Track’em CEO Kashif Saleem featured in the Mining Journal
Saleem Technologies CEO, Kashif Saleem was featured in the Mining Journal, the world’s leading weekly mining business newspaper and e-news site. The article by Richard Roberts appeared on page 10 of the newspaper on November 15th 2013.
No time to waste
Richard Roberts, 6 November 2013
The Cloudbreak iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
KASHIF Saleem had learnt only basic English and was a typically cash-strapped student when he headed to Australia from Pakistan in 1998 with dreams of building a life and a career as a self-made entrepreneur. Fast forward to 2013 and his client list includes WorleyParsons, Downer Group, United Group, Fortescue Metals and Leighton, among others. Saleem says he hasn’t “made it” yet.
But he may not be too far off that mark, with the business that he founded in 2006, Saleem Technologies, having grown tenfold since 2011 and now making significant headway in resources and construction markets in Australia and the Middle East.
Unlike during the GFC period, when many mining and oil and gas service businesses hit a wall and Saleem went back to square one (literally it was him in an empty office), the current downturn is not halting the company’s momentum. In fact, his mantra of “saving time and money by giving greater control over their resources” is gaining traction and Saleem Technologies is gaining new customers.
“I think the biggest trend at the moment is that everyone wants to save money, and our product helps save money and time. I know that’s very clichéd – everyone says we save money and time,” Saleem told HighGrade.net.
“But everyone does want to know about, and wants to have control over, their resources, and this is what our software provides.
“We are all about providing them with control and information and knowledge about their resources, so whether it’s people, or materials, or their work, what task they’ve done, all these things can be managed and controlled using our product suite.”
The 15-year period after 1998 is going to provide a basis for one of those inspirational business success stories one day.
The son of a successful businessman in Pakistan, Saleem had an ambition to make his own way away from the comfortable trappings of home. His sister had gone to the US and it might have been easier for him to follow, but he thought he liked the look of the weather, culture and people to the south in Western Australia. A Perth university promoting places for foreign students got his attention in Pakistan, but he had to improve his English – developed by that stage through watching mainly American TV movies and news with sub-titles. When he got to Australia he found the difference in accent meant he virtually had to start learning the language again.
But he completed the business information management systems course at Edith Cowan University, adding to his earlier IT studies. He worked in IT, as a programmer and then IT manager before getting some deep insights into the issues and challenges associated with major resource construction project management with Downer on FMG’s Cloudbreak iron ore venture.
Saleem invented and patented Track’em, a project resource tracking system that combines GPS satellite tracing, electronic barcode identification, and web-based reporting. The system can also work without a network, in batch mode, storing information on mobile computers, and can be fully integrated with engineering 3D modelling packages.
If the “saving time and money” line sounds like a cliché, it isn’t, and in an era when most large companies won’t touch minnows like Saleem Technologies with any length of barge pole (another unfortunate cliché), it doesn’t make much sense that they would allow an exception through the barrier without a good reason.
The reason is simple enough: very smart technology, which is slowly and expensively being patented around the world, and the support of an absolutely driven and local CEO, and his expanding team.
Saleem has added Time’em, a job time and attendance tracking system; Store’em, for stores, tools and PPE management; and Transport’em, his supply chain and logistics system. More products are in the development pipeline. He’s signed significant supply deals in South Africa and the Middle East, and has his sights on the Americas. But at the moment, most of the company’s work is in mining and hydrocarbons in Western Australia.
“Our main selling points are the flexibility of the system and the support we provide for our clients, which for most of them is local. That is important,” Saleem said.
“Our model is scalable, so while other enterprise systems can take months to implement, our system can be implemented within a few days, if not hours. We have systemised the whole implementation and training model so that once we receive a PO within a few days you will have a materials tracking system ready to go.
“We also now have some excellent testimonials and references. New clients see that our software is reliable – it’s been used by the market leaders [and] it’s been used on the biggest gas project in the world [Gorgon] and been there for a long time.”
Saleem’s vision is for a much larger organisation.
“There are a lot of things which I would like to do further than this,” he said.
“We’ve got a few more products which are in the pipeline, which we are building; there are a few more patents in the pipeline.
“One of the challenges I have is that the business is still reliant on me. Now I have a business development team who are helping me to develop business.”
Perth is an expensive place to hire good IT people, and Saleem said the best model used to date integrated a “good balance of offshore and onshore developers … with QA managed in Perth”.
“My passion has always been to innovate and help people with solving their problems,” he said.
“I strongly believe we can really help and add value to the companies, the construction and resources companies. If they can save time and money, and resources, it ends up affecting the big picture. It is so expensive to develop projects here and one of the problems we may face is people might end up taking more and more of the work offshore.
“We want to be able to help make project development more efficient and effective, and that’s what we are doing.”