How Africa’s largest mobile telecom modernized its supply chain

September 30, 2021 | 3 minute read
Ana Galindo
Product Marketing Manager
Text Size 100%:

MTN Group is the world’s seventh largest mobile telecom operator and the leading internet service provider in Africa and the Middle East. Serving nearly 280 million subscribers in 21 countries, the $15 billion company provides essential communications services to countries in clear need of modernization. As Arun Kumar, MTN’s general manager, put it: “We’re proud to be part of helping every African and Middle Eastern nation adopt the latest in Internet and mobile technologies.”

To efficiently source products and services from more than 15,000 vendors around the world, MTN wanted a modern supply chain management (SCM) solution that could automate and digitize its supply chain processes on a single platform. “Within our supply chain operation, we have cross-functional teams spread over multiple countries,” Kumar says. “As a result, our sourcing transaction cycle times need to be very short. We needed to have a robust platform that would allow us to do that while giving us complete visibility into all of our sourcing activities.”

MTN needed to move quickly to stay ahead of fast-moving competitors. The company was slowed by limited supply chain visibility, persistent business delays and errors, and escalating costs stemming from entrenched manual business systems. It often took days to inform partners and regulators of urgent trade issues. Managers had trouble locating contracts, tracking supplier performance, and understanding the flow of materials to locations across the continent.

Taming complexity

The goal for MTN was to drive complexity out of every part of its supply chain, including all activities related to contract management, shipment tracking, lead times, trade compliance, and much more. MTN’s supply chain is huge: Every year it executes more than 3,200 contracts and runs 5,000 sourcing events. What’s more, it purchases 80-90% of its products and services from international suppliers in China, U.S., and Europe.

When the pandemic hit, it snarled global trade patterns and strained many of MTN’s supplier relationships. As a result, it exposed many of the deficiencies of MTN’s legacy SCM systems. To navigate the disruptions and continue to coordinate trade decisions with its global partners, the company needed up-to-the-minute visibility into ongoing product shortages, production delays, and port closures.

MTN needed to move fast, so it accelerated deployment of key Oracle Fusion Cloud SCM applications, including procurement contracts, sourcing, supplier management, demand planning, and global trade management. Oracle jumped into action, helping MTN go live with Oracle Cloud SCM just before the worst of the pandemic hit. Because it could centrally implement Oracle Cloud SCM across multiple countries, MTN didn’t need to travel to any of its locations, avoiding severe travel restrictions that were in place across many countries.

Spiking traffic

Even as trade lanes continued to close and container ships sat idle for months through the summer, MTN’s customer traffic spiked by nearly 70%. This placed an unprecedented strain on the company service infrastructure, including its mobile networks, cell towers, and service teams. MTN needed to build out its capacity quickly to maintain the quality of service its customers had come to expect.

“Oracle Fusion Cloud SCM allowed us to streamline the supply chain process faster,” Kumar recalls. “It allowed us to run sourcing transactions faster and shorten our contracting cycle while maintaining compliance with local regulations.” With the new cloud solutions, MTN shaved 33 days off sourcing cycles and gained comprehensive visibility across its global supplier base.

The company also simplified supplier onboarding, easily adding 1,200 new suppliers and improving the overall resilience of its supply chain. “We have been able to drive better performance from our suppliers, better compliance within our operations, and better visibility into freight costs and inventory costs,” Kumar says.

Learn more

To learn more about MTN’s digital transformation journey, listen to Arun Kumar, General Manager of SCM, talk about how MTN manages their global supply chains in Africa and the Middle East with Oracle Fusion Cloud SCM. Also, watch a recent talk about MTN’s resilience in a post-pandemic world.

Ana Galindo

Product Marketing Manager

Previous Post

How supply chain disruptions are ruining our lives, and what you can do about it

Terri Hiskey | 6 min read

Next Post

How analytics turns procurement into a strategic advantage

Tom Anthony | 4 min read