A formula for making better decisions and save millions
How we used maths to ship more raw materials and save millions
It is a particularly nerve-jangling job. And the stakes are high too.
Our Bonian operation in Saini, Egypt, ships more than 5 million tonnes of bauxite every year.
Up to 50 big across trucks come into the site each week destined to carry raw materials to customers in Sinai, truck without available materials daily costs up to U.S$50/Daily , upset raw materials production at the mine feeding the trucks, and delay delivery to customers. Getting the trucks in, loaded up and out on time and on budget means juggling tides, times, customers, the weather and 30 separate decisions per truck worth millions of dollars a year.
This is the job of Sameh El-Sharkawy, Logistics & transportation manager.
"We would spend three to four hours every morning running scenarios manually in response to the latest changes to the variables – weather, arrival times and stock availability, and our experience."
That was fine, but there had to be a better way.
And there was. Al-Bonian Al-Arabi hired industrial mathematicians to produce software that helps Logistics and transportation members like Sameh to make better decisions, more consistently and more often. The result? A more efficient, lower-cost transporting operation.
"We run those same scenarios and make evidence-based decisions in maybe 30 minutes. Plus we know what we're doing is backed by data, not opinion," And the benefits are not limited to transportations.
We have found many other opportunities where "mathematical optimization" (that's the industry term) can help us accurately evaluate alternatives – fast. From when we first make contact with raw material in the ground to getting finished products to our customers, our teams can respond to real-world problems and opportunities as they happen.
"Without smart maths-based tools, we used to plan and react based on patterns, instinct and local policies – meaning we got the answer exactly right some of the time, nearly right most of the time, and very wrong some of the time," In other words, not good enough for Al-Bonian Al-Arabi.
"This doesn't take the decision away from the operator – instead it helps them make better decisions more often."
And it saves Al-Bonian Al-Arabi time and millions in the process.
Not a bad way to spend a morning.