Continuity, contingency and local focus pay dividends

Wed April, 22nd 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted just how important supplier relationships and backup contingencies can be in business.

As border closures and travel restrictions came into force, state and federal governments remained united on one thing – mining must go on.

The major miners quickly adapted, bringing workers into the states where they operated, adjusting rosters and ensuring all necessary precautionary measures were in place.

Elastomers Australia worked closely with our clients to address and mitigate any risks associated with onsite services. Having service branches and specialised staff located within the main mining regions and states has greatly simplified that process.

We identified the right transport partners we knew would not be hindered by cross-border travel and split our manufacturing shifts so that if one team was potentially exposed to COVID-19, there were adequate resources across other teams to maintain manufacturing operations.

While governments were careful to address human resourcing, freight and direct supply issues for the mining sector, an area that remains at risk is the lengthy supply chain that may not have direct involvement in mining and therefore not be regarded as essential services.

But Elastomers Australia has addressed this issue on a number of fronts.

The first is by commencing an information campaign directed at state and federal government ministers, industry associations, clients and our supplier networks to ensure there is a clear understanding of the chain of reliance to keep mining operational.

We knew that governments in key mining jurisdictions such as WA and Queensland were likely to support our position, but felt it necessary to consult with those that may be in a position to make decisions that could inadvertently but adversely impact miners’ ability to maintain production levels.

The second relates more to Elastomers Australia’s longstanding business strategy – focused on developing and maintaining local manufacturing facilities that provide customised screening products / solutions which assist customers in optimising plant performance, mitigating risk and lowering overall costs.

In order to provide quick response times to the ever-changing market, the manufacturing of tailored screening products supported by specialised tooling and equipment is also another area that, when reliant on international products and services, is at risk.

As part of its long-term strategy to help better serve the market, Elastomers Australia has maintained in-house Innovations and Tooling departments with specialised skills rather than using potentially cheaper but riskier offshore options.

The outcome is that business continues largely as usual for Elastomers Australia.

We are ensuring continuity of supply to customers around the country, both when it comes to product manufacturing and delivery, and availability of onsite service personnel.

These are certainly interesting and challenging times, and Elastomers Australia is prepared for the future.