Bridging the Gap Between Grindrod’s Engineering Data and Business Information

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Different technologies included in the solution

Background

SA’s largest mineral freight logistics company is benefitting from improved decision-making and operational efficiencies following the recent rollout of a sophisticated data automation solution. The solution includes a combination of data streaming, analytics, logic matching and visualisation technologies. It was designed by Keyrus, a leading business data intelligence consultancy, that assists enterprises leverage their data and information to enhance performance. “Essentially we have closed and integrated the information gap between Grindrod’s operations and top management, enabling the organisation to optimise its entire logistics process,” says Greg Guye, CEO at Keyrus.

Challenge

Grindrod Terminal's business is part of the JSE-listed freight logistics business, Grindrod Limited, which primarily moves cargo from the point of departure to final destination. It was facing the traditional legacy problems of siloed teams and stand-alone, paper-based systems containing massive amounts of raw data and low levels of visibility to other key stakeholders. This constrained the flow of information to key decision-makers. The logistics giant needed accurate, real-time insight into its operations and had the foresight to invest in technology as a platform for strategic change and growth into the future.

Approach

The experts at Keyrus used modern cloud technologies and Industrial IoT to develop a comprehensive solution to solve these business challenges. Ignition, a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system was implemented. It draws data from the programmable logic controller (PLC) machines throughout Grindrod’s facilities. This raw data is streamed in near real time directly to the cloud using Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics. Here, complex matching logic is applied, combining the operational data with business information. Microsoft Azure Data Lake is used for cost-effective storage, and a SQL Data Warehouse ensures the Azure Data Factory service can assess and execute various options to transform and match the Ignition data to consignment information. Finally, this consolidated information is aggregated into an easy to use embedded Tableau dashboard. This is the visualisation layer of reporting which turns the data into meaningful business information. "Ignition seamlessly integrates the various operational components of Grindrod’s complex pit-to-port business, but this raw data is mostly only understood by the managers that operate the machinery and plants,” says Craig Andrew, senior consultant at Keyrus. “Our job was to integrate that raw data with business-related, consignment information to provide meaningful insight into the entire organisation.”

Key results

01
Best-in-class architecture implemented, using new cloud-based technologies, to ensure a highly reliable, flexible and scalable solution
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Information aggregated into an embedded Tableau dashboard for a visualisation layer of reporting which turns the data into meaningful business information
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The timely insight into operational constraints will help Grindrod secure their leadership position in the industry for the future

Benefits

Apart from access to accurate, consolidated reporting of operational activities, Grindrod also now has best-in-class architecture, using new cloud-based technologies, to ensure a highly reliable, flexible and scalable solution. “We built the architecture and framework so any other operational activity can feed into it,’ says Andrew. “This will enable Grindrod to achieve even deeper integration in the future, for example, with vehicle telemetry systems.”

What our clients say

“Grindrod now has clear visibility throughout its terminal operations. Our management teams have access to relevant information, at the appropriate level of detail, and can act promptly"

Vishal Deeplaul, Chief Executive Officer, Grindrod Terminals

Technology partners

Tableau Software

As a leading analytics platform, Tableau offers visual analytics with powerful AI, data management, and collaboration. From individuals to organizations of all sizes, customers around the world use Tableau’s advanced analytics to fuel impactful, data-driven decisions. Tableau Software was acquired by Salesforce in 2019.

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