Mining Industry Challenges Put Business Solutions In The Box Seat

Achieving or exceeding KPIs while streamlining existing purposes is pivotal for Australian miners, especially since the mining sector has moved on from the build stage and into process optimisation.

In fact, the need to enhance their process efficiencies and get the most out of existing mining CAPEX and other assets is more crucial than ever.

A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that the global mining industry’s productivity fell 20 per cent over the past seven years, despite a push for increased output.

PwC also found that misinterpretation of common productivity metrics is costing the mining industry billions of dollars in lost earnings, and its research further revealed considerable financial gains could be achieved through more attention to the reliability and physical output of mining equipment.

So while investment in equipment grew 17 per cent annually over this period, aggregate output had only improved by 5 per cent.

These findings were further tempered by a report published by the Mineral Council of Australia, which highlighted that the mining industry last delivered a productivity increase way back in 2003.

Since then overall productivity in the minerals sector has fallen by 30 per cent the Council’s report noted.

Many issues for Australia’s mining companies to deal with

Speaking to the ABC’s Rural program, Jock O’Callaghan PwC’s energy, utilities and mining leader said efficiency in iron ore miners for example has fallen dramatically and can’t be explained by production increases.

“As we put a big focus in the late 2009 – 2010 period on higher volumes, we saw a big drop off in the efficiency in the use of the equipment at mine sites,” he said.

“Since 2009, we’ve seen the efficiency of mining equipment at iron ore mines in Australia is down by 40 per cent.”

He said Australia has gone from being a global leader to one of the worst when it comes to being efficient with machinery use.

Put simply, for any mining operation, downtime is expensive and while the fundamentals of mining have not changed, what’s needed is a change at the operational level that embraces the latest facets of digital communication and modern technologies that are commonly used in consumer products to drive efficiencies.

How business solutions can improve mining efficiencies

As with many other types of industries, improving processes in mining helps achieve better outcomes without the need to increase other resources.

Software plays an increasingly important role as mining companies seek to maximise the value of all of their mineral assets and to communicate more effectively with their internal stakeholders.

Technologies proven in other industries over the years can be applied to mining operation and management. By employing a 360-degree view of the mining value chain, new opportunities for improvements can be quickly uncovered.

Such business automation technologies make it possible to streamline both the mineral and production processes through to delivery of the product to clients, and find new avenues for increasing efficiency and productivity.

Why business management or next-gen ERP is the best solution for the mining industry? 

Having the ability to forecast yields and losses and giving visibility across multiple and remote sites through a virtual dashboard gives mining businesses greater information and operational control, leading to improved productivity and profit.

However, most business management solutions are not mining specific, and if they are promoted for the mining sector, the vast majority of those solutions are basically rebadged business management software developed for other industrial sectors.

With the advent of end-to-end vertical solutions that have been specifically designed for mining such as the Sage X3 Business Management Solution for mining, miners can now take back control of complex operations and increase their performance with faster, simpler and more flexible business management software.

With its mobile-enabled dashboard, users have real-time visibility into the status of all processes, providing the ability to alert team members of process deviations, or to an incident or hazard.

Along with integrated sales and inventory control that has the ability to minimise stock-outs, reduce excess inventory, or simplify ordering and provide forward and backward traceability, Sage X3 enables management of multiple orders from multiple customers simultaneously, ensuring real-time quality control of warehouse stock and inventory fluctuations and levels.

For more information on how Sage X3 can help improve and streamline operations in the mining industry, download the white paper: How Software solutions can help mining companies increase efficiency levels.

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