The mineral and mining industries are essential for manufacturing organizations, as they provide the primary material for value-adding processes. However, the unique and complex needs of the supply chain in the mineral and mining industry are sometimes overlooked, translating into high costs for the businesses operating in the field and bottlenecks that are challenging to overcome.
As it becomes evident that logistics plays an essential role for these businesses to stay competitive, we’d like to highlight most common struggles of mining logistics and how digitization can positively impact their future.
The multimodal transportation approach
Given the complexity of the sector, the typically remote locations of the extraction points and the nature of the goods transported, a blend of customized vehicles, containers, warehousing, and local and international distribution is paramount to this industry. Transport processes need to be optimized and streamlined from entry to final settlement, whether managed by rail, road, river, short-and deep-sea maritime networks and whether international borders are involved.
Communication between stakeholders and proper visibility
From the operators working in the extraction points to those in the warehouses and the manufacturing units, the communication flow is critical. It is also not uncommon in the field to take decentralized and ad-hoc decisions (e.g., changes in loads, change in route) that need to be rapidly shared with the next stakeholders in the supply chain process.
A lack of communication during the process can easily lead to mistakes in estimations of volumes, under- and over-loading of containers and, in cases, the spoilage of a shipment due to inadequate storage conditions. Knowing the exact location of the materials at any point is crucial to ensure on-time deliveries and to be able to react quickly when needed.
Compliance with security and environmental standards
For a long time, activities in the mining and mineral world were hardly regulated, but that has come to an end with stricter security conditions and tightening environmental standards.
Sustainable transport planning is not the only solution for this sector. Still, it is an important one to keep in mind as organizations operating not only in Europe but also across the globe are pressed to become efficiency-driven and ensure low-emissions in their business processes.
Cost-cutting as the major struggle and challenge
From the above, we see that reducing operating costs and improves service with streamlined transportation management processes will lead to a positive impact on the mining supply chain and in the businesses operating in the sector.
Costs are high, and there is an even higher pressure to cut them down. According to Jenni Eckhardt and Jarkko Rantala in “Towards Innovative Freight and Logistics,” transport is one of the two crucial elements to be tackle to keep the industry profitable in the years to come.
How can digitalization, and more specifically a TMS solution, help?
Digitalization can positively impact the mineral and mining industry, and embracing technology seems to be the next logical step to solve some of the issues above. Given the diversity of raw materials involved and the particular needs of each business in this sector, technology needs to be flexible and adapt.
A transportation management solution like Alpega TMS, offering customizable modules and the possibility to grow with your business, is the perfect solution to kickstart the streamlining of the mining supply chain.
Our software solution helps you in planning and execution your transport, with the possibility to focus on those bottlenecks you want to solve first. If you need to get real-live updates on the status of the shipments and the transport process, maybe the real-time visibility network module is the right solution for you to start. But if you want to focus on loading and unloading on-site and warehouses, paperwork management, and optimizing the docks, you should opt for a smarter slot booking solution.