Oil & Gas

Creating a New Path to Digitalization for the Mining Industry

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Two Shell lubricant experts consult with a customer at a mine in Nevada.

In the current economic climate, many companies are naturally trying to work out priorities for their business strategies and decide how to best leverage opportunities as countries move into the recovery phase. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on digitalization and how it can help provide cost efficiencies, speed up delivery of products and services, enhance sustainability, and create new ways of working and keeping workforces safe.

That includes the mining industry, a sector with which my company Shell has served for many years. We believe that the benefits of digitalization that the energy sector has realized in recent years are eminently transferrable to the mining sector. That’s why Shell and IBM Services have teamed to create and launch the Oren Marketplace, to benefit mining companies with our combined sectoral knowledge, as well as our digital and technical expertise.

The applicable solutions that mining customers can benefit from include those that help them manage operations safely and efficiently in remote locations. Many of other the digital solutions Shell has developed for the energy market, such as remote sensors, can also help the mining industry accelerate innovation.

By engaging with more than 350 mining businesses across the value chain, Shell identified some significant parallels. Mining customers report approximately 80% of the same pain points: how to aggregate data from different sources to create a single view in order to derive insights and drive action; how to work across silo organizations; how to reduce the operating costs; and how to manage the energy transition.

Smoothing the Path

Speed of action is even more crucial in this current economic environment.

Mining companies feel competitive pressure to digitalize and modernize their processes. And yet, many of them don’t have the luxury of time or the spare budgets to develop their own solutions. They want reassurance that the new measures they adopt will actually achieve the desired results. What became really clear in our research is that the mining industry lacks a common database of knowledge and use cases they can access to discover best practices. They don’t have a central marketplace for obtaining new or field-proven technologies, innovations, products and services—whether from start-ups or experienced multinationals—to ease their path to digitalization.

That’s why we created Oren—a B2B digital marketplace that has been developed specifically for the mining sector.

True digital transformation occurs when an entire workflow is seamlessly connected and made more intelligent across the value chain to enable the owners of that workflow to draw out insights and act upon them. In the mining industry, that might include integrating the predictive maintenance solution from Shell Remote Sensors with the fleet efficiency solution from MachineMax and then also integrate that with IBM’s MRO part-stock management program. In that single example, there would be three tried and tested solutions, which were developed by different companies and for different use cases,  but together could deliver a more holistic and automated approach to a mining company’s maintenance program. And by having them accessed through a single digital marketplace, the entire procurement process is at the “touch of a button.” That approach really changes the whole experience for the mining industry.

Our vision for the Oren Marketplace is to be the go-to place for mining and many of the industrial sectors to truly drive digital transformation at scale. Oren will enable miners to find solutions to integrate and leveraging data, AI, IoT, automation and analytics to provide insights and to enable them to make better decisions.

As with all business sectors, as the world recovers from this global crisis, this new marketplace can help enable the mining industry to emerge smarter and more efficient than before.

Watch Mark Foster and Carol Chen discuss Oren at Think Digital

Carol Chen is Vice President for global lubricants marketing at Shell.

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