09 Jul 2012
Sandvik rolls out e-business to customers in Africa
In the wake of its November 2011 rollout to South African customers, Sandvik’s e-Business initiative is receiving excellent response and is poised to be introduced to Sandvik customers right across Africa.
“e-Business is all the information, interaction and transactions that are conducted over the internet between Sandvik and our customers,” Benedict Chaila, Sandvik Mining e-Business manager – Africa, explains. “e-Business is a global Sandvik strategy already well established in other parts of the world. It aims to enhance the overall value of our partnerships with customers through standardisation of commercial processes and the increased efficiencies gained by doing business together electronically.
“The primary objective is to understand how our customers want to do business with us, so that we can adapt our applications and services accordingly. Our e-Business tools give customers a high level of control and visibility with their procurement processes, while enabling genuine cost savings.“
By general definition, e-Business manages the flow of information within supply chains between suppliers and customers, tendering by e-mail, e-commerce, order taking, international communication and customer feedback.
“Those on both sides of the transaction benefit from the system’s transparency and its potential to improve costs and efficiencies,” says Chaila. “The fewer people involved in the transaction, the less likelihood of inaccuracies coming into play. Internet purchasing is the way of the future and our systems will continue to develop to improve our service to customers.”
Two e-Business Options
Sandvik’s e-Business facilities operate primarily through two internet options — @YourService and Direct Connect.
The @YourService web portal allows customers instant access to detailed information about products, prices and availability, as well as facilitating placing orders and viewing invoices online.
Once an order has been placed, customers can track its status right through to delivery. Tracking of past orders assists with future purchases.
The portal also offers a wealth of information such as product catalogues and manuals, technical information, commercial documents, training materials, service bulletins, industry news and developments.
“@YourService is Sandvik’s version of Amazon.com,” says Chaila. “It’s effectively a one-stop-shop for mining and construction tools, spare parts and consumables. And its value-add goes both ways — customers’ transactions are fast, accurate and trackable, while from our side, our technical teams have more time to go out and interact more frequently with customers in person, to support their operations.”
Direct Connect is a B2B option whereby Sandvik’s ERP system can be connected with customers’ business systems. This means customers can now place orders with Sandvik directly from their own ordering systems. A powerful solution for automated and high volume ordering processes, Direct Connect is aimed at customers who have high transaction volumes.
“This solution facilitates the exchange of transaction documents such as orders, order status, invoices and advanced shipping notices over the internet between Sandvik and our customers,” says Chaila.
e-Business was initially launched internally towards the end of 2011 to familiarise Sandvik personnel with these systems. After this, both @YourService and Direct Connect were piloted in the field at two of the company’s largest South African clients, with a great deal of success. Sandvik is now rolling out e-Business to all its clients, within and beyond South Africa.