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Digital Technology transformation driving changes in the Metals and Mining industry

posted Oct 22, 2017, 11:22 AM by aditya gangadharan   [ updated Oct 24, 2017, 9:57 AM ]

Digital technology and automation have revamped multiple industries, including metals and mining. Digitally run hardware tools are going to shape the way these companies operate and interact with their clients in the future.

Traditional manual processes and those mainly conducted by human labour, are shrinking. With huge technology developments we have seen advancements in robotics and mechanics the manual labour that is needed to generate the same level of output have reduce considerably.

For the Metals and Mining industry to stay adequately connected to their clients needs, they need to ensure that not just the right technology is implemented but they follow a corporate strategy and a governance mechanism to make these initiatives successful. Mobile platforms have started to become not just a great platform for miners, administrators, and officers to communicate and use real-time analytics in the Mining industry but also drive much better safety and predictive maintenance.

Despite the volatility in the commodity price, operational efficiencies continue to improve and this has given an opportunity to companies in the metals industry to create a new market that is not anymore commodity but is very specialized with rigorous product engineering efforts that are needed by customers such as the automotive industry. The World Economic Forum has also highlighted these trends in the metals and mining industry and also suggested that automation and technological advancements in re-shaping this sector have come a long way and should continue in this direction. This is also creating a platform for digitally integrating the legacy, modern ERP and operational technologies in these industries and creating a platform where the Director of Mining/Metals manufacturing, Director or ERP and Director of Legacy systems are becoming part of “one” collaborative workforce that is rapidly and constantly focusing on growth and innovation and not working in silos, which was otherwise a huge cultural impediment in this industry for many years within companies.

Efficiency is key and by digitalising operations, these mining and metal companies will adopt the concept of smart digital manufacturing and operations. Success in these in digitalizing these industries over the next few years will be driven by key factors such as: 

- Strategy must be driven with innovation as the driver
- New business models must be developed and commercialized quickly like Aluminium has become for the automotive industry
- Data analytics and decision making should focus on which markets need speciality products and how can the bottom line be improved by moving away from commercial manufacturing to smart manufacturing
- The workforce has to be trained culturally for this change and the drive has to be Top-Down to make it a success. Traditional mindsets in mines as an example have changed but the speed at which change is accepted must be enhanced
- Drive greater collaboration with customers and partners towards new ideas for the future where they get more for what they do for you and you generate that value with better products and services in the market place.


About the Author: Adi G is an industry veteran with several years of experience in dealing with Energy, Utility and Resources industry clients and likes to present his views on topics that impact not just the industry but our communities and society in general. He can be reached @