Monitoring technology facilitates live tracking of explosives supply

CUSTOMER DEMANDS TRACKED AEL Miing Services' advanced monitoring technology provides a visual representation of the amount of emulsion stored on site at any time

CUSTOMER DEMANDS TRACKED AEL Miing Services' advanced monitoring technology provides a visual representation of the amount of emulsion stored on site at any time

27th May 2016

By: Kimberley Smuts

Creamer Media Reporter


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Commercial explosives producer and supplier AEL Mining Services has developed advanced monitoring technology to provide a fully integrated system that ensures technologically advanced supply chain management.

Launched last month, the technology will be deployed throughout the year to AEL sites in South Africa and then internationally to other business subsidiaries.

AEL Mining Services global supply chain manager Denvor Govender tells Mining Weekly that the majority of mining houses in Africa are looking to their supply chains to cushion the impact of the volatile commodities price environment. “It is at times like these that suppliers have to adapt, segment and tailor solutions to customers’ needs,” he says.

AEL’s advanced monitoring technology screens its fixed and mobile silos and its multimodal logistics capabilities.

Govender explains that the chemicals and explosives transportation industry lacks an integrated visible supply chain, noting that, by introducing digital technology, AEL now has visibility of its entire supply chain.

The company’s supply chain involves keeping track of customer demands and monitoring inventory, as well as supplying, transporting and storing bulk explosives and emulsions.

“Our robust African supply chain relies on companies with global technology standards, coupled with an understanding of the different social, economic and geographic conditions across the continent. The combination of these two approaches result in adaptability and agility to meet the needs of mining operations in Africa,” says Govender.

The company’s advanced monitoring technology provides a visual representation of the amount of emulsion stored on site at any time. It can monitor silos and tankers on route, as well as their delivery and dispatch time using a live feed. It can also detect declining inventory levels in silos and dispatch emulsion to replenish a silo immediately. The technology communicates this data to the sales and operations planning team. This data is then fed into the production line accordingly.

AEL uses this technology to predict customer demands and behaviour as, Govender explains, the mining industry can be volatile and erratic, owing to falling commodity prices on which mining company’s base their production targets. He notes that it, therefore, becomes difficult to predict customer behaviour over the long term.

The technology can forecast customer needs using statistical, demand-driven accuracy. It tracks a customers’ historic buying patterns to analytically predict their future demands. This projection will then be tested once the customer places an order.

With a fully integrated network available to AEL’s supply chain mana- gement teams, decisions can be made regarding the redeployment of products in transit to other sites or operations, as and when required.

For example, there could be a truck en route to a mine site delivering product while at that same site, machinery could break down and blasting on site will no longer be necessary. Being able to monitor customer demands prevents additional inventory from being shipped or produced.

The technology’s ability to pinpoint any AEL silos in the region allows for an order or cargo to be redeployed for storage at another silo in the region if an order is cancelled and it is not in the company’s best interest to bring the cargo back. “If you do not have a built-in mechanism or an agile supply chain, you will not be able to respond to changing demands effectively,” notes Govender. Therefore, he maintains that techno- logy plays a crucial part in a company’s avoiding unnecessary costs, by allowing for flexibility.

He adds that having the knowledge of local conditions is vital in implementing effective distribution, as explosive products are classified differently in different countries. Therefore, approvals are required from the various autho- rities, as well as specific transport and handling methods.

AEL emphasises that customer service is paramount and, therefore, the company has not created a one-size-fits-all supply chain, but has focused on customer segmentation, tailor- making its supply chain according to customers’ requirements.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor



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