Axian is a pan-African group that operates in five sectors with high growth potential, namely real estate, telecoms, finance, energy and open innovation and FinTech. Philippe Prodhomme, Group CFO, Axian Group, explains to Intelligent CIO Africa why the company recently implemented Oxalys’ digital purchasing solution to guarantee the integrity of the supply process and a high level of traceability throughout the entire process. process. By Manda Banda.
Pan-African conglomerate, Axian Group is present in five sectors with strong growth potential, namely real estate, telecoms, finance, energy and open innovation and FinTech.
Based in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the Axian Group is present in six countries in continental Africa and the Indian Ocean, and acts in favor of social and economic growth in all the markets where the group is present.
The group’s 5,000 dedicated employees ensure that its brands, all dedicated to five critical industries, have a lasting and positive impact on the daily lives of millions of Africans. Today, the Axian Group is also a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact and is committed to making its 10 principles an integral part of the present and future functioning of the group.
Seeking to consolidate its growth, having invested more than US $ 1.1 billion over the past decade, the company uses disparate IT systems to manage its operations across Africa.
As a result, the Axian group planned to implement the Oxalys digital procurement solution in the company’s operations and subsidiaries in order to consolidate its procurement processes.
Philippe Prodhomme, Chief Financial Officer of the Axian group, specifies that the company already uses several ERPs in its subsidiaries, which have purchasing functions, but remain limited and do not: ensure the integrity of the purchasing process, ensure a high level of traceability throughout the process, dematerialize flows, optimize validation processes and provide suppliers with a service platform to better communicate with them and ensure better control of workflows. “We quickly chose to centralize the management of our procurement processes in Oxalys while developing an interface with all of our ERP systems to have greater visibility,” he said. “We are experiencing strong growth in our activity in Africa in strategic sectors such as telecoms and energy, which require us to take up strategic challenges in terms of the supply chain, in particular by guaranteeing the responsiveness and integrity of the supply chain. ‘procurement, from sourcing to payment of supplier invoices. The idea with the Oxalys digital purchasing solution is also to ensure the autonomy of suppliers from end to end and to have a supplier database common to all the subsidiaries in order to have a common repository.
To face these challenges, we decided in mid-2017 to launch a request for information (RFI) to identify potential suppliers capable of enabling the company to improve the maturity of the purchasing process.
The Oxalys Achats solution helps organizations, large or small, to digitize all of their spending and procurement processes.
After looking for a suitable digital procurement solution, the Axian Group turned to Oxalys.
According to Prodhomme in RFI, the company identified the potential offered by purchasing solutions and one in particular caught the team’s attention: Oxalys, which stood out for its maturity and very convincing references. “We saw that we could have a much wider functional coverage than what we imagined to manage large purchases (which could reach up to 50 million euros for one of our telecoms operations) and have a real means of communication with suppliers, ”he said. noted. “We have decided to take a leap forward in innovation and equip ourselves with a complete suite that meets our challenges and more in the future.
Given the size of the Axian Group’s operations with branches in Madagascar, Senegal and Togo, the IT teams had to work with the Oxalys team of consultants before the project was deployed.
According to Prodhomme, the Oxalys team of consultants organized workshops with the Axian teams to precisely define the needs. “The solution has been deployed in the Towerco subsidiary in Madagascar (TOM) of the group, leader of tour companies in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean. The project was carried by the business units and the financial IS project manager with great determination and involvement, which enabled the successful deployment of the pilot and the other subsidiaries, ”he added.
He explained that currently six companies and 100 users (government officials, buyers, accountants and department heads) are already using the solution through a shared service center. “The project went well and the collaboration with Oxalys was judged ‘excellent’ by the teams, they encountered internal obstacles, a classic phase in any innovative project. We had to deal with internal reluctance due to fear of change and a lack of understanding of the benefits of a dedicated digital procurement solution, ”he said.
Following the implementation, users are now very satisfied with the solution and the company is now entering phase two of the deployment with information and training on the benefits of the solution to involve the teams. “Ultimately, we will have more than 200 users and the extension to Telma and Jovena, the two largest subsidiaries of the Axian group,” he said.
The story of Axian, the pan-African group, is above all the story of a French family of Indian origin, born on Île Rouge, who in the 1930s created a trading company which, a century later, has become an international group established in five sectors with high potential: telecoms with its emblematic brand Telma, energy with its hundred service stations in Madagascar, real estate, banking ( notably mobile banking) and FinTech and open innovation. “We are developing our activities in Africa because they create growth and development there, as they did in Madagascar. We are helping to ensure the technological and financial inclusion of residents by intervening in strategic sectors such as telecommunications or energy, ”he declared.
The company employs 5,000 people, achieves a turnover of more than one billion dollars through 25 subsidiaries and is present in Madagascar, Tanzania, Senegal, Togo, France (Réunion and Mayotte), Comoros and is also developing in English-speaking Africa.
The Oxalys digital purchasing solutions project started at the beginning of April 2018 and the deployment took place over a period of five months.
“We did not work with a certified solution provider but directly with Oxalys consultants in connection with the business units,” he explains. “A project management assistant also accompanies us in the production of the training guide and the interface between Oxalys with all our ERP and information systems. We have also set up a shared service center to facilitate the handling of the various services of the group.
Prodhomme explained that jointly piloting the interface between Oxalys and the existing ERP systems of all the different subsidiaries and the harmonization of the group’s information system with a common ERP turned out to be one of the challenges encountered by the company. IT team during the implementation of the digital procurement solution Oxalys. .
That said, Prodhomme was pleased that after implementation, paper was removed, procurement requests and invoices are automatically reconciled and the system provides end-to-end paperless processing of supplier invoices. “We have made our supply flows more reliable and increased in productivity and transparency thanks to the excellent traceability and automation offered by the Oxalys solution. Tenders are also more transparent thanks to the sourcing platform designed to guarantee end-to-end supplier autonomy, ”he said. “We have made significant changes to our practices in the Purchasing and Accounting functions, with the ultimate goal of having an aligned and global Finance / Purchasing version.
Prodhomme declared that one of the advantages of the Oxalys software is the great ability to adapt the configuration to the specific needs of the Axian group. “Some administrator profiles have been trained in the back office. As the solution is very intuitive, only a few hours of training were required for the end users.
Following the implementation of the digital procurement solution Oxalys, the Axian Group is preparing to implement the next stage of this project in many different subsidiaries.
“We are entering phase two of the deployment with information and training on the benefits of the solution to involve the teams. Ultimately, we will have over 200 users in all branches, ”he said. “Other developments are planned, such as the introduction of mobility with the possibility of placing orders and approvals on mobile terminals on construction sites, the introduction of more in-depth reporting, of a single database , advanced supplier scoring and extension to Telma and Jovena, the two largest subsidiaries of the group.
Anne-Emmanuelle Grené, Director of Oxalys South Africa, said: “Our relationship with our customers does not end with the deployment of any of our solutions. We will continue to support Axian over the long term as their sourcing processes grow and strengthen. “
Grené specifies that each year, Oxalys devotes 25% of its budget to research and development (R&D). “Axian, like all of our customers, benefits from the latest technological developments and best business practices that include standard features of Oxalys software,” she said.
Although the project went according to plan, the Oxalys consulting team encountered difficulties with the project during deployment. “The great diversity of activities within the group and therefore the typology of the categories of expenditure covered by the various branches of the Axian group was a challenge. In addition, interfacing with different ERP systems with Axian Group has forced us to adapt to various contexts and issues, ”she said.
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