Friday, 21 June 2019

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METS vs Mining: Is there a Winner?
Austmine Limited

METS vs Mining: Is there a Winner?

written by Michael Lang, Managing Director, SG Partners

I have heard many times METS organisations complain about mining companies wasting the METS time.

Sounds to me like the all the blame is placed squarely and unfairly onto the mining companies.

If a METS organisation was to reflect on what they are doing when engaging with their potential client, perhaps they could create a different outcome.

For instance, as a METS company, are you targeting the right mining company with what your organisation is offering? There are some mining companies out there that are more open to innovation than others, some that are more focused on certain improvement aspects than others, and there are some mining companies that have a clear strategy of how, when and what they want to improve.

Recently at the Austmine METS Innovation day the mining organisations present clearly stated that its not necessarily about the innovation uptake, it’s about what they were focussed on as priorities to maximise their shareholder returns.

As an example, (refer to the below diagram from BHP), if we are in the conveyor industry, New Conveyor technology is relatively mature. i.e. well developed robust, incremental with relatively high ROI project but overall commercial impact (compared to size of enterprise) does not put the business at risk. Furthermore it’s not for every site within the organisation.

Autonomous Mining potentially has a far higher impact commercially, across many sites -  meaning a risk / higher reward strategy.

After speaking with Frans Knox, Head of Production at BHP Billiton BMA, he explained there was a missing axis on the diagram, the “z” axis which represented the prioritisation of bottlenecks. He said METS companies needed to know how their innovation/solutions fitted within this to ensure the right energy and focus was going to be applied.

Sometimes it’s the simplest questions that could save us years of heartache. Questions like:

  • In what we are discussing today, is there a defined project and what is its name, please?
  • What in the grand scheme of things is the priority for the organisation to implement such an outcome?
  • Who is the sponsor at “C” level, please?
  • Is there a timeline when this outcome needs to be achieved?
  • Can you tell me the steps within the process to get the outcome and where are you at present with these?

Furthermore, occasionally METS companies believe in their product so much they forget to or don’t understand the value of their solution to the mining company.

The mining companies can quite clearly articulate how they view the world – cost per tonne; how clearly can you articulate your solution to that KPI? Again Frans explained that he found suppliers were very poor when it came to articulating their value proposition. 

You see it’s all about Shareholder value within the licence to operate.

In this diagram below, we start to understand how our mining clients view their world. The higher you get in the food chain, the more they can articulate their focus within this framework. Once on site, their priorities will fit within this framework, it just might not be articulated in the same way.

If you want to be even more successful as a METS company, start by aligning your message with their corporate speak. It could assist in moving through the hallways and getting even better traction.

So in summary.

  • Review your Value Proposition and ensure its about them, not you.
  • Ensure everyone who engages with clients knows the VP
  • Use their words, their language which ensures they feel you are aligned with them
  • Focus on the right mining client, what their bottlenecks, their priorities?
  • Discuss their risk reward strategies
  • Ask even more questions.

I hope this helps you get an even better ROI. Of course sometimes you can get even better results if you have an external person come and help – that’s what we do at SG Partners.

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