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The first steps to modernizing your METS business

16 November, 2020

In our increasingly digital world, digital transformation is a key driver for growth. For the Mining Equipment, Technology, and Services (METS) sector in particular, digitalisation has been found to address productivity and margin challenges.   

However, many businesses struggle with transitioning to digital and get stuck in the gap between the potential of digital transformation and its successful implementation. 

Mning MachineryThere are factors that widen this disconnect, challenges such as continuing operations while transitioning from legacy systems, finding a good balance in workforce skills to ensure organisation’s digital competency, choosing the right technology partners in helping you move towards your digital goals, and allotting a budget while avoiding business disruption.  

Large mining companies, unlike many start-up businesses, do not have the liberty of modernising their systems with a clean slate because of legacy systems or deeply-ingrained culture.  In some cases, digital point solutions – small and disconnected initiatives – are adopted without a holistic view. As a result, these efforts do not achieve the same improved productivity and end-to-end decision-making.  

Ernst & Young or EY, a multinational services network, identified approximately 60 digital initiatives in the METS industry but found very few with a “clear, integrated business-wide approach”.  

According to EY, the best approach to digital transformation is to do it in a series of waves, “steadily introducing more digital hotspots and interconnections, all within a coherent overarching strategy.” The company’s research entitled, Digital Mining: The Next Wave of Business Transformation, enumerated four waves for digital transformations which begins with the digital pre-start.  

The Digital Pre-Start Checklist 

  • Establish your digital vision – Leaders must have a shared vision aligned with the business strategy.  

  • Understand your business levers and how they will drive productivity – Study the business in and out, then be strategic in pulling the right levers to increase productivity.  

  • Match digital opportunities to high-priority areas – Seek digital solutions to the most important and urgent issues you would like to address first.  

  • Complete a Digital Maturity Assessment to understand organizational capability – Find out what digital technologies are currently in use in your business and what else the company may need. According to the research it is necessary to “Determine areas where skills need to be developed internally and areas where you should partner externally.”  

  • Mining EquipmentEstablish transformation governance – Assign project leads or other authorities to handle project management, organizational accountability, data architecture, and business care development.   

  • Have long-term data architecture design in place - Pin down a data strategy. Identify opportunities for existing and potential sources of data, and correct current databases.   

  • Have an appropriate cybersecurity strategy in place to keep pace with your transformation – It's important to choose cyber security strategy specific to your requirements at the beginning of your digital transformation journey because considering it too late in the process can lead to costly rework.  

Implementing an ERP system into your METS business is a big decision and considering the aforementioned factors is an integral step before beginning the transition. Contact us for consultations regarding these concerns and considerations if you’re on the way to starting your digital transformation.