Fortescue Metals Group digitises its finance function

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Fortescue Metals Group digitises its finance function
Source: Fortescue Metals Group.

Embraces automation, robotics and AI.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) is adopting integrated planning systems and data analytics to uplift its finance function. 

Chief financial officer Ian Wells said his department is leaning on automation, analytics and connected planning and forecasting to deliver “better, faster and more accurate planning”. 

“By integrating the insights from actual performance into a dynamic, digital and data-driven planning process this increases the business's ability to influence outcomes,” Wells said during a presentation to media and investors on Wednesday.

The presentation showed the company is eliminating manual processes through the use of automation, robotics and AI.

FMG is also using data and real-time analytics to visualise and improve decision making. 

The program is pushing the finance function to become more strategic, driving innovation and identifying value-add activities to continuously improve the business.

“Finance functions have traditionally been focused on statutory obligations, compliance and backward-looking management reports,” Wells said.

“In that case, 80 percent of the effort is backwards looking and only 20 percent of the effort goes into forward-looking activities through the budgeting and planning process.

“At Fortescue, we're in the process of changing this mix and increasing our effort to be much more forward focused.”

Wells said the program will speed up planning processes and - in the integrated finance function - ensure the right balance of “empowerment, risk management and governance to drive the absolute best commercial outcomes across the business.”

Autonomous fleet

Elsewhere, FMG chief operating officer Greg Lilleyman provided an update on the company’s fleet of autonomous vehicles.

In October FMG completed the Chichester hub autonomous haulage project which expanded its autonomous haulage fleet to a total of 183 trucks operating across its Solomon and Chichester mining hubs.

Lilleyman said the autonomous haulage fleet and introduction of a predictive maintenance platform had increased weekly available truck time by over 20 percent in the past two years.

“Our fleet operates at greater availability but it's also being put to work, resulting in higher productivity, which reduces our fleet requirements and therefore capital costs,” Lilleyman said.

“Any operation can buy an autonomous fleet, but it's the management and the smart deployment of the fleet in terms of the pit layout, the road networks and the integration with other mobile assets which drives a deep change in productivity.”

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