06 February 2008 | Paul Snell
China's booming economy presents a challenge to buyers who will have to sell themselves more effectively to earn the interest of suppliers, according to a group of mining experts.
Rodrigo Wanderley, purchasing planning manager at Brazilian mining firm Vale, told a seminar that China's economic success meant they could be more selective when choosing which companies to work with.
"China is booming and looking outwards. Buyers have to sell their company to them," he said. "Because they are not looking so hard you have to adapt your specifications for what they have. If you take a traditional approach and take your specification to market, you wont get what you want in return."
John Gundersen, group executive, global supply chain and contracts at Newmont Mining, added procurement was in a prime position to develop new suppliers in low-cost countries.
"As we go into a new area we have a defined procurement local vendor utilisation plan. We sit down with them to identify things we could purchase locally with individual areas," he said.
But for David Young, vice-president of supply chain management at Canadian miner Barrick Gold, it isn't simply about finding businesses that can supply to you. "The whole idea is to find suppliers we can develop. We're not looking for a person who can work for us. We are finding people who want to work as electricians or carpenters."