Tuesday, 20 October 2020
Launching the BHP Supplier Innovation Program
Austmine Limited
/ Categories: Articles & Editorials

Launching the BHP Supplier Innovation Program

Written by Sundeep Singh, Group Procurement Officer, BHP

I am a strong believer that if you want to go far, go together. And with this premise I am extremely excited to share the launch of the Australian BHP Supplier Innovation Program, with our partner, Austmine. This exciting new program represents a different approach to engaging our partners in the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector, to help us find innovative solutions to mining challenges, together. The Australian METS sector is a valued partner to BHP, providing the ideas, skills and knowledge to solve many of our business challenges.

As our industry shifts towards more remote and technologically-enabled operations, our ability to build and leverage METS capability will be crucial to our competitive advantage. Recently, we’ve held a number of forums to engage the METS sector and listen to feedback about how we can provide greater access to our business, give suppliers first-hand insight into our focus areas and supply chain priorities, and develop real partnerships on the ground to solve our business challenges. The Supplier Innovation Program does just that.

This program is different to our usual approach to sourcing, where we know what we need to buy. Instead, we will go to the market with a question instead of an answer, and ask potential vendors how to solve it, by running a series of “challenges”. The “winning” solution will be trialled as a pilot to test the solution on site before its ongoing implementation. This approach makes it easier for the METS sector to put forward solutions to our business challenges and win opportunities for ongoing work, while also retaining their IP. And for BHP, it allows us to crowd-source a broader range of unique and innovative solutions to business problems.

The Australian program was developed following a successful program in our Minerals Americas business. One example from our Antofogasta operation was a project with a small supplier to improve crusher throughput by combining a 3D sensor system and machine learning algorithms to prevent operator delays in dusty conditions. This is one example of more than 50 innovation challenges that have involved around 500 METS suppliers. Through this new approach, we are incentivising entrepreneurial thinking, fostering ingenuity and building capability in our local communities.

We have never been more committed to supporting regional supply chains and Australia’s METS sector in delivering world-leading solutions for mining industry challenges. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit the BHP website here, or alternatively the Austmine website here and pitch your solution for the next BHP challenge.

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