Ask Approyo: How can SAP S/4HANA impact the Mining Industry?
The mining industry is going through a transformation as it enters the digital age. Commodity prices have dropped almost 50% below recent peaks, and the shortage of skilled workers is accelerating this transformation. High capital spend and decreasing ore grades have led to an increasing productivity gap compared to other industries.
Despite these challenges, there are also opportunities. Leading mining companies are looking to revamp legacy business processes to make use of the newest technologies in Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, and analytics. These technologies will become a necessity for survival with gains in operational efficiencies from automation and real-time planning, to total workforce management, and much more.
The Digital Mining Enterprise
The key to improving margins and reducing production costs is to constantly seek out and leverage new business and technology concepts that support:
Making better real-time, data-driven decisions
Having operations more automated, predictable, and agile
Transforming traditional labor workers into knowledge workers
As the mining ecosystem becomes digitally connected, mines and their internal departments, vendors, shippers, and customers collaborate digitally and exchange documents. Collecting data from equipment and combining it with demand and supply data from competitors can help mining companies more accurately predict production and sales and how these are impacted by the various factors. This will help to move to an agile and more demand-driven production model.
Technology is supporting major improvements in operations. Real-time planning and scheduling, where real-time alerts and information from production, maintenance, contractors, and the equipment itself reduce unexpected disruptions, support more efficient execution. Real-time communication from vehicle to vehicle will synchronize them for better utilization.Worker productivity can be increased dramatically by reversing the typical technology challenges such as hard-to-use interfaces and software that is too complex. Thought-leading mining companies that are implementing applications that are simple and visually captivating are seeing much higher user adoption and satisfaction levels.
To execute on this transformation, mining firms will not only need to reengineer their business processes, but they will also have to evaluate if they have the right technology platform that can deliver on that vision. This platform requires an IT architecture that provides both stability and long-term reliability for core enterprise processes, and, at the same time, allows for flexibility in areas where change is happening on a constant basis. The digital core is the foundation for the core processes that need to run consistently and flexibly. It provides uninterrupted, real-time transactions and analytics, the ability to work with Big Data, and connectivity to line-of-business extensions that enable supporting processes such as talent sourcing or networks.