Case Study

Asset Tracking Into The African Jungle With Real-Time Visibility

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NOTE: LXE’s parent company, EMS Technologies, was acquired by Honeywell in August 2011.

Increasing global demand for mineral resources has sent many mining operations further into Africa to access its rich mineral deposits. These deposits, some of which are yet to be discovered, are by definition in the least accessible, most inhospitable, and most dangerous areas of the continent. This case study examines such an operation in the most remote jungle area of Gabon, on Africa’s western coast.

Situation Overview

How do you handle order changes up to the last minute, in a place where one can hardly purchase milk and bread?

The mining exploration process requires core samples to be extracted from depths that are only accessible with expensive drilling equipment. Diamond drill bits, shafts, cutting oil, fuels, and pumps are all rapidly consumed in places where one can hardly purchase milk and bread.

The challenge for Supply and Logistics, a South African based supply company, is to keep a continuous stream of product flowing from Johannesburg to over 40 drill sites across Africa. The key to a continuous flow of product is a continuous flow of real-time information:

  • Customers place urgent orders and need real-time feedback on the order progress.
  • Component suppliers are starved for information on the performance of their products and their consumption rate in order to implement true demand planning.
  • Transportation partners need to perform resource planning. Advance notice of shipping volumes and destinations are all standard requirements, but historically, are almost impossible to provide.

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