How Field Service Management Can Help You Stay Upbeat In a Downturn

Following the end of the mining boom, investment is weak, growth is slow and prices are soft. At the same time, competition is heating up, with mergers in engineering groups creating bigger global companies chasing a share of a shrinking market.

As the big miners shelve or delay major projects, the downturn has a flow on effect to businesses servicing this sector. Both the big miners and the companies that service them have embarked on cost cutting and mass layoffs. Australian mining industry employment decreased by 1.9% (3,650 people) between June 2012 and June 2013, to 189,692 people at June 2013[1]. It’s a big hit for an industry worth over $200bn, which employs more than 180,000 people.

Companies in this sector face two significant challenges: More companies competing for less work with a reduced workforce on the one hand – and the imperative to maintain the high levels of efficiency, safety and service on the other.

Over the past decade, mining has experienced the biggest fall in productivity of any sector, according to a Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics report[2]. The Bureau identified a growth in innovations, a more skilled workforce, and a faster rate of adoption of better off-the-shelf technologies as key drivers of change in assisting the Australian mining sector push up productivity growth.

Riding out the market conditions is not an option – innovation is key. This means a greater use of smart technologies to improve overall company performance. This includes using machine-to-machine communication to provide continuous and accurate information on the status of mining equipment to improve investment decisions and asset performance. It also means using cloud and mobile solutions to collect and present data to deliver on-demand reports to improve asset utilisation and reliability, minimise downtime and optimise fleet resources.

The ServiceMax cloud-based field service management solution delivers precisely what Australia’s miners need: A seamless end-to-end solution that delivers timely and accurate information to drive productivity and performance in field service operations. And it converts your field service operation from a cost centre to a revenue driver, through customer retention and innovation. It's not a burden - it's a source of revenue.

To navigate the post-boom environment, major operators need to mine for more than resources – they need to dig deep to find new opportunities and ways of working to grow business while managing costs.

The winners will be those who can differentiate from their competitors by harnessing and sharing deep technical knowledge and capability within their organisation to provide better service – and greater value to their customers around the world, from their base in Australia.

[1]Source: 8415.0 Mining Operations Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012-13
[2]Source: Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, Productivity in the Australian Mining Sector, March 2013

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