Persistent ways win with BMA

Posted October 15, 2015

BMA business tips

Damien Matthews BMA head of supply. BMA’s Local Buying Program is an entry path for local firms hoping to win business on sites such as Blackwater mine.

Supply head shares tips for businesses seeking resource industry work.

The ability to clearly communicate your value proposition and to distinguish yourself from your rivals are key elements to contract success for smaller businesses, a mining procurement chief says.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) head of supply Damien Matthews said there was no one, simple answer on how best to do this for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) trying to win resources industry work.

“It’s about constantly challenging yourself to be satisfied that you have done your best to separate yourself from the pack,” he said.

The primary entry path BMA provides for Bowen Basin and Mackay-based SMEs seeking work across its operations is the BMA Local Buying Program.

Run by C-Res, the program has resulted in work packages to the value of more than $46 million being awarded to participating local businesses over the past three years at BMA/BMC coal mines across the Bowen Basin.

The program was extended to businesses in Mackay and Sarina to supply to BMA’s Hay Point Coal Terminal in November 2014.

More than 660 Central Queensland businesses have now signed up to program, with more than 7000 claims paid to local suppliers since July 2012.

As well as providing an avenue for SMEs to pitch for BMA supply opportunities, Mr Matthews said the program included forums to assist them in their overall approach to winning business.

He outlined the following key areas for SMEs to consider when seeking work:

Are you clearly articulating your value proposition?

“It’s often the case that organisations will convince themselves that they have wonderful value proposition, but they don’t have the ability to communicate that externally,” Mr Matthews said.

This also meant being able to distinguish what they could offer as opposed to what competitors in the field were offering, he said.

Mr Matthews said he was looking for businesses to clearly articulate how they would deliver on their promise within the timeframe required and to the agreed cost and quality.

Do you fully understand the client’s needs?

Building relationships with stakeholders was critical in understanding what the customer was seeking, Mr Matthews said.

“People often make assumptions about what their customers want or need,” he said. “You might have what you think is a great value proposition, but it might not be what the customer is seeking. You need those key relationships in place along the way.”

Mr Matthews conceded that establishing such links could be difficult for firms trying to break into the resources industry and pointed to the BMA Local Buying Program as one of the ways his organisation was trying to address this issue.

Can you run a leaner business machine?

With belt-tightening across the coal industry to maintain profitability, Mr Matthews said suppliers must look within their businesses for cost-cutting measures just as mining companies such as BMA had done.

“They have to look inside their own business and challenge themselves across the areas of price, demand and specification,” Mr Matthews said.

Are you being realistic about your business capacity?

Mr Matthews urged suppliers to think about this point.

“Don’t set yourself up to fail by trying to secure work that is really beyond your capability,” he said.

“As much as I’d like a silver bullet, there isn’t one - it’s hard work and it’s persistence.”

For more information on the BMA Local Buying Program visit

One response to “Persistent ways win with BMA”

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