ERP that moves with the times

Mining is undergoing a massive push for efficiencies in all aspects of business, and one of the major areas of focus is in proper asset management.

This is the same from the major miners right through to the services companies and suppliers.

Andy’s Earthmovers (AEM) was one such company that needed a business system capable of handling complex asset management, maintenance, payroll and reporting issues.

Greentree integrates all cost centres, enabling analysis of equipment performance and labour expenditure, streamlines invoicing, automates manual processes, allows live updating in the field, and delivers live data to all levels of the business.

The business has grown fivefold, but administration costs have been held; proactive maintenance schedules avoid expensive downtime; reporting time has been halved and AEM believes it is setting new industry standards for reliability and customer service.

“We want to make sure we have 100 per cent availability for our customers for the machines they need, but we also need time to maintain equipment to a high standard. With our Greentree system, it is making it easier to achieve both.”

Lisa Wills is the CFO for Andy’s Earthmovers, which supplies heavy machinery for the mining and civil construction industries throughout Australia. Starting out with one bulldozer in the early 1990s, the company now has more than 300 pieces of major equipment available for lease, employs more than 120 staff and has an annual turnover approaching $100 million.

“We like to add value for our customers by saving them money,” Wills said.

“The mining industry particularly is subject to fluctuating commodity prices, which can seriously affect its profitability, so if we can save them money by pointing out potential efficiencies, it’s a win for them and for us.

“With the help of our Greentree Partner, we’re continually adapting our ERP system to deliver live information about the status not only of each piece of equipment, but each component of the machine that’s subject to wear and tear. We believe this puts us ahead of the competition in terms of responsiveness and reliability.”

AEM’s business has grown fivefold in as many years and with that growth came the pressure to unite its separate accounting and maintenance systems, and eliminate multiple manual spreadsheets.

“We were spending far too many administration hours integrating and validating data,” Wills explained.

“This was a real nightmare for us because we were wasting time that we should have been spending analysing that data.”

Downtime for heavy machinery costs serious money, and it’s standard practice in the mining industry to penalise contractors for time lost when equipment breaks down. Tracking the history and status of a machine is crucial to ensure proactive maintenance.

“On the one hand we have to ensure our customers have enough equipment ready to go, but we also need the right maintenance procedures so we can do the necessary work when they’re not operating,” Wills said.

“We also had complicated payroll issues, so we needed one system that could capture all costs on multiple levels by entering only once, and could work remotely as well.”

Greentree was assessed, along with Pronto, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Attaché.

“It was our relationship with the Greentree Partner that tipped the balance for us,” Will said.

“Greentree was an 80 per cent fit out of the box and then between us, we added the other 20 per cent.”

The result is due to the strength of Greentree’s We3 philosophy; the Partner, customer and Greentree proactively working together. A preventative maintenance program has been delivered that Wills believes is a model for the heavy equipment sector.

Segmented work orders capture the history of each machine and each of its components, so for instance, at a glance AEM can tell when the tracks on a bulldozer are due for replacement (a $150,000 job) and allocate the budget for it. Its managers and sites are able to access live data via WebView, as well as the fitters being able to enter hours they’ve worked on a machine via eTimesheets. This has streamlined supplier invoicing, which is now virtually paperless.

“This is a huge saving,” she said.

“We used to have to enter timesheets manually into one system and then integrate them into Payroll in order to capture costs on projects by machine. Now the fitters can enter the timesheets straight in themselves via the web. They can put their time into a work order, associate it with a machine, and the maintenance people can see how many hours have been spent in real time.”

Approvals & Alerts has also delivered major benefits. Purchase orders were previously raised manually in the field, and it would be weeks before the paperwork turned up, followed by the process of validation. Now all this information is captured live, there are no surprises when an invoice comes in, and costs are saved by being able check and make approvals faster.

Wills estimates Greentree’s operational intelligence has saved AEM hundreds of thousands of dollars in administration costs.

“Despite the fivefold increase in business, our administration staff have not grown in numbers to the same degree.”

When a supplier invoice comes in, Wills can track it live through the Financial Reporting Engine in Excel (FREE) which is integrated with the budget capability in Greentree’s business intelligence module, Greentree IQ*.

“I no longer have that constant error checking between systems and I now spend more time analysing the data and making decisions where I can add value. We’ve more than halved the time it takes to compile specific reports.

“I can also add rules to the system myself to assist data entry and reporting, and I’ve made it possible for our managers to access the information they want for special reports. The beauty of Greentree is how quickly it can adapt to their needs, where other systems are limited in what you can get out of them.


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