JOHANNESBURG; 09 February, 2022 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has launched its Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) marketplace platform with a focus on supply chain in mining. The platform has been developed in partnership with Adapt Digital Solutions and in collaboration with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to bridge the gap between mining companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“ESD supports South Africa’s growth and transformation imperatives and can unlock significant organisational value. Currently, SMEs make up about 98% of the formal business economy in SA, but only employ 28% of the working population,” states Kgomotso Lebele, Managing Director for Technology at Accenture in Africa. “If more jobs and growth opportunities are to be created, SMEs need to be represented more in the mining goods and services supply chain,” he adds.
According to Clive Govender, Managing Director, Adapt Digital Solutions (ADS), the cost of doing business for SMEs within the mining industry in South Africa is significant, and the transparency of procurement opportunities is also a serious challenge. “Our partnership with Accenture as a leading technology partner will help the mining companies to harness the use of technology and streamline the supplier on-boarding as well as associated supply chain processes.
We have spent some time researching what are the key aspects that make it difficult for SME’s to do business as well as the pain points of mining companies in doing business with SMEs. As a result, we have developed a technology solution (ESD Market Platform) that can enable linkages of SMEs to mining companies in a seamless manner and at scale to further promote business and create jobs in the industry,” says Govender.
According to Accenture, the platform gives mining companies access to suppliers and has the potential to bring more stability in communities if there is consistent and equal access to opportunities. Lebele emphasises: “Successful ESD can deliver multiple benefits. It actively promotes the economic wellbeing and advancement of historically disadvantaged people by supporting their businesses and employment creation. Also, it strengthens industries by deepening production and value-adding manufacturing capacity, as well as driving economic growth at a national level.
Accenture hopes to drive transparency about opportunities, industrialisation, localisation, youth- and women-owned company empowerment, classification of products and services, competitiveness and efficiency in the mining supply chain through the platform.
“Essentially, the platform puts the local supplier first, giving them visibility into opportunities that could lead to their participation in the supply chains of multiple mining companies with local operations. Beyond making opportunities visible, the platform helps local enterprises better understand and work towards meeting the requirements of mining companies,” states Lebele.
The ESD Platform needed to be cloud-based which is easily scalable and secure. Accenture worked with one of the ecosystem partners to conceptualise, design and build the ESD Marketplace. The company is also working with telecommunication companies to make the platform zero-rated – meaning, it does not intensively require data for access and makes it safe and able to integrate with other systems for mining companies. Lebele says that Accenture has included more than 30 mining services companies in its consultation process in developing the platform to ensure its relevance.
“Having central information is vital in a modern economy, as is targeted investment. It is time for the mining industry to change the way it interacts with suppliers. By using a digital platform, mines can extend their spend with SMEs across multiple procurement areas and support SMEs at a larger scale,” states Lebele. “At Accenture, we believe in the power of technology and how it can be could be leveraged to solve unemployment and inclusivity issues in South Africa,” he concludes.
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