A challenging market is an innovative market – and the industry today is providing an environment ripe for developing fresh approaches to doing business better.
In drill & blast, five trends have emerged that are helping to improve miners’ bottom lines:
- Linking KPIs to productivity. This means changing KPIs to focus on the outcomes of the D&B process, such as improving dig rates and reducing mining costs, rather than the inputs of drilling as many metres as possible and loading as many tonnes of explosives as possible.
- Implementing effective continuous improvement programs. In the first instance, this means creating an engaged workforce that understand the personal and company benefits of finding ways to do things better. Then, ensure the cycle of continuous improvement does not lose momentum through ongoing motivation that is communicated from the top down.
- Project gain sharing. Clients can incentivise contractors to provide quality services rather than just a cheap service through gain sharing. One model is to share the savings achieved if the contractor achieves a better result in practice than the theoretical financial model.
- Applying the $/bcm model to other markets, e.g. coal. The contracting fee model based on price per blasted cubic metre is broadly utilised in gold, iron ore and other mineral markets. The cost and productivity advantages of this approach are now being recognised in the coal sector where historically contractors price their service based on a metres drilled and tonnes of explosives used. Integrated D&B providers offering this BCM approach are delivering significant value adds.
- Providing a tailored approach. A one size fits all approach no longer applies today. Tailored drilling and tailored explosives solutions are what’s needed to meet quality, cost efficiency and productivity expectations. This means selecting best-for-project explosives (to reduce the quantity explosives required) and delivering quality holes (to reduce the number of holes required and optimise the blast) to achieve an overall outcome of improved digability and reduced costs.