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Mining Sector Recovery Drives Growth, While Customised Service Drives Differentiation
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Enhanced mining production levels and a recovery in CAPEX for plant, machinery, and equipment drive the demand for mining lubricants and greases in the Australian market. Mining CAPEX peaked in 2012 and rapidly declined, and steady improvement as seen in the recent past is likely to continue. However, price sensitivity among customers will restrain market revenue growth. Generic types of lubricants account for almost 40% of the total mining lubricant volume. In this market, manufacturing know-how is widely understood and readily accessible. As a result, there is very little product differentiation. Therefore, price is still the first negotiation point in the sale process. This is aggravated by significant price pressure from large miners. In addition, an increased number of suppliers and consequently intensified competition restrain average prices.Australia’s advanced mining market has attracted new lubricant suppliers. Existing suppliers who cater to other industrial sectors have begun to focus on mining, expecting to capitalise on the increasing demand. Finally, inadequate understanding and appreciation of lubrication benefits among customers continues to hamper market development. Very often, the link between effective lubrication management and operating cost savings is not visible to miners. Furthermore, staff training in terms of lubrication best practices is inadequate and infrequent.Recycled lubricants and biodegradable lubricants, while still only a fraction of the total lubricants market, has the potential to reduce volume growth opportunity in the long term. The proportion of mobile plant application of lubricants will increase steadily. The market share of imported products will also increase slightly during the medium term.The top 5 suppliers accounted for 80% of the total mining lubricants and greases market in 2018. Suppliers who have long market standing in overseas mining sectors possess a significant competitive advantage over others. A successful project track record has proven to be the best door-opening tool. Word-of-mouth from experienced operation staff has also helped develop new business. Consistent terms and conditions for supply across geographies is a significant advantage. Pricing is still a crucial factor. Technological specifications and quality are also major aspects. Proven and competitive return on investment (ROI) is an important indicator that customers value; substantial savings on equipment downtime is compelling for customers to switch suppliers. Channel to market is critical. Companies with sufficient resources (such as exclusive local distributors or sizable sales teams) that are able to establish direct contact with potential customers achieve greater market penetration. They are able to get first-hand information on what customers want and what the existing issues are. This provides them with the opportunity to develop targeted/customised solutions.Key growth opportunities include increased demand for customised services and digital solutions for lubricant analysis.Author: Ivan Fernandez
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