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- Mar 15, 2017
- by Glenn Richmond
The fall in commodity prices and the shelving of mining exploration and infrastructure investment over the last few years has created a challenging operating environment for mining services post boom.
The big question for the mining services industry now is - How to drive profitability and create a competitive advantage in a sector that is strongly focused on cutting costs and increasing operational efficiency?
Recent reports on the mining and mining services industry from Deloitte and Grant Thornton suggest the companies who will survive and ultimately thrive in the mining industry in the future are those who innovate, particularly through their use and application of digital technology.
According to a recent IBISWorld report, in 2015-2016 mining services revenue was around $8.7billion, down from $12.8billion in 2012-2013. Despite the industry slow down, future prospects are looking more positive due to the expectation of renewed mining growth, with revenue projected to increase to around $9.9billion by 2019-2020.
To take advantage of growth, mining services teams will need to provide clients with increased efficiencies on site and within their own operations in order to retain current and secure future contracts.
Increased Efficiencies through Field Services
For mining services, being able to connect with a widely dispersed mobile workforce and have data updated in real time provides a significant advantage in service delivery.
Field Services Management Software is one way businesses can achieve this advantage.
Fieldmagic is a progressive Field Services Management Software developed in consultation with industry, that delivers increased capability across a number of business areas such as data and job management, customer experience, systems integration and workforce mobility.
For example, a maintenance technician can receive their work schedule for the day remotely through their mobile device without having to waste time and resources attending a central depot.
That technician can remotely report on the jobs for the day - completion, resources used, issues encountered etc through his mobile device delivering data directly to head office systems.
Without the need for paperwork or double data entry, data inaccuracies and time spent on administrative tasks are reduced, saving on overheads.
Mobile devices are allowing for greater process management in the industry. Through app based custom checklists and an easily accessible knowledge base, the technician can be prompted to adhere to company compliance, workplace health and safety processes and to
undertake specific maintenance.
Administration and management can also benefit from increased visibility of data collected in real time as it provides enhanced decision making capabilities in work scheduling, inventory management, accounting and reporting.
Site schedules can be adapted throughout the day to account for technician availability or work completion rates. If there is a delay in job completion which directly affects another job to be undertaken, the scheduled resource can be redirected and utilised elsewhere instead of being inactive while the initial job is completed. Customers and other stakeholders can also be informed of the delay giving them the opportunity to adjust their schedules accordingly, creating a better customer experience.
Increased efficiencies in areas such as these will ultimately inform high level decision making in relation to business direction and imperatives. If a service provided is not shown to be cost effective, this data can inform management that a change in direction in this area is needed.
While it's important to pick a Field Services Management software that comes with a strong suite of modules, how they are delivered, system agility and the technology used to integrate are also important considerations.
Other key factors in selecting a quality Field Services Management software are adaptability and scalability - can you change it? Add to it? Take away from it? Can the system grow or contract with your business needs? Will it work with your existing systems?
Fieldmagic utilises an open API design on top of a strong suite of modules. This can provide integration with current systems and be adapted to individual business needs, providing operational agility. Strong process control reduces the effort required in training and change management, increasing user acceptance by minimising the need for users to learn too many new processes and multiple software systems.
The capability to work online and offline is also a key Fieldmagic feature of particular importance for businesses such as mining services who have technicians operating in remote areas with limited access to internet services.
The system has been built in a modulated way so that businesses can pick and choose what services they need, adding new services as necessary or scaling back when required.
Fieldmagic provides a comprehensive and affordable off the shelf Field Services Management software that provides businesses with the technological capability to streamline their operational efficiencies and reduce costs.
In a mining and resources sector going through times of instability and uncertainty, integrating a field services management software into your business operations can be the innovation that ultimately takes you from just surviving to thriving and the time to act is now.
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