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Oct 20, 2000

IT to improve cement-producer logistics

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© Reuse this The first phase of Kwazulu-Natal cement manufacturing and distribution company NPC Eagle Cement’s R13-million information technology (IT) business management system changeover project will be completed by the end of the year, reports project manager Rob Storrar.

The company embarked on the project last year, with implementation of the first phase starting in January this year, following the selection of JD Edwards as the software vendor.

To date, the procurement, financial and plant-maintenance modules have gone live, with the sales, distribution and manufacturing modules expected to be phased in during the next four months.

Once this has been completed, the company will be looking at customer-relationship management and further improvements to management reporting systems.

The entire project will take more than two years to implement.

“While the project has taken longer than planned, and there have been certain cost overruns, we are generally happy with the progress being made,” says Storrar.

“The main aim of the project is to enable the company to improve customer service, manage its transport logistics more effectively and provide management with the information system required to operate in an increasingly competitive market.

“Also, we expect enhanced information flow will enable us to improve on our on-time delivery of cement loads and provide customers with, for example, more flexible pricing structures.

“Moreover, the existing system is nine years old, inflexible and difficult to maintain,” he tells Engineering News.

Essentially, the JD Edwards software will offer a significantly-improved and more integrated management system, which will enable all personnel to access any information necessary for them to perform their jobs more efficiently and therefore more cost-effectively, explains Storrar.

The contract with NPC represents one of the biggest the software vendor has concluded in Kwazulu-Natal, reports JD Edwards national marketing and alliances manager Simon Griffiths.

“The company has recognised the technological imperatives of the global economy and the information efficiencies available to them in what is a highly competitive environment.

“This software is going to revolutionise the cement manufacturer’s entire cement supply-chain technology, providing it with real-time information to make far more informed management decisions,” he maintains.

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