It is no exaggeration to say that the mining industry is facing the most significant challenge in living memory. The coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, will have a long-lasting effect that may last for many years.
The reality is that the mining industry had already been in trouble for quite some time before COVID-19 disrupted operations. By throwing money at the problem, many operators were able to ignore the warning signs.
There are three factors which almost every mining operator has been struggling with:
- Reduced product yield
- Declining productivity
- Increasing operating costs
As the pandemic response began to bite, these problems can no longer be ignored. Operators must address these issues now – and quickly – or risk ever-reducing income and profits, threatening the very future of their businesses.
It’s all about the data
The concept of digital transformation has rapidly gained in popularity across many industries. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the manufacturing industry is investing heavily in digital operations, realizing incremental revenue growth of up to 6% through productivity gains.
Similar improvements are possible for the mining businesses – assuming they are ready to make the cultural, process and technology changes required.
The new digital transformation paradigm relies on making decisions based on data, using empirical evidence to define strategy. Over time, decisions and activities become more accurate because there is more information available with which to work. Naturally productivity improves as your business works smarter, helping to reduce operating costs – and potentially boost yield, too.
In order to access that data, operators will need to improve access. This may involve implementing better sharing between applications or replacing legacy systems that are unable to make data widely available across your business. More than a third (36%) of mine operators acknowledge problems with information silos and legacy technology.
The right type of technology investments
Technology investment must be targeted, however; 29% of businesses have been carrying out generalized technology deployments. Typically these new systems support existing processes, rather than providing scope for change. Newer technology may bring speed improvements, but maintaining the same inefficient processes will still harm productivity and profitability.
At the core of every future purchasing decision must be the question, how will this solution better facilitate data access throughout our business? Investing in systems that create new silos will simply exacerbate existing problems and prevent your business from reaching its digital transformation goals.
Technical and cultural solutions to the productivity challenges of the mining industry do exist. It’s now a case of identifying the right ones for your business and committing to a future of data-driven change.
Looking deeper into the problem of productivity
To learn more about the productivity challenges facing the mining industry, please download our report. You will see just how deep the problem runs and how the COVID-19 lockdown will exacerbate these problems.
The report also provides some practical guidance on digitalization and how your organization can take steps towards improving productivity with improved access to data. Download your copy today!
Marcel is Hexagon’s PPM division vice president of sales. He resides in The Netherlands.