Dust-A-Side, a South African company providing dust control systems to all
major mining groups in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, has used the
Business Intelligence Centre (BIC) from Softline Pastel to improve the
production of management reports at mine, regional, and holding company
Dust-A-Side provides specially trained human resources, equipment, and a
bituminous product that is sprayed on to dirt roads at mines in order to
reduce dust levels, reduce wear on truck tyres and filters, and enable heavy
duty vehicles to work even when the roads are wet. Maintaining dirt roads
with Dust-A-Side services also saves mines the cost of tarring their roads,
many of which have to be abandoned when new shafts are opened.
A user of Pastel Partner for eight years, Dust-A-Side wanted to manage each
of the 58 mine sites at which its product, personnel, and equipment are
situated as individual profit and loss centres as well as be able to
consolidate each site into its relevant region.
"When we got Pastel Partner, I deliberately set up the general ledger so
that each mine site was a sub-account, with an eye to eventually producing
management accounts with which each site manager could run his operation as
a mini business," says Dust-A-Side financial manager, Pieter du Toit.
"This meant that when Pastel BIC was launched, we were ready and never
looked back. Now, at the click of a button, we can provide each site manager
with a forecast against which he must order his product and report on
"Pastel BIC also automates our factory planning, so that we know how much
product to produce at any given time. It has also streamlined the management
of our outsourced transport."
Joanne Barnard, of JB Accounting, Dust-A-Side's Pastel BIC implementation
partner, says that Pastel Partner is the ideal solution for Dust-A-Side
because "it is so easy to work with. There's a logical process you can
follow, especially if you know something (about accounting. It gives you the
facility to start off with generic accounts in a very simple structure and
then build from there, depending on the types of reports you want.
"I design new reports when Dust-A-side requests them and then, once I've
installed them, they are able to maintain them in-house. Because I know BIC
and Dust-A-Side's business very well, turnaround times for creating new
reports are very short."
Dust-A-Side is in the process of expanding further into Africa as well as
setting up an office in Australia. "Pastel Partner with the BIC module has
scaled very nicely to accommodate Dust-A-Side's growth and, as a
consequence, increasingly more complex reports covering a significant range
of products and services," Barnard says.
Dust-A-Side offers its customers two different kinds of contracts: a litre
contract, in which product, personnel and plant are charged for separately,
and a square metre contract, which provides an umbrella price covering
product, personnel and plant.
"Consolidating those two quite different ways of costing could, in theory,
be quite difficult," du Toit says, "but BIC makes it all happen very easily.
It's an extremely good management tool."
Softline Pastel national sales director, Bridget du Toit, says, "We haven't
scaled down larger systems. We've built BI tools for the SME sector from the
ground up, so they fit the needs of this sector like a glove. We've also
made our BI tools look like the office software most SMEs already have, so
users can get results immediately in both a query and a reporting format
with which they are comfortable."