Reminiscing on an ERP project victory

During my 13 years at SYSPRO I have been involved in a range of software development projects, but have never tried my hand at implementation. Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to work with the iPlan team on the SYSPRO implementation at the Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) in Kitwe, Zambia.

I was brought into the project about 4-5 months into the implementation, when the customer began to see the power of SYSPRO and started pushing it to and beyond its limits. They realized the value and potential of SYSPRO and wanted more and more out of the system.  Everything that they needed has been achieved with the core product by utilizing the built-in customization features, power tailoring and workflow.

To me the SYSPRO architecture is like a malleable block of marble that can be sculptured into almost anything, and that was exactly what was done at the Mopani Copper Mines.

Mopani is licensed for 100 core SYSPRO users and 700 workflow users, and the company has 12 workflow processes that are extremely complex.  Each of the workflow processes has between five and 15 levels of approval.  They have a number of mine shafts and open pits scattered around the copper belt, and everything that goes into producing copper or cobalt has to be requisitioned using SYSPRO.  Requisitions range from tea and coffee to drilling equipment, dynamite, bulldozers, feasibility and environmental studies and even the construction of new shafts.  The values of the requisitions range from $10 to $350-million.

The operation as well as the amount of data being processed is really incredible. At any point in time there can be an average of 500 concurrent users on the system. In addition to that, requisitions can be put out to tender and the Kitwe or whole Zambian community can quote via the web. The entire tender process goes through the SYSPRO infrastructure. In addition to the 500 concurrent users, there can also be an average of 100 users creating quotations at one time.

On average they produce just over 3000 new requisitions a week – these include Stocked, Non-Stocked, Service and Emergency stock requisitions. The approval process can take anything from one hour to three months. There is also a Supplier Invoice Approval workflow process. This is a complex process designed to stamp out corruption and fraud. There are approximately 12,000 actual workflow transactions going through the system each day (that equates to one workflow transaction every 7.2 seconds). The scalability and performance of SYSPRO in this environment is truly amazing.  In seven months the workflow database alone has grown to 170 gigabytes, and it contains just over half a billion records.

Most IT experts would expect this to impact negatively on performance…to the contrary, users are able to trace or report on any workflow transactions and the information is returned to them in milliseconds – this is purely down to the architecture of the product.

The implementation to me is truly a work of art that would rival some of the best art work in the world, and I am honored to have been a part of it.

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About Kevin Dherman

I am a Product Development Manager at SYSPRO, and have been at the company since 1999. My passion for software development started at a very young age. Along with my team, I spend most of my time doing research and development – where I am responsible for investigating new technologies, integration strategies and development. Before joining SYSPRO I worked at a SYSPRO customer, where I developed add-on programs, reports and a fully functional Kan-Ban system. I have been involved with the architecture and development of Solutions, SYSPRO Reporting Services, SYSPRO Office Integration and recently SYSPRO Workflow Services. I have always believed in choosing the right technology at the right time – where the success of the modules that I have developed are testament to this. I often work closely with the Microsoft development team in Redmond, whilst in the RND stages of a new module. I have lectured at numerous Microsoft Tech-Ed and Microsoft Developer Days too. I am an avid Manchester United supporter and enjoy watching the English Premiership. I also coach both my son’s junior soccer teams.

3 thoughts on “Reminiscing on an ERP project victory

  1. This is an intriguing story Kevin. I work at ASA Metals, my comany uses Syspro but I do not think we are using the system in full capacity. The stock items are still withdrawn via a manual requisition. There is a little integration between planning and stores. Are you able to advise in this instance?

  2. Hi Thando,
    I am glad my blog has sparked some interest. There is definitely ways SYSPRO can eliminate manual processes and provide integration between planning and stores.
    Please contact our Professional Services Team in Johannesburg +27 11 461 1000, I am sure they will be able to assist or give you the required advice.

  3. Hi Kevin,
    I only discovered this blog post now. I must say that to me it seemed like just another day on the job, but after reading this post it actually shined some light on the situation. This truly was a huge implementation. Can’t wait for the next project that will top this implementation.

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