In the early to mid-2000s, the exploration and development of mineral deposits in North Western Zambia resulted in a massive inflow of foreign direct investment and the development of three large-scale copper mines in Solwezi Town and the new Kalumbila district; namely, Kansanshi mine, Sentinel mine (both First Quantum Minerals Ltd) and Lumwana mine (Barrick Gold Corporation) respectively. With this expansion, small scale mining and quarrying activities also increased to support the construction boom due to the growing population in the towns and surrounding settlements. Moreover, we continued to see infrastructure projects such as housing needs and road development by the municipalities and contractors alike growing.
Twenty years later, with the increased demand for metal commodities, there is a strong need to support the mining sector in the region. Currently, more than 60% of Zambia’s primary copper production is from the North Western Province and with over 100 large Caterpillar mining equipment, Barloworld Equipment Zambia Ltd, the sole dealer for Caterpillar products in Southern Africa has a strong footprint in the region.
Research shows that, global copper inventory is expected to rise significantly in the next decade. In keeping with the trends and responding to market needs, Barloworld Equipment has enhanced its strategy by being customer obsessed, illustrated through deploying additional technical support personnel, increased warehouse space and optimized its logistics operations to meet the growing customer demand in mining and construction. In late 2020, the organisation opened its doors of the new Solwezi Facility, with the aim of improving customer and employee experience. The depot is a central parts hub for the mines and construction businesses in the province, offering better proximity to supplies and services beyond the traditional line of rail. Moreover, an integrated parts and logistics strategy with the Kitwe Main Facility and the Johannesburg Distribution Centre ensures that Caterpillar and Barloworld Equipment’s reach is not limited by geographical barriers or border posts. As supply chain constraints mount globally, the organisation aims to remain ahead of the curve by supporting their customers with forecasting and planning operational needs. This is executed through driving a culture of Continuous Improvement by implementing lean principles such as the Barloworld Business System (BBS). This system’s principles aim to support operations in the decision-making processes to meet customer deliverables, ensuring the right parts are available at the right time. This requires collaboration and innovation with customers to ensure deliveries are met, managing costs, and reducing waste.