The front line of mining may well be trucks and shovels, but they could not operate unless backed up by a reliable supply chain. An intriguing insight into how supply chains work comes from the website of John Higgs Consulting.

Not to put too fine a point on it, here are some of the things involved, and which John and staff will do for you to get you the best supply chain possible:

  • Supply chain solutions, including strategic supply chain management health checks and best practice reviews.
  • Inventory solutions including inventory performance analysis, inventory segmentation analysis, cataloguing concepts and principles.
  • Procurement solutions including procurement pricing and cost analysis.

True John Higgs is in Australia, as is Supply & Allied Services who provide procurement services to “overseas” customers.

If you are in South Africa things may be very different. To get an idea of how different, take a look at the presentation by Mashego Maleka of Harmony: Procurement in Mining Environment. Or see the AngloGold Ashanti procurement website.

Internationally there is Establish who describe their procurement consulting services thus:

Procurement Assessment. A comprehensive review of your procurement organization for best practices and potential weaknesses. Results in opportunities for improvement and potential implementation recommendations.

Strategic Sourcing. A structured approach to conducting spend baseline, selecting procurement approaches, developing the bid, analyzing bid responses, and supporting supplier negotiations for chosen commodities and/or services.

Business Process Outsourcing. Procurement is oftentimes not a core competency and external expertise can bring proven experience and strategies. Outsourcing one or more procurement initiatives can lead to cost savings.

Spend Analysis. A detailed analysis of how your company is spending its financial resources. Spend can be segmented by supplier, by commodity, by department to highlight problem spending.

Procurement Training. To support your organization’s current procurement projects, training can be added as necessary to incorporate expert tools and approaches for effective purchasing.

Most big consulting companies, accounting firms, lawyers, and the rest will also provide insight and assistance in reviewing your mine’s procurement and inventory control practices.