Industry Outlook: How Market Data Helps Enhance GIW Services
“Don’t shut down the mill!” That’s a long-standing mantra at GIW Industries Inc.
“We’re all keenly aware of how important this idea is in our relationship with our customers — we never want to be the partner who lets them down,” Linda Clover, Manager of Analytics, Marketing, and Customer Service for GIW, explains.
This mindset encourages everyone at GIW to work toward ensuring their customers always have what they need, exactly when they need it — keeping their operations running smoothly. However, predicting customer needs isn’t an exact science.
The role of analytics in strategic planning
That’s where analytics, and Clover, come in. She and her team continuously monitor the general industry outlook from the slurry perspective to stay ahead of market challenges for GIW and its clients.
“We use macro-level information for strategic planning and current news to adjust actions to market realities,” she says. “For example, knowing that the global mining market was exiting a super boom period in the last few years, GIW focused more heavily on activities that would help mining customers operate more efficiently.”
In addition to the big-picture market influence, commodity prices also weigh into GIW’s business projections. Clover monitors the prices of oil, copper, gold, and iron ore, among other commodities, which can all directly and indirectly influence mining operations. As Clover explains, the ups and downs of commodity pricing play a big role in how GIW serves its customers.
Copper pricing, for example, experienced a boom in the mid-2000s that rocketed prices up over $4 per pound. “During that time, Greenfield projects were plentiful,” Clover recalls. “Once the supply and demand balance began to change and the economy slowed, the price of copper dropped. Copper mining companies had to focus on cost reduction and operating efficiency rather than expansion.”
It’s up to GIW to ensure their products and services make business easier for their customers, regardless of the markets. “GIW is a partner to many customers, continually assisting them to improve operating efficiency and reduce downtime. This is true during strong and weak markets,” Clover says. “At the end of the day, our customers have to deliver to their shareholders. We have to help them do that by providing products that help them reduce operating costs.”
Today’s market and tomorrow’s successes
So, what trends are we seeing in today’s markets — and how is GIW addressing those?
Many commodities, including iron ore, aluminum, copper, and gold, have experienced an overall decline in 2015 — a trend that is expected to continue through 2016. GIW’s current expectation is that the mining market will see an upturn in 2017 or 2018. Analysts expect the market to wait until 2017 for a rebound in oil prices as well.
While this may sound bleak, these predictions are remarkably helpful. In conjunction with what their operating customers are telling them, GIW is using these trends to steer focus toward solutions that allow their clients to cut operating costs and maximize efficiency.
For example, GIW is building larger pumps that ensure efficiency in operations that require a high volume of ore. They’re also developing and maintaining a large inventory of aftermarket parts and services that support longer wear life and, in turn, less downtime.
“One of the major costs for any operator is downtime,” Clover says. “GIW helps customers optimize the life of wearing components to match their preferred maintenance cycles. Just as importantly, GIW ensures spare parts are available when and where they are needed. Without spares, a customer could sit idle and watch dollars go down the drain. It is our goal to never let this happen.”
The next great opportunity
As GIW works with these predictions in mind, they’ll continue to stay ahead of the market so they can make informed decisions that benefit their business — and yours.
“GIW has been successful for many years due to our flexibility and commitment to work with customers to improve operating efficiency,” Clover says. “And in analytics, we will keep our eyes on the market, helping to steer us toward the next great opportunity.”