Avoiding The Risk of Obsolescence in a Cyclical Industry

Mining is cyclical. With the new political climate in the U.S., restrictive regulations are expected to be lifted, at least in part. Coal is in high demand in China, and the market for other precious metals is growing.

What does this uplift in the cycle mean for mining in the U.S.? And how can junior miners get ready for the potential ramp up of productive mines?

At the MINExpo in November of 2016 we found that while most miners and junior miners we spoke with were optimistic about the future of the industry, they did share with us some of the frustrations surrounding I.T. that they deal with every day.

After decades in the mining and I.T. industry, the AddOns team understands these struggles and understands that managing your I.T. should not be of concern ONLY during good times.

Common pain points and concerns include:

  • Becoming obsolete.
  • Extending the life of assets in a cyclical economy.
  • Staying current with I.T. technology, functionality, and security during good times and bad.

These are global concerns. Austmine, the leading industry body in Australia for the mining equipment, technology, and services (METS) sector, summed it up this way: “(This upward swing) creates a period of forced change where the industry will race to adapt in a variety of ways, including the streamlining of its business processes.”

KPMG recommends taking, “a risk perspective on technology management.” In a recently published White Paper, they caution that “senior executives need to look at how the relationship between technology risk and business value changes over time. Only by putting the organization’s appetite for risk in context with value and time will they be able to make more informed decisions.” Mining executives should focus on evaluating evolving operational technology to improve production in the field, not back-office I.T.

It’s essential to have a program and platform in place that consistently keeps your systems up-to-date as changes occur. We ensure our customers’ I.T. services are one, or two, steps ahead of the cycle, removing the guesswork or the need to assess risks AFTER the fact. At AddOns, we understand that a last minute, reactive approach is expensive, stressful, and negatively impacts the whole organization.

But, keeping up is not for the faint of heart and is particularly difficult for smaller operations. Organizations often maintain a robust and skilled I.T. staff in good times, but, once the trend turns down, staff is scaled back and can become over-burdened. This staffing inconsistency can lead to challenges in institutional memory as well as software and equipment obsolescence. Before you know it, you are faced with an expensive upgrade or decision to purchase new hardware and enterprise software.

The days of large ERP implementation projects and upgrades are gone. Instead, we partner with our customers, and the software vendors we represent, to stay current. Your next “upgrade” or new project should be your last. Moving to a continuously available application with ongoing continuous improvement services means no more expensive upgrades, no longer facing obsolescence. Our customers stay current with software releases and continually improve processes by optimizing user adoption.  Training is not a one-time activity. Staying current means continuous training too.  Our goal is to do so with the least amount of business disruption while staying under an affordable, predictable budget. AddOns offers a painless migration path of current I.T. systems from on-premise functions to the Cloud so our mining clients can focus on their CORE BUSINESS: MINING!

Moreover, technological advances also require 24/7 monitoring, and a constant updating of skills and technical knowledge of an ever-changing environment …skills that most in the mining industry don’t have the time for. For example, the Internet of Things with its many industry benefits also presents challenges, such as security breaches, overwhelming amounts of data and connectivity in remote locations. The AddOns’ team HAS that specificity of knowledge and those current skills; we help our customers stay current, strategically plan and prepare, and weather the inevitable ups and downs of the industry.

THE ADDONS’ SOLUTION

AddOns provides access to world-class I.T. technical and functional applications that serve the mining industry. Our people know the mining business; most have spent their entire 20+ year careers working in or around mines. We stay on top of the latest developments in information technology such as protecting against cyber security attacks, providing the fastest most reliable access to systems from your most remote mines, and keeping your all-important enterprise applications up to date. We help junior miners improve their asset maintenance, their materials procurement processes, and help human resource management connect to the backend general ledger for accurate and timely accounting. We have tools to help mobile workers access their work orders on a tablet and executives approve purchase orders and other critical tasks on the go.

Stay current. Don’t buy your own hardware only to have it become obsolete within a year. Don’t buy software that isn’t offering continuous improvement and easy release management. Instead, share space on OUR efficient servers in our secure and available data center. Share our expertise with other mining companies who depend on AddOns for continuous improvement. When technology advances, we advance with it and your predictable monthly fee stays the same.