The mining industry is an industry that has been lagging when it comes to the adoption of technologies. Many cite this mentality as a direct result of the downturn in commodities over the last few years that many believe the industry is still recovering from to this day. But it is important to note that (and we here at Mining Global have worked hard to highlight this) conversations are happening at the top tier level of companies, all with the goal of creating a more efficient and profitable business in the end.
This is where EKA Software Solutions comes in. As a leading global provider of Smart Commodity Software Solutions, EKA sits at quite an advantage point – capitalising almost perfectly on this technological turn throughout the industry.
Founded in 2004, EKA provides ‘best-of-breed’ solutions to manage commodity trading, enterprise risk compliance, procurement, supply chain, operations, logistics and decision support. The company provided services specifically to the agriculture space but over the years has moved to automotive, food & beverage, natural gas and of course, mining.
The idea behind the company came from a similar situation – a company lagging in its adoption of technology solutions.
“I discovered that the supply chain aspect of most businesses is very poor from a software perspective, which is incredible when you think of all the different facets – moving commodities, inventory quality and the management of supply chain,” says Manav Garg, CEO and Founder of EKA Solutions.
Garg comes from a background of trading in soft commodities in Singapore. It is this first experience that granted Garg with a unique insight into the supply chain technology make up of a business.
Fast forward 12 years and Garg and EKA Software Solutions found itself crowned the IT and Software Solution of the Year – Business Intelligence Category by Corporate Vision Magazine. The winning solution – the Commodity Analytics Cloud – is an advanced analytics solution that processes large volumes of data from different sources.
EKA solutions has a vision of serving the mining industry, allowing companies and operators to analyse the value chain and make better business decisions.
“What EKA does is enable these companies to capture data at every point of operations, from stock pile management, looking at the quality of those piles all the way to the logistics supply chain and distribution export management,” says Garg.
EKA Solutions has worked with some of the largest industry leaders in the world, including Tata Steel, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. Through this experience within the mining space, Garg and EKA have been able to see where data analytics and cloud software can better serve a mining operator.
In the mining world there are a number of areas for data capture, particularly when it comes to the number of machinery throughout an operation. A mining organisation can determine a lot about its business processes through its machine technology and EKA can enable this.
“How do you take the data from the technology to make operations more efficient?” he says.
EKA Solutions’ Commodity Analytics Cloud enables users to assess the data and make informed business decisions to increase overall operational efficiency – all while using the same existing technology.
Garg admits that he has seen first-hand the lagging mentality towards the adoption of technology in the industry, but is well poised to benefit from the shifting attitudes the industry is now seeing.
“The downturn affected everyone but now we are seeing a more open mind set, with more conversations on how to better utilise technologies to bring about better cost effectiveness,” says Garg.
With any form of technology and adoption of said technology, there is an unavoidable element of risk involved. Risk is almost inherent with technology and this is evident across the mining space, particularly when it comes to time frames, from proof of concept to physical evidential benefits.
Technologies such as SAP solutions have been used across the industry over the last few years, but Garg believes that where EKA stands apart is in how quickly the profits come to fold.
“The speed in which companies can achieve real profitable benefits at the end are unlike anything these companies within the industry have seen before,” he says.
Garg is also quick to admit that EKA is not the only company in the market offering a series of service tools designed to achieve similar results. But he feels that EKA has a key advantage in its specific knowledge of the mining space, allowing the company to offer industry commodity specific solutions.
“There are other companies that provide similar tools that digitise the value chain or the supply chain of a company, but these are much more technical, very rarely do these businesses fully understand their client’s core business,” he says.
In working with companies like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Garg believes this is indicative of the shifting nature of the industry, one in which big industry leaders are showing the large scale demand of an industry that is open minded to the adoption of business technology solutions.
“We are definitely in a new world with a more modern way of buying things. People don’t want to spend years implementing technology like SAP, they don’t have the [patience to live through the risk of implementation for two to three years, spending millions of dollars to discover whether there is any benefit at the end of it all,” says Garg.
The company has brought technology to market that does not require the wait for long sales cycles and buying cycles. EKA Solutions is the world’s first company to bring the digitisation of supply chain to the mining industry – focusing on the decision making aspect, and how data analytics can allow companies to make informed decisions and create a more efficient business in the process.
It is one thing to say a technology solution is good for the industry, it is another to show the proof is in the pudding. For EKA Solutions, being crowned the IT and Software Solution of the Year is a proof point of the company’s place in the industry.
Crunching the numbers, and further evidence of an industry more open to the adoption of technology solutions, EKA saw sale of its Commodity Analytics Cloud increase over 400 percent in 2016. It is clear that the mining space is ready to embrace new technologies and create a better, more technology savvy industry.
For EKA Solutions, that’s music to the ears of Garg.
“We want to see the wider adoption of technology solutions,” he says.
“Mining companies are behind in this regard, but they are getting there and we are here, ready and waiting to be able to provide them with the enterprise technology to suit a wide range of their needs.”