of operational and business processes and advance efficiency and productivity. Existing and planned processes can be simulated to eliminate constraints in the processes.
MST has had significant Arena simulation successes in the mining industry over the past seven years. Simulation has now become a requirement for most high-cost projects in the mining industry.