Sets global group BI standard and wins R50 000 vendor challenge
African Barrick Gold (ABG), majority owned by global gold industry leader Barrick, has won a challenge issued by business intelligence (BI) vendor QlikView South Africa to notch up more than R1 million in bottom-line savings or growth from the implementation of its tools.
Sanjay Singh, supply chain systems process manager at the company’s Tanzania-based mining operations (run from Johannesburg), says ABG recorded savings far in excess of the R1 million specified, simply by cutting out surplus inventory with the aid of QlikView.
ABG operates four remote mines in Africa and as a result of a new mine coming on stream, employee turnover and outdated inventory management and controls, ABG’s inventory and obsolescence write downs began to increase in 2010. As a result ABG enlisted the help of its Toronto-based parent company to source an inventory optimisation tool.
“We’d been trying to make the original application work for us since 2010, without success,” Singh says. “We spent more time and effort extracting and manipulating data than actually analysing our data for better decision making. It never gave us a true picture of our inventory or any real value in terms of optimal stockholding.”
QlikView was then introduced to ABG by Business 2 IT, a QlikView Partner. It was soon implemented as a company-wide tool where Singh created an Inventory Optimisation app that pulled together multiple data sources to give it clear visibility into ABG’s inventory. This allowed the company to manage its inventory levels without any of the drudgery and complexity of repeat algorithmic work required by the previous tool.
“QlikView gave us unparalleled insight and enabled us to build an exponential forecasting app that overcame the complexities, uncertainty and long development and testing cycles of our global inventory optimisation tool,” he says.
He adds that the tool’s ease of use, speed and unmatched insight led to it being accepted as the group standard for BI-supported inventory management.
Singh says as a result of the implementation ABG saved multiple millions of Rands.
- The exponential forecasting app was developed at low cost very quickly, versus the significantly higher cost of implementing the erstwhile tool and appointing an on-site supply chain manager.
- In addition, the company was able to avoid a considerable annual licensing fee.
- Reduction in excess inventory and obsolescence write downs in the millions of Rands were achieved with further significant reductions projected.
- QlikView also replaced a BI tool operating on top of ABG’s ERP system (alongside the inventory tool), accruing more savings.
- The consolidated site view of purchase orders resulted in the cancelling of open orders or financial commitments across mining sites, reducing working capital substantially.
- Supply chain audit queries with the aid of QlikView are much faster, leading to productivity improvements and a better view for external auditors’ of ABG’s internal controls.
- Service improvements have also been possible due to the visibility into supply chain managers’ KPIs and improved collaboration with the mining sites.
Singh says no further development is needed to complete the forecasting app, compared to the repeat work of the purpose-built inventory tool. “Group head office was quite impressed by the ease of modification of the QlikView app. Any modification on the other tool would take months to develop and test.”
But even when one leaves these significant costs aside, implementing QlikView resulted in immense direct savings.
Davide Hanan, MD of QlikView South Africa, says when QlikView put forward the challenge in April it was confident several customers could oblige. “We are delighted with this great success at ABG. It shows the value of Business Discovery and how it empowers you to change your business and be more productive. In the process, you not only save a lot of money, but you also become far more competitive.”
Download QlikView Personal Edition – a full free version of QlikView 11 – to see how much you can save you.