“I saw an opportunity to be a leader in providing integrated technological solutions for mining processes across the Americas.”
Would you feel comfortable tracking a US$500 million copper shipment by simply painting a colored stripe on each package? While your answer is probably no, most of Chile’s mining companies still use this outdated tracking technique to sort their shipments. Alfredo Gomez and Patricio Rojas are working to change this by providing mining companies with software to track the quality and location of their products—mostly copper cathodes and gold—from initial exploration to delivery at port. Based in Chile’s mining hub of Antofagasta, the company is well-positioned to take advantage of a local market that produces over one fourth of the world’s copper annually, and a global market estimated to reach US$143 billion in 2015. SCRUM has already secured contracts with several of Chile’s largest mines. As natives of Antofagasta, high school friends Alfredo and Patricio were drawn to careers in the mining industry. After graduating from the Universidad Catolica del Norte with a degree in Computer Engineering, Patricio spent 15 years working as a software developer for mining companies. Alfredo studied Commercial Engineering at the Universidad de las Américas before working as an auditor at Ernst & Young, and then as a consultant for Chile’s economic development agency, CORFO. In supporting Chilean companies to become internationally competitive, Alfredo was inspired to start his own company, NorteWeb, which developed websites for over 100 clients, many of whom were mining companies. In conversations with Patricio, a computer engineer, the idea of expanding beyond websites and into software development often arose. The two men decided to join forces in 2002 to develop software solutions for the mining industry and re-launched Alfredo’s company as Sistemas Norteweb.
After hiring a small team of five people, the entrepreneurs began working on borrowed computers in a windowless and bathroom- less basement office. Over the course of a couple years, they received several orders for custom-made software from mining companies in Antofagasta. In 2007, Alfredo and Patricio decided to shift away from creating made-to-order software and toward producing a few key and integrated mining software products marketable to all clients. They maintained ownership of Sistemas Norteweb, but founded SCRUM as a separate entity charged with creating a limited number of software products.
Today, SCRUM offers three main products: ANTARA,d MASKANA, and SIG. ANTARA allows companies to track and store basic information (such as date of production or client orders), quality metrics and the geolocation of their products via a single database. Clients are able to access all information via computers, mobile phones, iPads, or SCRUM-furnished handhelds. MASKANA helps SCRUM’s clients track information at an even earlier stage: that of initial exploration. Clients are able to record geo-readings and track exploratory missions from handheld devices before choosing to open ground on a new project. Seamless updates and data sharing during exploration, production, and delivery allow SCRUM’s clients to increase productivity, minimize errors, and improve employee safety. The company also manufactures and sells stickers used in its own tracking devices as well as in those of other companies. I