The AEMFC was launched by President Zuma in 2007 as a state-owned mining company that would compete on equal terms with the rest of the mining sector. It opened its first coal mine in Ogies, Mpumalanga in 2011. The mine is expected ultimately to produce 1.68 million tons of coal per year.
The AEMFC is a young company with large aspirations. Its aim is to help secure the country's current and future energy supply, and eventually become a leading player in many mining categories. To support its plans, it was looking for a robust enterprise system that would provide it with a solid foundation for growth, and that would be scalable as it grew in size.
Under pressure to get the system up and running as its Ogies mine was commissioned, the AEMFC elected to use the Barnstone Mining Solution because it offered out-of-the-box access to the best practices and proven business processes embedded in SAP All-in-One enterprise resource planning software. The Barnstone Mining Solution has been preconfigured for a mid-cap mining company to reduce implementation time dramatically, and has been certified by SAP.
The company also wanted to improve its month-end processes to reduce closing times.
A small team of Barnstone consultants worked rapidly to implement five modules of the Barnstone Mining Solution for the AEMFC: Finance/ Controlling, Procurement, Inventory Management and Plant Maintenance.
Training the existing 25 users was an important additional step to ensure that the system received buy-in and was used properly. The fact that all the users were English-speakers made for a much easier training environment.
The Barnstone team was able to complete the implementation in just three months. One key success factor was the fact that minimal customisation was undertaken in line with the underlying philosophy of the Barnstone Mining Solution.
"We aim to use the existing functionality in SAP to the fullest; customisation is a last resort," says Conrad Steyn, a director of Barnstone. "The result is that everything really works!"
Another success factor was the enthusiasm and receptiveness of the AEMFC team, which understood fully the benefits to be had from using a world-class enterprise system—and had no legacy baggage to contend with.
"The attitude of the Barnstone team was another key success factor: they were behind us all the way and were totally flexible when it came to devising workarounds to accommodate specific business processes," says Arthur Thando Dladla, AEMFC. "We aim to become one of the top five coal producers in the country by 2020. We see the implementation of the Barnstone Mining Solution as a key foundation stone in that strategy: it gives us, as a mid-sized mining house, access to the best practices embedded in SAP, and puts us on par with the major players from Day One at a fraction of the cost."