In many countries we experience a strong variation of daily volume due to demand from the market. This can lead to variations up to 100% within a week, with an obvious cost impact as a result.
In Kenya we have designed customer specific incentives in order to drive demand on slow days. After an intense testing period, we are now capable to move up to 23% of volume to slow days. As a matter of fact, the customer incentives have also led to an overall volume and margin increase.
The approach is 100% data driven allowing for an automated weekly update of the customer incentives. We are testing further data driven ideas ideas that will give us direct business impact.
In cement factories, the several interlinked production steps are monitored by automated systems. They provide the production team with a large set of data that is then used to derive . required actions for an efficient operation. Up to now, data from different monitoring systems has been collected and processed manually. This made collaboration and exchange very difficult and led to a bias towards experience-driven decisions rather than concise data analysis. Another hurdle: each plant used different systems, and action management tools making direct comparisons of factories impossible.
PACT supports the plant teams to take better, data-based and more forward-thinking decisions, consistently achieve targets and spend less time in meetings and data crunching. This allows the teams to focus more on optimizing the processes and adapting in a flexible way to requirements from the markets.
PACT is the Holcim platform that combines all aspects of business with production, maintenance, quality, environment as well as H&S data from plants worldwide. This data is used for data-based decision making, benchmarking, consistent action tracking and as basis for machine learning applications that scale globally, such as CemQ.
In a country such as Kenya, more than 1’000 customers are placing orders on average several times per week. Traditionally, these orders are placed through phone calls, text messages or in-person with sales personnel. Any follow-up regarding their orders requires phone contact with the customer services department.
Smartphone penetration in emerging markets is increasing dramatically. The solution is a smartphone application allowing customers to communicate with Holcim.
Customers can now see product prices, place orders directly in the app and a seamless integration with our dispatching systems allows for a real time follow-up of orders, payments, invoices, rebates and trading balance.
In Uganda, B2C end-consumers buy cement products to start private construction projects (e.g. building family houses). However, often the necessary funds for financing such projects are not easily accessible. That’s why Holcim Startup MAQER together with Hima Cement kicked off a startup project with Xente, who offer an e-commerce platform with a pay-later option during the checkout.
This allows for a dual-purpose pilot project: Firstly, Holcim Startup MAQER is able to test the demand for Holcim products in an online environment. Secondly, a new consumer segment is addressed by enabling people to buy products on credit through an easy low-bureaucracy application process.
Many of our customers in emerging markets are small enterprises. Due to the size and maturity, many experience a reduced growth due to working capital restrictions. In many cases, traditional banks are not able or willing to provide working capital credit.
Fintechs have emerged in these countries, specializing in assessing credit risks in alternative ways. Holcim is partnering with these fintechs, such as Lidya in Nigeria, to provide additional working capital to our customers, which of course has a positive impact on our sales revenues as well !!
Pilots have been initiated with promising results. Further fine tuning is required to ensure a smooth customer enrollment process.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies face the challenge to ensure the wellbeing of their employees, who work from home or have no access to digital solutions at all in the production lines. Independent from the crisis, many HR departments face the challenge that they need to handle repetitive issues, as e.g. employee questions regarding holidays or home office regulations. This offers great potential for an AI-powered HR assistant to engage with employees digitally and answer questions automatically.
That’s why Holcim Startup MAQER has kicked off a project with Leena.Ai, who offers an AI-powered virtual assistant that provides instant responses to employee queries and allows to communicate with users digitally. At the beginning of March when the Covid-19 outbreak had just started, Leena.Ai, Holcim México and Holcim Startup MAQER reacted quickly and set up a chatbot solution for employees working from home only within a few days. As a result, superior employee experience can be offered, while for the first time in the history of Holcim blue-collar employees can access HR services and communications from their home. Holcim has now rolled out Leena AI’s solution within 3 continents, from Latin America to Africa and Europe.