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Leading asset management Editorial: Tim Hands Production: Chris Bolderstone
Since its founding back in South Africa in the 90â€™s, Pragma has grown into a global leading asset management service provider, with more than 360 staff spread over four continents. The company has consistently invested in its internal leadership and employee development, seeing it awarded the Deloitte Best Company to Work For award for four years in South Africa, and has established relationships with a vast array of clients, each of whom have benefited from their partnership with Pragma.
It was shortly after opening its doors, nearly two decades ago, that Pragma came to realise that offering solely asset maintenance could not ensure that its many clients would receive a return on their assets. As a result, the company developed a fully-fledged asset management program, one informed by an asset management methodology supported by the highest levels of business processes, practices and standards. Pragma has worked tirelessly to develop numerous products and services which are both unique, and highly successful, within the market â€“ such products as the On Key Enterprise Asset Management system, Asset Care and Service Centres, Asset Management Improvement Plan (AMIP) and Pragma Academy. The organisation also holds an important role in the development of the new ISO 55000 standard for
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asset management, which sees Pragma heading up its South African delegation. A combination of all of these aspects of its innovation and ingenuity has meant that the last decade in particular has allowed the organisation to go from strength to strength across all of its services. In the last four years, to illustrate this, turnover for Pragma has increased by more than 100%, and will allow the company to build on what is an already consolidated presence in Africa and Brazil, engaging with its partner in China to take The Pragma Way into the Chinese market. In 2006, the retail arm of Shell, globally known as one of the five major national suppliers of petroleum products, outsourced the maintenance of all their service stations to Pragma Africa. Shell supplies fuel and convenience products through a
vast network of retail and commercial sites across South Africa, conducting constant daily operations through more than 40,000 assets. A key aspect of Pragma’s intervention was the implementation of its facilities management contract (FMC), through setting up a central office in Cape Town and performing an Asset Identification and Verification (AIV) on all sites, with the organisation deploying eight field engineers regionally. Soenke Kleymann, Shell Maintenance Excellence Manager, described his role in the success of the partnership: “My role means that I am responsible for the maintenance of around 6,000 sites, in 17 markets. As Shell Retail we are a sales and marketing organisation, which means that the customer is our primary focus. All our effort must go toward dealing with the customer and ensuring that the customer returns
to our sites in order to fill up their car again and again. As a consequence, any activity that is not directly linked to the customer has been outsourced to a company who can take even better care of it than us. So, maintenance is now outsourced to ensure that all of our sites continue to meet the same high standards that we set, as we have learned that there is no way we can keep control of every aspect of the business.” There are innumerable benefits to this type of outsourcing operation, not least the introduction of single-point responsibility for all maintenance work, from beginning to end, alongside standardised work planning and control processes across all sites. As a result of Pragma’s involvement a number of key business processes have been implemented – the likes of Information, Contractor
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and Performance Management, as well as Work Planning and Control, all came to be a part of the Shell retail way. As Shell Global FMC Manager, Merilee Karr is charged with looking after the 12,000 retail sites that Shell owns globally. “As we have moved through our partnership journey, and gone through what we call ‘new ways of working’, we’ve managed to actually step back which means that we are now able to have Shell clearly define what it is that we need to achieve, and hold our partners accountable for that delivery. Our core business is not maintenance, and it is for this reason that we have partnered with companies like Pragma, in order to use their expertise to deliver the maintenance on our behalf.” Pragma CEO, Adriaan Scheeres, recently appeared as one of the prominent speakers at this year’s Southern African Asset Management Association (SAAMA) Conference, held at the CTICC in Cape Town. Central among the talking points was the question of ‘big data’ in asset management, and why the highest-level of executives in senior management needed to in on the revolution. “’Big data’ refers to a relatively new universe of data being created by web interactions, social media, mobile devices, RFID tags, web
Pragma logs, smart meters, weather sensors, and virtually anything that generates an electrical pulse,” explained Scheeres, and it is a phenomenon that affects us all – it is shaping the conversations we have about our world and turning speculation into informed discourse. It can be crucial to businesses too, who use it to make more informed predictions about who will buy their products and how to develop better, more appropriately targeted offers to their customers. “Increasingly, the failure to harness ‘big data’ will be a competitive disadvantage for many businesses”, explains Scheeres. “Whoever explores it more deeply and aggressively first will have a much greater insight into its commercial, social, and scientific potential and will be able to make decisions that change the course of our lives.” Ultimately, this will allow for less time to be spent on data processing and report generation, and a greater focus on problem solving and consistently improving how we work. Pragma’s dedicated team has the ability to assist asset managers to achieve this goal, by combining custom reports and interfacing tools on behalf of clients and amassing
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