Contract mining and crushing specialist African Mining & Crushing (AMC) believes the success it has achieved for its clients in recent years can largely be attributed to the smart execution of digital technologies.
This starts at home with the correct implementation of software systems that ensures optimal production performance on site.
This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2020
The use of technologies should be based on the benefits it delivers to clients and in today’s market that entails optimal production, for the most competitive fee with minimal downtime – and importantly, knowing that contractors can deliver on the commitments they make – which impacts their forecast and reporting information.
These criteria have and remain the core drivers behind AMC’s business which has resulted in numerous successful contracts on site, all still current.
“We have developed our own in-house tailor-made digital systems that extend through every part of the business which includes a costing system that enables us to guarantee lifecycle pricing/costing upfront that clients can depend on throughout the duration and delivery of our contract,” starts Warwick Hughes, CEO at AMC.
Standardising these systems and ensuring the information is inputted only once – for every part of the whole business to generate quality information accurately and instantaneously forms part of AMC’s digital system focus – which AMC costing director Francois Hugo adds enables the company to make the best decisions for their contracts.
“We have consequently become known for our reliability because beyond costing; our databases and management systems prevent excess stock keeping, allocates the correct resources to each site and enables effective reporting as well – in any jurisdiction we are operating in,” Hugo continues.
One of the most significant benefits associated with these systems is live communication and the ability for AMC personnel to provide feedback easily and without constraints, meaning they always feel they have the support from head office to execute decisions that need to be made.
“Ultimately, this makes us a more efficient business which directly equates to a more efficient business for our clients,” says AMC director Lance van der Walt.
Always have a back-up plan though
The reality of working in Africa must always be accounted for however and in addition to skills shortages this means a lack of regular connectivity in remote regions.
With today’s technology AMC’s systems are monitoring its production performance on sites that are as far as 6 000 km away, in real time. “Managing our machinery remotely via our systems reporting enables us to constantly improve efficiencies in order to predict failures which minimises downtime.”
Of equal importance is the Plan B AMC has in place for times when there are interruptions or breaks in connectivity.
“Our staff are equipped and skilled to handle information manually according to our system requirements. It means incurring additional costs and handling that information more than once but we have put procedures and processes in place to reduce any human error and don’t want this to be a disruption factor for our performance.”
Having introduced its digital systems into the business about three years ago, AMC has since perfected their implementation, operation and management of its systems and fail-safe procedures to deliver the best results for its clients.
How can clients benefit even further?
Because technology is constantly evolving, AMC will stay abreast of how it can adapt and evolve its systems further to enhance the benefits they already offer.
“The greater our systems’ functionality the more we can stay ahead of the game in helping our clients meet and exceed their targets,” Hughes highlights.
The success of AMC’s digital solutions offering, does and always remains dependent on the resources and personnel using them and ensuring its resources are trained and equipped to use them.
“Of equal importance in this regard is understand local country operating systems such as banking processes, tax requirements, etc. These elements have a direct impact on our systems so we must understand them and know how to incorporate them correctly into our business,” Hughes mentions. “This is an advantage we believe sets us apart.”
The real key to moving forward in this new digital era is the need for accountability – when something does go wrong – and transparency. “The mining industry would benefit greatly from the transparency that data provides should they choose to share it.
Full transparency not only would help us perform to the best of our abilities but would assist clients understand how external factors or third parties have a direct impact on the performance we are able to deliver,” Hughes concludes.