Weir Minerals Africa has been upgrading its supply chain system over the past four years and the company says its mining customers are feeling the positive effects.
According to Weir Minerals Africa’s supply chain director Luhann Holtzhausen, the company ships almost 800,000 bespoke items each year from its main distribution hub in Alrode, near Johannesburg, South Africa.
Leveraging both modern technology and an innovative management approach, it has raised its warehouse stock accuracies to 98% over the past four years, above the global benchmark of around 95%, the company said.
Holtzhausen said: “Our streamlined supply chain management ensures 70% of our products and components are delivered within two weeks of a sales order being received. Our inventory accuracy has also raised the on-time delivery performance over the last year above 90%.”
Between 3,000 and 5,000 parts are shipped each day from the Weir Minerals Africa Alrode facility. These volumes have grown 20% year-on-year since 2016, which the new systems can still comfortably manage in a single-shift operation, according to the company.
Eleven to 14 super-link trucks, which range in capacity up to 30 t, leave the facility each week to destinations in southern and central Africa. In addition, there are two to four container loads shipped to other destinations by sea.
Holtzhausen said: “Our new systems and processes provide management with real-time visibility of demand and stock in all offices across Weir Minerals Africa’s 75 stocking locations. This also gives us end-to-end velocity measurement to monitor the flow of goods from receipt at our warehouse to the actual time of delivery at the customer’s location.”
The same systems are installed at the company’s newly upgraded Kitwe distribution facility in Zambia, streamlining its capacity as a strategic distribution hub for central and east Africa, Weir said.
The benefits for customers of these improvements in supply chain efficiency include reduced lead times and less possibility of stock-outs on customer’s sites, the company said. “This, in turn, gives mines improved availability of equipment, less downtime and higher productivity.”
Holtzhausen concluded: “A significant advantage of optimal supply chain management is that customers gain confidence in our ability to deliver. This means that they can start holding less stock themselves and free up substantial amounts of their working capital.”