The mining industry uses a variety of tools and equipment – both IT and non-IT – in its everyday activities. From drills and equipment to work down the mines to computers and software to run its operations, it handles a wide range of assets in decentralized locations. Thus, implementing asset management in the mining industry is not an option; it’s a must.
By doing so, companies will be able to track their assets, know their real-time status and location, manage their lifecycle, know if there is vacant stock, and optimize their investments overall.
Sounds complicated, but it might be easier than you think – with the right tools. Let’s take a look at its benefits and steps to implement an asset management strategy.
Why is it important to implement an Asset Management strategy?
For the mining industry, managing assets is tricky, not only because of the variety of elements, but also because it has to maintain them in optimal conditions so that they’re ready for work, and optimize the associated costs in the meantime. To further complicate things, the equipment is often deployed in less-than-ideal circumstances.
But assets are at the core of the mining companies. They are indispensable to doing the job right and on time. So, having a strategy to manage them is crucial. In this context, IT Asset Management principles can come in handy to not only manage the companies’ technology but also most of their non-IT assets. A proactive ITAM strategy will benefit these organizations in several ways:
- It will monitor IT assets to make sure they’re functioning properly.
- It will help them optimize the associated costs by properly handling contracts.
- It will contribute to minimizing the legal risks associated with their tools and platforms (another benefit of Contract Management).
- It will assist with compliance regarding data storage and processing.
- It will minimize IT equipment downtime by encouraging maintenance, which can be extremely costly for this particular industry.
And last but not least, proactive asset management is also important for creating a great employee experience. It will help ensure that the employees have the right tools to do their jobs easily and without exerting themselves unnecessarily while accelerating waiting times if something goes wrong with the equipment.
8 steps to do Asset Management in the mining industry
Now that you know why it’s time to explore the how. Here are eight steps to do Asset Management for both IT and non-IT assets.
1. Identify the company’s goals regarding Asset Management
The first step to ITAM is to identify the company’s general objectives and those related to its assets. The first ones will guide your team and actions’ goals, while the second ones will help you understand what the company wants to achieve with Asset Management.
Once that’s clear, the Asset Management team has to work with the stakeholders, employees, and executives to set goals and metrics for Asset Management. They have to explore the challenges the organization is facing with its equipment and tools, and identify the regulatory requirements, risks, and threats assets face.
2. Identify and document all the assets in the organization
After establishing the objectives and scope of the Asset Management strategy, the next step is to map the assets. Having complete visibility of your tech stack (and non-tech items as well) will improve your decision-making process, help you distribute assets according to the company’s needs, and save some money in the process
To map IT assets, you can use ’s Network Discovery feature. By installing an agent in your devices (which can be done remotely), the tool will automatically discover and map all the assets connected to your network. All you need to do is select the ones you are interested in tracking, and they will be automatically added to your IT inventory.
And that’s not all, because the agent will also report installed software so that you can also manage your licenses, detect unauthorized assets, protect the company from shadow IT, implement a patch management strategy, understand software usage, and be ready for a software audit.
As for the hardware and non-IT assets, it’s best to standardize the processes before beginning and automate them if possible. You can use InvGate Insight’s QR code generator to create and attach QR codes on physical assets as you go through asset discovery. QR codes can help businesses quickly track physical assets and get all the information related to them.
3. Evaluate the risks that the assets pose
Once the ITAM team has collected all the assets’ information, the next step is to evaluate the risks associated with them.
All the mining equipment poses a safety risk if they malfunction or is not operated with care. Mining equipment may also be subjected to audits from regulatory authorities and can incur fines or penalties if they’re not found compliant with safety standards.
On the other hand, software platforms and solutions also pose the risk of failing license audits. While they may not necessarily incur legal action, failed software audits can be expensive. In addition, IT hardware and software will also face threats of cyber attacks and malware that can bring down the infrastructure and slow down operations.
4. Build an Asset Management strategy
Once you have a complete picture of the company’s objectives, assets, and potential risks, you’re ready to build an Asset Management strategy that works best for the organization.
Though you need to tailor it to the particular needs and context of the company, an ITAM strategy typically covers every aspect of the asset lifecycle – from acquisition, maintenance, upgrades, and disposal – and is structured based on asset management software.
The ultimate goal of having a plan is to get ahead of problems and address them before they appear. This way, you can ensure the workflows and productivity are not affected.
5. Evaluate if the assets are enough to support the company’s operations
Now that you have a plan, you need to execute it. Based on the information you collected, and the steps you established to have a proactive approach to Asset Management, evaluate if the organization’s existing infrastructure and assets are enough to support its mining operations.
In this step, it’s relevant to explore if the assets’ performance or requirements are holding back the operations from peak efficiency. Maybe there isn’t enough equipment to support the operations, or the digital tools don’t offer complete visibility over the operations.
Whatever the case, make sure to elaborate a proposal to close any gaps or bottlenecks you encounter – and don’t forget to collect feedback from the employees and stakeholders about their asset requirements during the research process! They are the ones doing the job, so they should get a saying in what they need to perform it.
6. Set up a monitoring strategy for assets
A proactive ITAM strategy also requires companies to monitor assets for performance and usage. For mining equipment such as safety harnesses, lighting equipment, and others, the ITAM team should set up regular inspections.
And for IT hardware, you can use InvGate Insight’s Health Rules. By setting up the criticality parameters, you can monitor technological assets and receive an alert whenever they need attention. By automating monitoring, you get optimum results with minimal resources.
Meanwhile, make sure to also use InvGate Insight to monitor IT software licenses to minimize software costs and ensure compliance with licensing requirements, and to keep an eye on contracts and assets’ physical locations since mining operations often lease and rent equipment.
7. Build updates and patch management policies
Companies need a comprehensive policy to manage updates and patches for their hardware and software systems. Over time, vendors may release updates for device firmware and security patches for software solutions, so you need to stay on top of these to avoid security issues.
The best way to do this is to establish a set of rules and basic steps for vulnerability management – and this is another area where InvGate Insight can help! With just a few clicks, you can generate custom reports to ensure everything is up to date.
8. Optimize and improve continuously
ITAM is not a static process; it has to be constantly analyzed and improved upon. So, the last step to do Asset Management in the mining industry (and in all industries, for that matter) is to always be improving.
Use InvGate Insight to create strategic reports, keep track of the metrics, and iterate ITAM strategies to optimize them without forgetting the ultimate goal: that the company assets support its goals.
The mining industry is highly regulated with specific standards for all the equipment, as well as the software and hardware solutions that support the activities. So, a comprehensive Asset Management strategy is essential to meet these requirements and achieve its goals.
Doing Asset Management will help mining companies with:
- Planning and budgeting
- Managing operations
- Maintenance, repairs, and disposal of equipment
- Security and compliance
And the best way to take advantage of its benefits is to have proper ITAM software on your side to maintain an up-to-date inventory, automate tasks, monitor assets, and improve based on data. It’s not enough to do Asset Management on a spreadsheet, you need a powerful solution on your side to have clear documentation and real-time information on your assets.