RVR banks on Shs10b system to fast-track rail operations
Posted Monday, March 18 2013 at 02:00
The system will omit the risk of duplication, mistakes and inconsistency in data.
Operations along the Uganda-Kenya railway are likely to improve, thanks to the latest investment in technology.
The $4 million (Shs10.4 billon) SAP management system— an integrated enterprise resource planner in which someone can effectively manage finances, materials, manufacturing and machines— has been commissioned by Rift Valley Railways (RVR) the consortium that manages the Uganda-Kenya railway.
Launching the management tool, RVR CEO, Mr Darlan David, said the installation of SAP is one of the various projects undertaken by the company with the aim of improving deliveries to both its external and internal customers. “To RVR, this is a powerful tool which integrates multiple business processes and functions into a comprehensive system which will omit the risk of duplication, mistakes and inconsistency in data,” Mr Darlan said, adding:
“To our customers and suppliers, SAP enables us become more efficient is our service to you. The system will monitor sales opportunities, marketing opportunities and prospects which may become actual orders for the benefit of the organisation.”
However, the launch of this multi-billion management tool comes at such a time when the company continues to be criticised for failing to revamp railway transport operations.
Today, the Uganda-Kenya line is in a poor state characterised by worn-out culverts, wagons and rail sleepers in several areas, a matter that many believe needs much more attention than upgrading a management system.
Railway stakeholders, mainly traders, are particularly dissatisfied with how RVR is handling the repairing of the over a century old Uganda-Kenya railway, which if functioning at optimum capacity would be the perfect alternative to road for transporting goods between Kampala and the Mombasa port.
Mr Everest Kayondo, the chairman of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), told the Daily Monitor that while a new management system is good, there are more urgent matters that RVR must address. “The ongoing repairs are yet to have an impact on the line. The railway is still in a bad shape. I urge the government [to ensure the quick restoration] of the railway.”
Between 2011 and 2012, RVR secured $287 million to overhaul the line. RVR said the money was meant to facilitate railway refurbishments from Mombasa to Kampala.
A commuter train was launched early last year, and operated for less than a month before winding up. Information from the ministries; transport and privatisation shows that the temporary passenger license was revoked after RVR failed to secure an insurance license for passengers.