The mining industry in South Africa is a major growth area for RS South Africa, a global omni-channel provider of industrial and electronic products and solutions, according to sales director, Erick Wessels. The main challenge confronting the mining industry from a logistics perspective is that it tends to have a fragmented supplier base.
The remote nature of many mines in South Africa often means it is not logistically possible or feasible to keep a comprehensive spares stockholding on-site. Instead, the trend is to deal with suppliers who can bring parts to site quickly and efficiently. “Murphy’s Law is that the mine does not have the necessary spares for a piece of equipment that does break down, or they have incorrect or obsolete spares,” highlights Wessels.
In such an instance, having access to a reliable supplier is critical. RS is in a unique position to assist mines to consolidate their supplier base. Invariably, they can have hundreds if not thousands of suppliers listed on a central database, but the issue is how much they spend with all these suppliers on a yearly basis.
“Dealing with a single supplier provides a unified point of contact, access to a major inventory, and guaranteed logistical support to get the parts to you when you need them the most,” says Wessels. RS has service-level agreements (SLAs) in place with two major logistics partners to cover Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are in a unique position to approach mines and have strategic conversations with them about their holistic supply chain requirements,” says Wessels. RS provides inventory and maintenance solutions designed to reduce the total cost of ownership. “We do this by asking the right questions and understanding the mine’s supply chain and overall business strategy.”
RS positions itself as a business partner to assist the mine over the long-term to reduce costs and increase its production and efficiency. “What this allows us to do is to get out of the price discussion and instead talk about the total value we can add to the operation,” says Wessels.
With an offering of over 750 000 parts, components and devices, RS is well positioned to supply the mining industry with the quality and robust products it needs for its arduous and demanding operating conditions. The company also collaborates with its strategic suppliers like Fluke, 3M, Schneider, SMC and DeWalt to identify specific products that can be used by mines. This extends from test and measurement equipment to tooling, personal protective equipment and automation and electrification.
“Our vision as RS is to be the first choice for our people, our customers, our suppliers, and the communities we work in. We work hand in hand with our strategic partners and leverage off their expertise to service the mining industry with the best brands, the latest technology, and world-class logistics,” concludes Wessels.