Dayo Wright has plenty of experience working with remote mining clients. In his new blog he provides his top 5 supply chain related tips based on this experience.
Last month I spent 3 days in Senegal visiting with a client. These site visits are great because it really helps us to appreciate the challenges that clients face on a daily basis.
It is no secret that mining is suffering in the current low-growth cycle. Which means it is more important than ever for mining companies to squeeze every bit of value they can from their supply chain activities. With the additional challenges of operating remotely and this is no easy task.
Below are my 5 top tips that, in my experience, can make all the difference to overall costs and efficiency for remote mining operations.
1. Logistics planning
Without highly detailed logistics planning, the risk of freight and related costs is significant. This includes everything from consolidating orders across various suppliers to make sure containers are as full as possible before they set off across the ocean or land. It is just not feasible to purchase as you need things when you operate remotely.
If you are receiving containers by sea freight, it is just as important to plan the offloading at Port. The costs associated with cargo ships being kept at sea are avoidable if the planning is done right.
2. Stock management programs
Min/max levels and critical order points will make sure that replacement goods are on their way so timing is optimised. This means that you are not holding more stock than required (which is a big positive for the balance sheet) but you will have what you need, when you need it.
3. In the warehouse
Process, procedure and security are the highest priorities here. Stock losses through theft are unfortunately that much more common in remote mining operations, so having your stores in efficient working order will help highlight any unscrupulous individuals. Regular stock takes and robust in/out stock procedures are two quick wins here.
4. Order Accuracy
Getting the right parts sent the first time is an obvious one. But you’d be surprised how often miscommunication at ordering occurs. Even with double and triple checking! This obviously is a hassle to exchange and expensive to correct. The best approach is to support your order with exact part numbers and preferably a photo of exactly what you require. Sometimes part numbers will change as manufacturers update their range, so make sure any new part numbers will still be suitable for your requirements. And watch for typos in complex part numbers!
5. A trusted procurement partner
Purchasing officers in remote locations face challenges like keeping under budget while meeting local supply obligations as well as all the points raised above. A trusted procurement partner with access to a vast range of products and equipment will help solve many of these challenges.
In my role I make sure I explicitly understand my clients’ operating environment and requirements so I can provide them with advice, options and support. I can source products from a much wider supplier base than they have access to on-site, and as a part of a wider team of supply chain specialists, I can make sure the goods arrive on site when they are needed.
To learn more about our procurement services click here. Or get in touch with me for a chat about opportunities to help your remote mining operations on firstname.lastname@example.org.