A dynamic cloud-based visibility solution has significantly improved business planning and supplier management for Grindrod, SA’s largest mineral freight logistics company.
Dubbed Falcon, the solution was developed for Grindrod’s Terminal business by Keyrus South Africa, a leading business data intelligence consultancy. Falcon was deployed on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure. Embedded data visualisation tool Tableau was deployed to enable Grindrod users to see and understand trends, outliers and data patterns.
Grindrod’s commercial team plays a crucial role in planning throughput at its terminals, relying on historical operational performance to develop forecasts.
“Prior to the Falcon implementation, the team operated using various Excel spreadsheets to capture information and report on planning operations,” says Craig Andrew, senior consultant at Keyrus South Africa. “It also relied heavily on emails and phone calls from remote teams in direct contact with Transnet and the port authorities.”
These far-flung teams are responsible for establishing how many trains and vessels are available for Grindrod’s use in the coming weeks, and feeding this information back to the commercial team. Information regarding everything from train derailments to loss of wagons due to maintenance had to be emailed to head office, resulting in a lack of immediate visibility and creating a dependency on reading emails.
This information is crucial for the effective running of the business. In the event of delays, Grindrod needs to take remedial action to ensure continued throughput. It also needs to calculate whose responsibility it is to pay for the interruptions. In the past, this was manually worked out once the vessel had been loaded, using the details of these events that had been captured and stored.
“The commercial team needed this logistics information to be immediate and visible to ensure compliance with agreements and timely engagement with customers,” notes Andrew.
Grindrod required a solution that allowed the business to be more in control of the commercial side of the operation, with a lot less effort.
“We selected Keyrus, with its ability to use modern technology to solve business challenges, to develop and implement a future-proof solution,” says Vishal Deeplaul, CEO of Grindrod's Terminal business.
The result was Falcon, a visibility solution that enables Grindrod’s remote users to update the single, central application from wherever they are, as events occur. When a train derails, a vessel is late or a wagon is sent for maintenance, the commercial team is now instantly aware of these and can intervene where necessary to ensure the desired throughput is achieved.
Grindrod’s Terminal business is benefitting from up-to-date reporting with accurate, near real-time information. Users can either log in to Falcon to view reports or wait for them to arrive seamlessly into their inboxes. These scheduled reports have had a significant, positive impact on the commercial team, and are the focus of daily meetings to ensure customers receive the best possible service.
In addition, Grindrod no longer has to manually calculate the complex penalties or paybacks caused by supplier delays. All relevant information is captured in Falcon, which calculates the commercial equations in real time, using predefined ‘take or pay’ logic, and provides the evidence to support the outcomes.
“In future, Grindrod Plant and Equipment Assets data will be moved into Falcon which will generate maintenance reports to further improve the efficiency of throughput planning,” adds Andrew.
Modern technology and its ability to solve business challenges lie at the heart of the way the experts at Keyrus think and operate.
“We pride ourselves on being a reliable partner with a personal, hands-on approach,” says Greg Guye, CEO of Keyrus South Africa. “We have been an integral part of Grindrod’s digitalization journey for the past two years. We strive to build long-term relationships with our clients and see them prosper into the future.”