Mines served by Weir Minerals Africa have experienced considerable added value through the company’s upgrades to its supply chain system.
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. 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%.
“Our streamlined supply chain management ensures 70% of our products and components are delivered within two weeks of a sales order being received,” says Holtzhausen. “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 shipping volumes have seen a 20% year-on-year growth since 2016, which the new systems can still comfortably manage in a single-shift operation. Eleven to fourteen super-link trucks, which range in tonnage 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 which are shipped to other destinations by sea.
“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,” he says. “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. 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; this in turn gives mines improved availability of equipment, less downtime and higher productivity.
“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,” he says.