With commodity prices under pressure, the future of mining depends on accessing real-time information to enable quick management decisions, says project management software company Syspro.
“Financial and nonfinancial reporting is now the difference between a profitable mining future and no future at all,” Syspro says, adding that mining companies have to focus on high production to spread fixed costs.
Calculation of unit prices across multiple operations needs to be standardised, which requires accurate, relevant data and managing supplier performance and pricing is critical, as is stock control and mitigating variances, to trim costs at department and cost centre level.
Syspro marketing director Meryl Malcomess says Syspro’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is fast becoming the ‘mining industry’s best friend’.
“We provide our clients with a history of usage at the time of creating and approving requisitions. This means management can easily control expenses through quick and easy access to vital information, translating into substantial cost savings,” she says.
Accurate data is also critical to meet legislative obligations, such as completing tax returns, as reliable numbers reduce penalties and interest charges resulting from potential underprovisions; volatile labour negotiations are another area where accurate data plays a positive role in quick resolution.
Meanwhile, fraud and corruption remain a prevalent risk in the industry, especially in multi- nationals operating in developing countries; however, a comprehensive ERP solution provides evidence through trends, gaps and rigorous controls, which strengthens areas potentially open to corruption.
“Syspro ERP offers consolidated reporting across a group of companies, facilitated by a structured chart of accounts,” Malcomess adds.
Other features of the software include the integration of plant maintenance with ERP to help manage equipment costs and workflow to manage authorisations, fraud, budget checks and controls.
“Our software takes the guesswork out of key management decisions,” she says, adding that the nature of the industry requires that financial data be of a high standard, accurate and inputted in a consistent manner.
“This gives executive leadership confidence in the data’s quality and can be relied on for comparing things such as the performance of business units and various operations. An ERP system must [also] be suited to the size of the organisation in order to deal with the outputs required.”