Implementing An Agile Supply Chain In Mines To Improve Efficiency

Vahishta Mistry
January 19, 2023
5 mins to read
Front-line operations management apps can make miners' jobs easier and faster.

An agile supply chain management system is a flexible approach to managing the flow of materials, information, and resources that allows an organization to respond quickly to changes in demand or market conditions. By implementing an agile supply chain management system, operations managers in the mining industry can increase responsiveness and improve the overall performance of the organization.

To illustrate how an agile supply chain management system might work in a hypothetical mine in the mining industry, consider the following examples:

  1. Identify key suppliers: The first step in implementing an agile supply chain management system is to identify the key suppliers that are critical to the success of the organization. For the hypothetical mine, this might include suppliers of explosives, drilling equipment, and haul truck tires.
  2. Establish relationships: Once key suppliers have been identified, operations managers should work to establish strong relationships with these suppliers. This might involve developing contracts, setting performance targets, or establishing communication channels. For example, the mine might negotiate a contract with a supplier of explosives that includes specific delivery times and quality standards.
  3. Monitor and manage performance: To ensure the success of the agile supply chain management system, operations managers should regularly monitor and manage the performance of key suppliers. This might involve tracking delivery times, quality, or other key metrics. For example, the mine might use data analytics to track the performance of its haul truck tire supplier in terms of delivery times and defects.
  4. Foster collaboration: An agile supply chain management system should foster collaboration between different parts of the organization and with key suppliers. This might involve regular communication, information sharing, or joint problem-solving. For example, the mine might establish a cross-functional team with representatives from different departments (e.g. procurement, operations, maintenance) to work closely with its drilling equipment supplier to identify opportunities for improvement.
  5. Implement agile practices: To further increase responsiveness, operations managers should consider implementing agile practices such as cross-functional teams, rapid prototyping, or continuous delivery. For example, the mine might implement a continuous delivery process for its explosives supplier, which allows for frequent, small deliveries rather than large, infrequent shipments. This can help to reduce inventory and improve responsiveness to changes in demand.

By implementing an agile supply chain management system in the mining industry, operations managers can increase responsiveness and improve the overall performance of the organization. It is important to identify key suppliers and establish strong relationships with them, as well as regularly monitor and manage their performance. Collaboration and agile practices can also help to increase responsiveness and improve the effectiveness of the supply chain.

In order to set such a system up, though, it's necessary to accurately measure supply/demand data for the various consumables on your supply chain. And while that can be done via paper logs and spreadsheets, it's difficult to quickly adjust and adapt to the information collected that way, since there is a long lag time from data collection to analysis.

Using a system like Grid will enable you to set up a supply management system that tracks, in real-time, the current status of your supply and existing inventory of goods on-site. This means setting up an agile supply chain becomes orders of magnitude easier. When you can accurately visualize the usage of consumables across time, predicting future needs is trivial.

If you'd like to know more about how Grid can help you set up an agile supply chain, get in touch with an expert:

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Vahishta Mistry
Content Team Lead at WorkOnGrid
“Using Grid to track drill program progress and day to day expenditures has allowed VR Resources to make better decisions more quickly. The highly customizable and elegant interface allows me to track and manage all aspects of our field work and it’s clear after just a few weeks that the possibilities are nearly endless. Cost tracking estimates were consistently within expected variance of invoices received giving me further confidence in managing agile drill programs. Further the development team and customer support have been top notch!”
Justin J. Daley
PGeo, MSc, Vice President Exploration
VR Resources
VR Resources
“Grid has been extremely helpful in changing the course of multiple operations, here at U-Solar. We started with one module for Materials Management, and have now adopted Grid for 3-4 more processes, all of which have been smooth and quick to implement.”
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