INSIGHTS FROM OUR EXPERTS IN THE MINING FIELD IN AFRICA
An interview about Fluiconnecto's mining division in Africa, with Colin Hood (FLC Africa General Manager) and Greg Bowman (Mining Sales Manager).
The Mining activity in Africa is arguably the most important and busiest in the region. This sector alone represents almost 90% of Fluiconnecto Africa market share.
Fluiconnecto Africa has been working on growing its participation in the mining sector within the continent, strengthening the company’s presence in the region with new On-site Workshops supporting mining houses and developing strong alliances with leading manufacturing brands. The purpose of these strategic actions is to benefit customers with lower prices and improved availability while bringing the manufacturers to their doorsteps.
In this brief interview, Colin Hood (FLC Africa General Manager) and Greg Bowman (Mining Sales Manager) share the most important outcomes and lessons learned from their experience in the field and give some insights from what can be expected in the future from Fluiconnecto Mining Division in Africa.
In your professional experience, what are the most common challenges faced by customers in the Mining sector? And how can they be tackled?
Colin: In Africa, we face many challenges, especially in the mining activity where conditions are extreme; risks are higher than in other activities and unexpected failures represent costly downtime.
One of our main challenges as Fluiconnecto is to keep our customers’ machines running with minimum downtime. The only way to achieve this is by having the right stock available in the right place. Our approach to complying with this requirement is to conduct thorough inspections, carried out by our well-trained technicians.
Fluiconnecto certified hose technicians ensure that inspections are conducted on a regular basis as a preventive maintenance action (as part of our flui-ID program). To guarantee that our staff is competent and properly trained to perform the inspections, as well as other technical activities, we rely on specialized Fluiconnecto and Manuli certified trainers. Our trainers conduct dedicated courses in all Fluiconnecto countries in Africa, covering introductory topics for new technical personnel, as well as refresher courses for all technical personnel. With these two important aspects in place: dedicated stock availability and certified technicians, we tackle the main challenges in the field, keeping our customers satisfied and their machines running.
Greg: The mining sector within Africa is a very complex industry. In addition to the challenges in the field that Colin has mentioned, there are many other factors changing from day to day that can affect the activity. For Fluiconnecto, as a supplier, these changes can represent new challenges on the ground to overcome. As a global company, we are prepared to face these challenges and continue to provide solutions to our customers that keep their operations running.
In our experience working across Africa, we found social, environmental and cultural, not to mention local laws and logistics being totally different. As a local supplier, we adapt to these conditions and continuously learn from our experiences. We live and learn each day!
On the other hand, as we also work with several customers operating in various African countries, we realize that we all face similar challenges year on year. One of these challenges is to maintain the standards across countries. As a global supplier, we have the capabilities to supply internationally, deliver high-quality products and comply with international requirements, such as certifications and type approvals for the Mining sector (e.g. MSHA, FRAS).
What are the expectations for the coming years for the Mining sector in Africa?
Greg: The expectations going forward are high. Not only is the mining industry becoming more diverse, but also the demand for new commodities is growing. For example, by following the drive to reduce our global footprint on emissions, the automotive industry is taking a crucial turn towards electric vehicles. This change will ramp up the demand for copper and in turn increase the mining activity, especially in East Africa. Another example of the upcoming changes is the growing popularity and significant increase in demand for new commodities such as Bauxite, Lithium, and Palladium. These and other new commodities are steering the research and development of new mining extraction methods, which will consequently generate demand for new equipment.
As it is evident, the forecast of mining in Africa is rapidly increasing. What is more important is to be aware of these changes and be prepared to meet the new expectations and demands in the field. As Fluiconnecto, we are aware of these developments and are working on not only keeping up with the changes but also leading to innovations in products and services.
Colin: Complementing Greg’s points, Fluiconnecto has already achieved a prominent footprint in Africa and we plan to spread this footprint into more African countries that require our Hydraulic and lubrication expertise, our aim is to support our existing clients in the mining industry as well as new clients that require our expertise and if this requires opening in new African countries this is our mission.
What can customers in Africa expect from Fluiconnecto regarding solutions for their operations?
Colin: One of Fluiconnecto’s main strengths is its knowledgeable personnel, with many years of experience in the mining sector. This core feature of our company ensures the delivery of professional services in every Fluiconnecto location.
With the support of our key suppliers, Fluiconnecto will ensure customers quality products that solve their problems, backed by first-class services. This strategic combination will ensure the availability of their machines, increasing their productivity in the harsh environment of mines in Africa.
Fluiconnecto is fortunate to have experienced staff in all our countries, who have many years of experience in the mining sector, which ensures our clients a professional service. We are committed to operating and supporting the mining sector in Africa for the long run.
Greg: In our quest to support all our customers in the most efficient way, we constantly strive to find the adequate solutions for the right applications. As our number one priority, we look to keep the machines running to meet production targets. With every improvement we introduce in our offer, we have managed to get closer to this objective. For example, so far we have been able to reduce machine downtime by taking a preventive approach to maintenance, with the launch and implementation of our innovative fluid-ID program. With these innovations, we are confident that Fluiconnecto will keep on meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations.