The COVID-19 crisis has opened the mining and metal industry’s eyes to new ways of operating, with companies adjusting supply chains and shifting to remote work. While these changes indicate a ‘new normal’, they’re just the first steps towards building long-term resilience.
Accenture has identified areas key to deeper change: including rethinking work and the workforce; connecting and extending the value chain; and defining and fostering a clear sense of purpose.
These will be influenced by new post-COVID realities.
Companies must adapt to governments’ evolving trade policies, decarbonisation requirements and more. Consumer sentiments are also vital indicators of demand for future products and materials that go into them. The experience companies provide employees, communities, indigenous groups and environmentalists will be important, given the potential for carbon neutrality to become the norm.
Investors are adopting a ‘profits-plus’ view that considers sustainability, social responsibility and transparency. Financial services firms are responding with an emphasis on sustainable investing , but institutional investors remain resistant to change. Sustainability and social responsibility are increasingly important to end consumers, who see collective action and responsibility as key to tackling large-scale challenges. Mining and metals must balance these tensions or risk more than their reputations.
Pre-pandemic, digital leaders had two-to-three times better performance. This year digitally savvy mining and metal companies rapidly shifted to remote operations, while others had to shut operations. Companies must use technology to enable automated, data-driven, efficient, sustainable and flexible working, with AI being particularly critical to supply chain resilience.
Accenture and the World Economic Forum collaboration throughout this year has determined that company ‘purpose’ is becoming critical. ‘Purpose’ drives, empowers and energises employees, enables consumer and customer impact, and unlocks untapped investor potential. The purpose should be embedded into the day-to-day business – everything from planning and maintenance, to the AIs that run operations. Companies already pivoting to a digital, sustainable and purpose-driven way of working have a head start – anyone reluctant to transform must catch up now. Because in a future where climate change will cause yet more instability, resilience is no longer an option; it’s a necessity.
Read Accenture's full analysis of post-COVID realities impacting the future of work in the mining and metals industry here.
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