Every mining company sells product to someone. While this looks very different for an integrated diamond company than it does for an iron ore miner, in all cases, the success of this customer relationship can fundamentally affect the company’s success.
Engaging the Customers of a Mine
As with most industries, mining can have a lengthy supply chain reaching from the mine face all the way to your home where final products can end up. Some fully integrated mining companies own the whole supply chain from the mine to the retail experience. Other mining companies only own the extraction and initial processing components of the supply chain, so their customers are the companies that follow them in the product process.
The experience of today’s mining customer is no longer governed by the physical handshake between two company representatives. It is a much more complex digital relationship that involves integrated transaction flows and marketing or retail channels. Let’s explore three ways that mining companies engage their customers. Then we’ll look at how Cisco technology and services can ensure this experience is optimized for the needs of both sides in the transaction.
Distribution and Fulfillment
For mining companies that deliver raw materials to their customers, the interaction is characterized by a physical delivery plus all the accompanying electronic transaction data. Long term supply agreements are often in place and the day-to-day interaction is more about coordinating product demand, supply, and all the associated data.
For a small number of large vertically integrated companies, like DeBeers in the diamond industry and Nutrien in the agriculture industry, only one part of their large operation is mining. At the other end of the supply chain is a retail experience where consumers or wholesale customers are engaged with a full marketing experience.
Value Added Services
In all companies the opportunity is there to re-define the customer relationship by providing related value-added services that fit with the nature of the relationship. Here are a few examples:
- Mine operators or transport companies can offer storage or delayed delivery to accommodate demand fluctuations for wholesale customers
- These same suppliers can package multiple materials and services together in keeping with the customer’s needs
- Every mining company can offer information services that are complementary to their company’s operation – an example of this is a diamond company’s published document outlining each diamond’s journey from the mine face to the consumer; or a potash miner’s farm services portfolio for geo encoded nutrient data and precision GPS services
Today’s data rich supply chain provides many opportunities to leverage information for valuable services to every customer.
The Impact of Cisco Technology
Cisco has a rich history of adding value across the industrial supply chain and in retail environments. Here are some examples of use cases that are valuable when engaging a mining customer.
Distribution and Fulfillment
As product leaves the processing mill, it accumulates in a shipping area. Where to from here? In many supply chains this is where the distribution systems take over. Cisco has worked with many kinds of customers to achieve highly automated distribution systems. Mining’s material doesn’t come in brown boxes or on pallets, but many of the logistical and order system challenges are similar. Here are a few examples of how Cisco can help:
Fully integrated mining companies experience many of the same challenges and opportunities that other retailers around the world are working through. In some cases, the customer is a wholesale relationship and in others, an integrated mining company has physical and online stores to connect directly with the consumer. Cisco works with retailers globally on a wide range of use cases from customer engagement, security, efficient product handling, and many more. Here are a few references.
Physical and Cyber Security
Business Process Performance
Visibility into how customers experience your business and how well business processes are working can be very valuable in optimizing operations and ultimately guiding future strategic decisions. Cisco has a wide range of visibility tools. Some give you visibility into physical network infrastructure, but the most recent tools, and possibly the most valuable, are application monitoring and business process monitoring tools. The following links will take you to more information about these latest tools and how retail customers have used them.
The customer relationships of any mining company present a new opportunity to grow value through a great experience and value-added services. Cisco has multiple technology solutions that optimize these customer experiences and services.
Find out more about how Cisco helps mining companies engage with their customers at: