Sachin Maheshwari, Global Strategic Marketing, ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants
Today, the mining industry faces a host of challenges, including fluctuating commodity prices and tightening margins.
According to a recent Ernst & Young (EY) report, these factors have driven the mining sector to focus on production volume above all else, which in turn has led to an even bigger industry challenge – maintaining productivity levels.*
As the EY report affirms, productivity in the mining sector has been slowly declining throughout the past decade, due in large part to this focus on production volume. Mining executives are well aware of this challenge, and a global survey of more than 60 mining executives found that productivity is at the forefront of corporate strategic planning initiatives.†
What are mining executives doing to address this challenge?
In its report, EY outlined some of the approaches that the mining industry is taking. There is one particular approach worth noting: the need to identify and implement comprehensive, end-to-end business strategies in place of individual solutions designed primarily to cut costs.
According to EY, many within the mining sector believe the industry is nearing the ceiling for cost-reduction benefits, primarily because operations have tried to address productivity through a siloed approach. However, industry leaders are recognizing that to improve productivity, they need to implement strategies that take an operations-wide approach.
We have seen these siloed approaches in action. For example, the wide range of tools and machinery involved in our customers’ operations often leads operators to consider maintenance for a series of individual applications, rather than taking steps to build an overall maintenance program to maximize productivity.
Building a comprehensive, solutions-oriented maintenance plan, which takes into consideration the high-quality lubricant technologies and monitoring services that will best help to deliver operation-wide benefits, while reducing overall cost of maintenance, is one major way that mine operators can advance overall productivity of their operations.
*Ernst & Young, “Productivity in Mining: A case for broad transformation,” Page 2, EYGM Limited, 2014, http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY-Productivity-in-mining/$FILE/EY-Productivity-in-mining.pdf
†Ernst & Young, “Productivity in Mining: now comes the hard part, a global survey,” Page 2, EYGM Limited, 2014, http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY-productivity-in-mining-now-comes-the-hard-part/$FILE/EY-productivity-in-mining-nowcomes-the-hard-part.pdf