Mining solution provider FERMEL is using Mindjet collaborative work management software to centrally manage a number of complex and interrelated business information functions – from onsite audits at a number of mines and central fleet management, to accounting and human resources – organising a large amount of information and providing an effective snapshot of various parts of the business.
Says Roelf Venter, FERMEL’s financial director: “Prior to implementing Mindjet, we had tried to use Microsoft Excel, as well as a number of other different systems, to make sense of the huge volume of information generated on all sides of the business.

“We found, however, that we needed a more versatile solution that could be used to better organise updated business unit information, while still allowing access to historical data and providing a clearer view of task statuses and priorities.

“FERMEL has representative sites at seven major mines across South Africa,” he continues. “Each represented site is subject to ‘site visits’, where personnel records, IT policy registers and systems are audited.

“Since FERMEL opted to use Mindjet, we have been able to map each site, updating the information and sharing it following these visits. This provides management with a clearer, holistic view of the status of each location, while helping employees to understand where corrective action, such as additional training, is needed, and helping them to prioritise tasks.”

In addition, the organisation has its own fleet of 54 vehicles across the country to manage, which entails tracking vehicle mileage and age, where they are situated, who the drivers are, what type of vehicle it is, which vehicles have been sold, and so on.

“Our central fleet management is now also controlled using Mindjet, which lists all of the organisation’s sites and the associated vehicles,” he explains.

“This setup, which is updated monthly, makes it far easier to move vehicles between sites as needed. Not only does Mindjet allow us to keep a close handle on vehicles’ mileage, it enables us to easily identify which vehicles need to be replaced and where they are currently located.

“Our fleet management map even helped us identify similar problems with three different vehicles of the same make and model at three different locations.”

Venter maintains that Mindjet use has become pervasive across all levels of the organisation.

“We have used Mindjet for the management of business information for many different scenarios within FERMEL, to plan our human resources policies and procedures, our broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) programme, company SWOT analyses and our balanced scorecard strategy.

“FERMEL even used Mindjet to complete a due diligence report for a potential acquisition, completing the entire exercise over two maps,” he says. “There truly was no better way to complete this task.
“In addition, when we needed to put together and register a Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) under the New Companies Act in 2008, we mapped both the requirements and relevant sections of the Act in order to consult both sets of information concurrently.”

Mapping was also used when the organisation set up its FERMEL Zambia business. The entire project was laid out in Mindjet, covering points including local legislation and companies’ Acts, information on the country itself (such as the population figures and so on), steps to register the business as well as details pertaining to employees (labour laws, working permits, medical and pension funds).

Venter believes that using Mindjet enables management to get a quick overview of the different areas of the business, particularly useful in areas where processes and responsibilities are difficult to understand.

Through this format they can then drill down into the detail if and where required. “Mindjet has given clarity around the effect each part of the company has on everything else, highlighting the importance of people’s roles and each individual’s effect on the business.

“Furthermore, it has instilled a culture of planning within senior staff members in particular, which is critical to our business as we believe one third of the time spent on a project should be devoted to planning in order to facilitate and streamline execution,” he concludes.