For one of the world’s oldest and largest mining companies, multiple disparate systems and processes were causing inefficiencies in how it processed and managed travel and expense claims, leading to a lack of visibility over real-time travel-related costs, initiating a global rethink of how it managed this substantial part of its annual costs.
Anglo American is a global mining company that was founded in Johannesburg in 1917 and is the world’s largest producer of platinum. The company is also a major producer of diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore, and metallurgical and thermal coal. Anglo American employs 69,000 people across its operations in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North and South America.
Lindie Posthumus, Global Travel and Expense Superintendent at Anglo American, says travel is a very large expense for the company.
“With nearly 20,000 travellers per annum, effective travel and expense management was overly challenging with siloed and still overwhelmingly manual processes,” she said.
“A decision was made within our finance department to standardise our travel and expense management processes to ease compliance. We started a process in 2014 and chose SAP Concur as our global travel and expense management partner.”
SAP Concur is a global cloud-based travel and expense management platform for businesses that enforces corporate and regulatory compliance and realises significant cost-optimisation opportunities. The platform is designed to simplify employee spend and ensure compliance, transparency and visibility into employee spend.
Posthumus says Anglo American’s strategy of becoming the world’s most valued mining company in the eyes of stakeholders over the next few years has intensified the need for greater digitisation and automation of many of the company’s core and non-core business processes, including expense management.
“Standardisation was high on the list of priorities for us,” she said.
“Previously, with each department and region running their own processes, auditing was tricky as auditors had to source data from multiple places. This caused complications with compliance, VAT reclamation and consolidated spend management.”
Since first piloting SAP Concur in the Asia- Pacific region, Posthumus and her team have implemented the platform in 11 countries.
“We are also rolling out to our De Beers entities, where we have already gone live in Canada and now plan to do the same for our UK operations.,” said Posthumus, who added that having a single travel management partner has made a big difference.
“Our close partnership with SAP Concur and its global footprint ensures we have all the support and assistance we need as we roll out the solution to our operations across the globe,” said Posthumus.
“All the SAP Concur data is integrated with our core reporting tool, each regional CFO can see granular and real-time data over the current state of travel and employee-related expenses, helping us better plan cash flow and ensuring optimal allocation of internal resources. Ultimately, the solution has given us the freedom to focus on our core business of mining without compromising our compliance or profitability.”
According to Angelique Montalto, Regional Sales Director at SAP Concur, businesses today need access to a granular view over every aspect of the business that affects its profitability, cash flow and compliance.
“Modern organisations, whether small or large, are complex by nature and manual or semi-automated tasks quickly create bottlenecks and reduce decision-making capacity,” said Montalto.
“Spend management tools such as SAP Concur not only automate manual processes but utilise the power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to drive the efficiency of lodging, processing and analysing employee spend.
“Through our well-established ecosystem of partners, the platform also enables organisations to easily integrate new disruptor services such as Uber, which has become the world’s number one claimed expense. This helps us future-proof our customers’ travel and expense claim management investment by ensuring they always have access to the latest tools, technologies and global best practises.”
Posthumus added: “Our close partnership with SAP Concur and its global footprint ensures we have all the support and assistance we need as we roll out the solution to our operations across the globe. Our strategic partnership enables us to work closely together to optimise Anglo American’s travel and expense capabilities across the globe. By working closely together, we also ensure that all functions of SAP Concur are fully utilised, improving the impact on the business and maximising Anglo American’s investment with us.”
This article first appeared in Intelligent CIO.