We talked to Ash Bosworth, Managing Director, and CEO, Pulse Mining Systems, a complete mine management and optimization system, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ash Bosworth: Like most families, we’ve adapted to life in the times of COVID-19. Outbreaks and lockdowns have been challenging everywhere, but restrictions made us more appreciative of our home life and the simple freedoms we once took for granted.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Pulse Mining Systems.
Ash Bosworth: I started out with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Newcastle. For the first seven years, I was doing construction project management in many different scenarios and locations. In 1999, once I’d decided to settle down in my home city, I took a job at Pulse Mining Systems in business intelligence and progressed my career within the company from there. I became the managing director of Pulse in April 2019, and as a company, Pulse gets more exciting and accomplished every year.
How does Pulse Mining Systems innovate?
Ash Bosworth: The word ‘agile’ is often misused, but Pulse has used agile methodologies to deliver innovation across the organization since I became an Agile Scrum Master in 2004. It takes more than great techniques to produce greatness, and for Pulse, deep collaboration with clients and the spirit of co-creation makes our mining business technology the most innovative and responsive in the whole world. It’s a journey – for example, through collaborative association with an Australian coal mining company, the Pulse Mining ERP system has been adapted to manage the production of green energy. Then we have the example of CoolGard, the AI-based premises management system developed by Pulse mid-lockdown in 2020 and now used in health care and disability services – an idea that came from within our company but from outside our technical departments. Ideas can come from any direction, but it takes capability and investment to bring a great idea to the market successfully. Pulse is also helping non-tech companies to add value to their traditional products and services with white-label solutions developed for them by Pulse, essentially de-risking their development and support requirements, which is what they’ve needed.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Ash Bosworth: Pulse entered the pandemic in great shape, so we used our strength and capabilities to invest in the development of new products to help businesses and communities through the pandemic and beyond. Meantime, increased activity in certain resource sectors, like gold and sand, have kept us busy with our flagship technology suite, the fully-integrated Pulse Mining ERP. With our global outreach, which is digitally driven, we’ve doubled our international customer base during the pandemic. The continual development and promotion of world-class business solutions means digging deep on investment, but Pulse will emerge from the COVID-19 era as a stronger and more diverse company than before.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Ash Bosworth: Most companies were challenged when staff had to work from home during lockdowns, but because Pulse has been collaborating with clients and supporting users in remote locations around the world for decades, it was business-as-usual when we needed to shut our company headquarters for an extended period Our teams remained in constant contact with video meetings and the digital tools they were already accustomed to using in the office. It was interesting to learn that even though flexible working arrangements at Pulse remained available after our offices reopened, managers and staff chose to come back into a deeply collaborative workplace environment as soon as this return became allowable.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Ash Bosworth: Pulse has a long history of serving the mining industry in remote locations where operations run 24/7/365, so we didn’t need to make any hasty efforts to improve our ability to serve and support customers in response to COVID-19. We have a stellar IT support team, not a call center, that runs around the clock because, in mining, the cost of downtime is too great for any issue to wait. Customer relationships are at the core of everything we do. Our company ethos is that we exist to make people’s jobs easier. Understanding what your customers and end-users truly want and need isn’t possible unless we have a direct relationship with them. People who interact with Pulse, as a tech-focused company, are often surprised by our intensely humanistic approach. The human interaction and personal attention begins as soon as anyone in the world asks for a brochure on a Pulse product or system, and this care continues throughout the business relationship – meaning decades for our longest-standing clients.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Ash Bosworth: Australian government assistance was available to all businesses to help with general impacts from the pandemic. Pulse didn’t need any special assistance because, unlike the hospitality industry, for example, our business hasn’t been directly affected. Most of our customers are in essential industries and services that couldn’t stop running, so their systems had to remain live and fully supported by us throughout.
Your final thoughts?
Ash Bosworth: I’ve been speaking at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne for years about the need for the mining industry to embrace digital transformation, but prior to the pandemic, many companies didn’t have the appetite to switch from old-school business processes that seemed to work for them. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and COVID-19 is forced to change and the rapid implementation of new systems and digital tools in order to survive. Some Pulse clients finally rolled out tools that had been available to them for a while and quickly saw how they worked to increase efficiency and business performance. They wanted more of these tools as a result. We mean to make people’s jobs easier, and I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that the use of our digital tools can improve some people’s lives because this is what technology is supposed to do for humans. When mining supervisors don’t have to return to their desks at the end of a shift to enter data or generate a report – when business information is available in real-time to people who need to know it – they can go home earlier.
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