Metals and mining companies are investing in digital technologies across the value chain, from operations to procurement to sales and marketing. The metals and mining industry is roughly 30% to 40% less digitally mature compared to automotive or chemicals industries. That’s a huge deficit. By accelerating digital transformation, metals and mining players can boost throughput, simplify processes, reduce complexity, lower costs, etc. So many metals and mining companies struggle to implement digital transformations.
The metal and mining companies must embed digital thinking, processes, and structures into their entire organization to full digitalization. While many miners strive to achieve true digital transformation, they lack real visibility and struggle to execute an effective digital strategy. Several metal and mining companies overcame these barriers in innovative ways. Some improved their mining throughput by 10% to 20% and their procurement productivity by up to 50% and reduced emissions by 15% to 30%.
Focus on the Digital Strategy Execution Gap
Several metals and mining companies have ambitious digital strategies in place, but the gap between strategy and execution is significant especially relative to other industries. Lack of customized solutions, the use of traditional waterfall models, and an inadequate focus on a solution’s sustainability are the reasons for the gap. Here are the solutions for the gap:
Customized Solutions: Each plant or mine has unique characteristics so, once customized the system normalizes the algorithm for changing mine faces and simplifies the front-end design the operators embraced. The result was a 20% improvement in the utilization of the company’s mining equipment.
Agile Implementation: One global flat-steel producer that implemented a new software system found that user requirements changed so frequently. After pivoting to an agile approach, users and developers began meeting every week to incorporate design changes, thus getting the digital program back on track.
Sustainability: Finally, companies must sustain these digital solutions over time, even as operating regimes change, raw material quality varies, and external requirements such as emissions laws.
Apply Digital Tools Across the Organization
Metals and mining companies have traditionally focused most of their digital efforts on improving operations. As a result, however, digital maturity scores even among digital leaders are much lower in areas such as sales and marketing, procurement, and human resources. As the digital opportunities in operations narrow, it’s crucial to begin applying digital to other functions, including:
Procurement: digital approach surely reduces process overheads and errors of procurement. Many clients have moved to a QR-based ordering solution, which automates all the standard background processes and reduces the purchase order process to a single click. AI-based negotiation coaches to support purchase teams during the procurement process.
Supply chain: Digital leaders, on the other hand, are building integrated operations planning solutions that provide single-click visibility into large, fragmented value chains.
Sales and marketing: Digital leaders, on the other hand, are moving toward a cross-functional experience across sales, marketing, new product development, and finance.
Finance: During the COVID-19 pandemic, managers have used CFOs tools to model complex and multivariate scenarios quickly. These models have helped them provide valuable inputs to business strategy as the pandemic has played out.
Metals and mining companies fall on a wide digital spectrum. It requires digital leaders to embrace a new way of operating, data-driven decision-making, and diverse skills and capabilities. They must recruit new skills while supporting their experienced workforce to make the transition successfully. working with digital leaders, offer a good starting point, as well as some specific interventions that will help companies accelerate their digital journeys and create sustainable value. With the digital landscape evolving rapidly, now is the better time to explore Intelligent Mining.