Africa is renowned for its burgeoning mining sector. Mining processes and big gems catch media attention, but there is less focus on the movement of crucial mining equipment. How much do you know about companies that transport essential mining and construction equipment in and outside of Africa? ABR speaks to Daisy Kgosi, Head of Procurement at Barloworld Equipment for a detailed insight into the supply chain aspect of transporting this equipment.
Barloworld Equipment is the sole dealer for Cat earthmoving machines and other mining and constructing equipment in several countries. It operates in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga province. The company has existed for over 100 years and is supported by 62 billion rand firm Barloworld Limited.
As Head of Procurement, Kgosi manages the procurement of indirect goods and services. Kgosi tells us about how she got this role. “I started my career in the automotive industry in a supply chain training environment,” she says. “After, I moved to management consulting, where I was exposed to underground mining supply chains. My role evolved from just management consultant into strategic sourcing specialist for underground mining equipment. Through this experience, I was then recruited into Barloworld Equipment.” Kgosi was a Strategic Sourcing Manager before landing her current role.
Kgosi leads one of two supply chain departments. “We've got two supply chain departments: we have a supply chain related to the distribution of Cat equipment. This does not fall within my responsibility. My role is more to do with all categories of goods and services that are supporting the organisations’ processes,” Kgosi explains. Kgosi’s supply chain enables business to support the customers, ensuring that Barloworld is able to deliver the services required. It covers facilities and transportation of parts to customers and the sourcing of third party contractors.
Well-versed in procurement, Kgosi describes wider industry trends. For example, the supply chain market is simplifying buying technology. “You have easy access to your catalogue; you can actually log on to your ERP system and have live information in terms of what your approved supplier base is able to offer you as a business. Especially in a changing market environment, that is one things that we are struggling with.”
Barloworld Equipment keeps up with the industry through innovative projects. Vision 2020 is one such development. “Vision 2020 is about inspiring a world of difference as an organisation and creating shared value that makes a positive difference for all our stakeholders. It does this by building a world class business generating superior shareholder return,” Kgosi explains.
“From a procurement perspective, our vision is to create a procurement function which is supported by high performance procurement capabilities. We do this to ensure that we add value to the wider business and also to ensure recognisable impact on our company's bottom line. That's how we align with our corporate strategy.”
Barloworld Equipment doesn’t stand alone; it works closely with likeminded suppliers. “We have regular engagements with all our service providers and to get to a situation where it's a win-win relationship,” Kgosi states. To Barloworld Equipment, suppliers are invaluable partners. It’s not in the company’s interests to drive its suppliers’ prices down and risk running them out of business. Rather, the firm makes the effort to thoroughly understand its suppliers and in turn, give them the opportunity to understand Barloworld Equipment. Kgosi says, “In terms of innovation we heavily rely on our suppliers to say ‘okay’. For example, there is a new innovation that is available in the market and we believe it can create savings within our customers’ businesses. These are the type of suppliers we look for and maintain relationships with.”
However, not just any company can be a Barloworld Equipment supplier. A supplier must align with the company’s core values. “It’s a little bit difficult to work with somebody that doesn’t fully align with your values,” Kgosi affirms. Barloworld Equipment also looks for suppliers that are progressive in their use of technology. They also do a lot of business with small to medium enterprises (SMEs), because they believe that not only do SMEs have a reduced turnaround time, they have a large impact on Barloworld Equipment’s economy. Kgosi adds, “you get to work directly with the CEO or the owner of the business as opposed to bigger corporations.” Barloworld Equipment seeks out suppliers that are interested in the economic transformation of Africa.
Along with acquiring and maintain relationships with suppliers, Barloworld Equipment have several other plans for the future. We plan to step up our sustainability efforts. “We will ensure that we get the right skills and capabilities in-house and also develop a governance framework that will ensure sustainability in the long term. I think a combination of the right skills, the right governance framework and the right technology will ensure sustainability,” Kgosi says.
The organisation also wants to enhance its current way of doing business. We want to ensure efficiencies, visibility and transparency of spend. “We are currently busy with our procurement transformation programme; part of our overall business transformation,” Kgosi reveals. Barloworld hasn’t started this programme yet, but Kgosi tells us it’s in the pipeline. “It’s taken us longer than we expected, but it will transform the way we do procurement because we have done an overall assessment of all our activities and we have identified a lot of opportunities where we can create value and add value to the entire business. That’s one very exciting project we’re working on”.