New version of software introduced

29th October 2004 By: Deborah Spicer

Ranked sixth in the 2004 Financial Mail Top 20 South African Companies survey, shipping and freight management company Grindrod has upgraded to version 8 of FrontRange’s service management solution, Heat, to take advantage of enhanced functionality.

Information and communication technology (ICT) users are not only based in the freight company’s 24 offices in Africa and the UK, but also on the company’s ships, whose computer equipment can be serviced only during the short period when the ships are in port.

There is, therefore, considerable pressure on its ICT helpdesk to accurately prioritise and track calls as well as allocate support operatives timeously and appropriately.

An initially outsourced helpdesk was brought in-house two years ago to eliminate the intermediate step between Grindrod and its users that was reducing efficiencies and manageability. The move also improved the freight company’s ability to manage support calls to third-party vendors. Having worked closely with their outsourcer for the previous two years, Grindrod’s internal IT staff were familiar with Heat and able to take it over smoothly enough to bring about cost savings of about R31,50 per call. Users, frustrated by the perceived gap between themselves and the outsourcer, had been making calls direct to internal support staff without logging them with the helpdesk. This made tracking calls with any degree of accuracy impossible. Once the helpdesk was taken in-house, user confidence in logging calls grew and, within two months, the number of calls logged increased by 28%.

JSE Securities Exchange-listed Grindrod has a strong operating presence at each of South Africa’s large ports as well as in Johannesburg, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia. It also has offices in London and the Isle of Man. It employs more than 800 people and controls assets of more than R2-billion, generating a yearly revenue of more than R2-billion. It employs a further 2 181 people in companies in which the group has an interest.