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Making concrete decisions: Stevenson Group CEO Mark Franklin

Divina Paredes | May 2, 2014
Franklin shares insights from his varied experience as executive of companies on the supply and demand side of business and IT to lead the mining, concrete, engineering and agriculture group

If Andries comes to see me from an IT perspective we need to do this, I say, how you are going to get through the next 12 months without doing it? Or what is the business benefit or risk that a solution will address right now? So the IT plan, what you are allowed to do, will be driven by the strategy for the company. Stevenson is changing all the time and IT needs to adopt to accommodate constant change

The biggest discussion we are always having at the moment is about cloud services. So the conversations we have got now is what do we need to keep in-house, or what someone else should be doing. I am not talking about this because I want to outsource everything. I want to say, 'What is the best way of doing this?'

The business technology investments that made a difference to the group

Mark Franklin: From the head office, it was about how do we make sure we have information from the different companies or different unites in a central environment so we can make decisions? We have been spending time and effort on things like a dashboard (business intelligence) to measure performance, being able to get information automatically and putting that into a dashboard. It is not just a dashboard, but what is behind that, how can managers go in and trawl (drill down) for information about where trends are occurring? Changes are driven through improved BI.

One part of the investment is information sharing and being able to manage businesses better and with more information.

The other side of it is we have been investing in pure on the ground application stuff that makes businesses more productive. We have new weighbridge software (hybrid cloud) at the quarries so you get better information (internal and to customers) and more control over what trucks are coming in, how many people you need, what are production requirements?

In our concrete plants, we invested in systems for better customer information and relationship, and Lync and call recording.

We have got lots more plants in our mining areas. How do we make sure we manage those assets? The condition of a monitoring plant, when do they need servicing, when do they need maintenance? Because if a plant goes down, it affects our productivity. How can IT help to improve asset management, from the "cradle to the grave"?

That is where we are spending money. Every company has a lot of legacy systems. What we need to do in any company is have a look at legacy systems and make sure from the company's perspective — we have quarries, big concrete plants or mining operations — the people are working better.


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