BHP announces supplier innovation competition

The Olympic Dam operation. Source: BHP

BHP has announced a unique method of sourcing suppliers in the Australian mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector through a new program launched with Austmine.

The BHP Austmine supplier innovation program brings METS companies together to complete challenges by creating new solutions, with the winning solution receiving a paid pilot program to test its outcome.

BHP stated the selected METS companies will help solve some of its business challenges and described the program as a “hackathon”.

It is designed for BHP to seek innovative solutions that provide employment opportunities with the company.

According to BHP group procurement officer Sundeep Singh, the program will provide a platform to support the potential of local companies, while providing BHP with an industry advantage.

“As our industry shifts towards more remote and technologically-enabled operations, our ability to find unique and innovative solutions to business challenges will be critical,” he said.

“This program is different to our usual approach to sourcing, where we know what we need to buy. Instead, we will go to the market with a question instead of an answer, and ask potential vendors how to solve it.

“We want to play our part in supporting Australia’s METS sector, so together we can deliver world-leading solutions for the resources industry straight from our operations.

“Now more than ever, as we play our part to support Australia’s economic recovery through COVID-19, our partnerships with Australian METS suppliers can make a real difference to our industry and beyond.”

The program, labelled “identify safer processes for filter press maintenance”, is featured on Austmine’s website.

Applications for the program are now closed.

BHP’s local buying program, which enables small businesses to grow their companies, has reached a $500 million milestone since its launch in 2012.

“The local buying program has enabled our small business suppliers to grow and develop their companies as we have grown ours. It has brought our operations and local small businesses closer together. It has increased capability across the local supply chain and boosted regional economic development in our host communities,” BHP president minerals Australia Edgar Basto said.

The program makes it easier for small businesses to bid on supply opportunities.

“The program has grown from supporting our Queensland operations in 2012 to now supporting our operations in Western Australia, South Australia, and New South Wales,” Basto said.

“It is more important than ever in the current environment, and is growing at the fastest rate since its inception, with half the $500 million committed in the previous two years alone.”

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