Integrated Order and GIS
System for SASOL
SASOL Nitro, a division of SASOL responsible for the manufacturing and distributing of explosives
as well as fertilizer, had the need for better business intelligence within the organization to be
able to do better strategic planning. For example it needed to be easier to make decisions such
as where to deploy additional marketers and market managers, where to create or decommission
product stockpiles and warehouses and where to create additional manufacturing capability.
Based on previous experience with working with SiQ, SASOL Nitro requested SiQ to assist with
What was needed was to link the company sales data, as well as other data such as warehouse
locations and marketer areas, to physical spatial locations so that modelling and analysis of the
data could be done on a tabular and spatial level. It was also evident that this data will have to
be maintained as dynamically as possible, with the least effort possible.
The best way to achieve this was to create a system which could be maintained in the course of
duty of the personnel of the company, without too much additional effort, and while providing
much added benefit to the user. It was thus decided to develop and integrate a new order and
GIS customer mapping system into the SASOL operations. This created a multitude of benefits to
the personnel responsible for the updating of the data, such as the provision of reports on a near
real time basis and the complete replacement of a paper based system with a computer based
system. Personnel no longer had to telephone the head-office for day to day customer information
as it was available at their fingertips.
SiQ were tasked with the complete development cycle of the project, including determining the
business requirement, user requirement, drafting a user requirement specification and developing
and testing the system. SiQ also performed all modelling and analysis on the data gathered
with this system and produced a multitude of maps that was used by management as well as by
individual marketers in the company.
The project was done in a phased approach with development and distribution of the electronic
order and GIS mapping on the client side as the first phase. Later phases included enhancements
to the system as well as the integration of the dataflow to and from the current SASOL legacy
(e.g. SAP) systems.
The mapping software is based on the ESRI ArcGIS Engine components and includes the functionality
to select farm portions on the Surveyor General cadastral farm layer and assign these to
specific SASOL farmers.
The details for these farmers (e.g. Postal address, VAT number etc) are also captured and maintained
by the agents in the field as part of the order process and the client database (including
GIS data) is thus being maintained and updated on a continuous basis.
Various offline analysis could be done later on the spatial data that was obtained in this manner,
e.g. to determine the sale distribution etc.
The system simplified the process of compiling an order for a farmer for the sale of fertilizer and
assures that a quality order was being sent to the head office by means of the following:
- Automatic calculation of certain fields, e.g. product price based on spatial conformities
- Warnings and errors where necessary
- Limited options to choose from for certain fields
- Leads user through order process (wizard based)
Due to security and bandwidth constraints, the data was synchronised with a centralized server
via the internet and communication costs for the field agents were thus kept to a minimum. The
centralized server also served as a mid-point between the company secured servers and the various
individual agent computers in the field.
The Agent had the ability to generate reports that enabled him to review his clients, the sales for
specific periods etc.
As part of this project, SiQ was also appointed to do the helpdesk support. This involves first,
second and third line support and a dedicated support division was established in SiQ.
Future phases that were being investigated included inter-alia the integration of a fertilizer recommendation application as well as automated routing capability for the transport companies.
Unfortunately after many years of operation the system was decommissioned when the competition
commission required SASOL to adopt a different sales model.
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purposes are proprietary to the SASOL Group of Companies. All rights are reserved and any unauthorized
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