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Issue Date: February 2004

World's largest export coal terminal discovers SAP DMS

1 February 2004

Engineering Informatics (EI) is implementing an electronic SAP document management system (DMS) at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) in KwaZulu-Natal. RBCT is the largest coal export terminal in the world (exporting over 68 million tons of coal per annum). Coal is South Africa's second largest generator of foreign exchange, after the gold industry.
According to Rob Cells, business development manager at EI, "Our brief was to implement an electronic DMS across the whole of RBCT, RBCT had dispersed systems running totally independently, and consequently unable to interact with each other.
"RBCT already had elements of SAP in place, but they actually only discovered SAP's DMS functionality when they came across a magazine article covering one of EI's previous implementations of SAP DMS," says Cells. "We immediately set about analysing all of RBCT's business areas to find out how they deal with and process documentation - and then mapped out a plan to customise the SAP DMS accordingly."
"It is very difficult to get excited about paperwork, but everyone at RBCT is very excited about the impact of the DMS," says Bill Murphy, RBCT's technical services manager. "We were considered one of the most electronically sophisticated coal terminals in the world before the DMS implementation. With the way the system creates a centralised, authoritative pool of technical information that is easy to access, we are undoubtedly now at the forefront of the global industry."
The DMS project was commissioned after careful and intensive research by EI and was split into three distinct phases. In the first phase RBCT's Governance Documents (Policies and Procedures) were collated and installed onto the DMS system. This was followed by the creation of a digital library for all of RBCT's technical documentation. In the final phase of the project, all RBCT's technical drawings will be collated and installed digitally onto the system.
"Fortunately, EI has vast experience in the implementation of DMS' and they were able to understand our specific needs," says Murphy. "They understood our business language, the kinds of documents that we used and, most importantly, they were able to understand our business processes as well. The implementation would have been more complex if EI did not have that ability and knowledge. They also were able to cut through all the technical aspects of the system and tell us in plain, understandable language exactly what could or could not be achieved."
The DMS has had an immediate impact on RBCT's business. "The beauty of this system is that all our documents can be linked to our equipment," says Murphy. "All the drawings, specifications, procedures and technical reports can now be linked directly to their functional location. That means we are saving time and money whenever any technical procedures need to be performed. We are also thrilled with the electronic document approval system, which has cleared up a bottleneck that has been plaguing business for quite some time."
"EI have been excellent," Murphy concludes. "From the moment they got involved with us they have been efficient and professional to a level that can only be praised. I doubt that anyone else could have completed this project within the time frames required and, miraculously for any IT related project, under budget."
For more information on DMS contact Rob Cells, Engineering Informatics, 011 791 1028,,
About Engineering Informatics
EI is a specialist company, focused exclusively on the implementation of the SAP enterprise document and record management system (DMS) and related functionality.
EI is the premier SAP Africa Specialist Partner specifically certified to implement and maintain the SAP lifecycle data management (LCDM) functionality in South Africa. This means EI is recognised by SAP as having a significant track record in successfully implementing SAP LCDM solutions for industrial customers. EI has implemented more than 90% of all SAP DMS installations in South Africa during the past five years.

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