Mining technologies promise unprecedented productivity-raising capabilities

Is your back office agile enough to keep up?

New mining technologies are facilitating tremendous increases in mining productivity. Coal mining productivity in the United States increased 26% from 2012 to 2017, a boost attributed to technology and process improvements. In Western Australia, miners using autonomous haulage technology have reported a 20% improvement in productivity. Integrating technological innovation into mining practices can result in reduced costs, increased productivity and improved worker safety for mining organizations. However, those benefits may be underrealized when companies do not have an agile mining ERP solution capable of providing the same efficiencies in the back office. Is your back office ERP agile enough to keep up?

The intelligent mine

 “Businesses aren’t expected to be able to realize the full potential of the intelligent mine without modernizing their digital core.”
Paul Klein, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte Australia

The concept of the intelligent mine is not new. We found reference as far back as this 1995 paper, which promoted some concepts that now are commonplace, but were likely fairly radical at the time, including:

  • Mine-wide information and data acquisition system
  • High-speed two-directional mine-wide communication network for real-time monitoring and control
  • Automated and tele-operated machinery and equipment which are connected to the information system

Today, conversations about the intelligent mine are likely to include revolutionary digital technologies including robotic loading and transporting systems, as well as industry solutions in the field of robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and predictive analytics.

Most of these technologies, however, are focused on the actual mining operation, largely ignoring the importance of raising the overall “intelligence” of back office processes by implementing a mining industry ERP solution. Paul Klein, a consulting partner with Deloitte Australia, noted, “Businesses aren’t expected to be able to realize the full potential of the intelligent mine without modernizing their digital core.”

Making the case for mining ERP

mining erpWhile there are real costs associated with modernizing the back office, mining companies should consider framing the business case for a new mining ERP solution in terms of lost business opportunities, lack of agility and business risk.

To maximize the value proposition, companies should work with experienced system integrators that offer proven mining business transformation accelerators. Optimally, this should include roadmaps for the implementation cycle, modules preconfigured to the mining industry, KPI monitoring, data analytics, equipment and asset management, and human capital management.

Look to the cloud

The move to the cloud has already transformed every major industry, and mining is no different. Workers can be better connected real-time through cloud-enabled devices and applications, allowing for a level of collaboration that can boost safety, efficiency and productivity both back office and in the field.

Cloud ERP solutions offer a number of benefits to growing mining companies, including real-time data access, support for global expansion, enhanced security, cost savings, and a minimized IT resource burden.

Modernize your digital core

We see it in virtually every young company in an industry that involves regulated, specialized or unique workflows and requirements (mining, nutraceuticals, cannabis) — the initial focus for software investments is on the production side. These organizations often start with an entry-level accounting system for their back office as they focus more resources on the operations side. In our practice, we encourage mining companies to start smart, not small, and invest in a mining ERP solution early in their company’s development.

Mining operations that leverage the power of an ERP application to help manage their business are at a distinct advantage over those who rely on spreadsheets and entry-level packages. Mining industry ERP software enables you to establish, enforce and replicate clearly defined business processes, workflows, key performance indicators and internal controls that promote efficiencies, agilities and productivity levels.

Modern mining ERP solutions enable real-time transactional processing, financial management and data analysis tools that promote best practices throughout the lifecycle of the mining operation. Mining companies ready to leverage technology in their operations must first update their ERP systems to gain the necessary agility to build a productive mining operation from the inside out.

Caron Mining Solutions is a comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use mining industry ERP solution, built on Sage ERP software, that addresses the challenges modern mining operations face. Learn more about Caron Mining Solutions here, or by contacting us here.

Paul has been involved with Sage 300 software for almost 30 years. He brings a well-rounded perspective to business management software implementation projects. His depth of knowledge and expertise in business process analysis has benefited several clients.