In conversation with Critical Input’s Managing Director Tim Griffiths

A supply chain and procurement specialist, Critical Input Managing Director Tim Griffiths uses transparent processes and pragmatic principles to help organisations run like well oiled machines. Originally from Tasmania but now based in Brisbane, Tim’s all about bringing people and processes together, particularly when it comes to organisational inputs that are deemed critical for optimal function. Tim’s team is spread throughout Australia, including a ‘second headquarters’ in WA. Critical Input’s people work remotely or client-side to complete projects that meet and exceed client objectives. Here he talks about what he’s been working and focussing on lately.

How do you juggle balancing Critical Input as a business, while also undertaking hands-on operational work?

I often get asked this question. Indeed, many of my peers advise me to spend more time “on the business”, rather than “in the business”. There’s merit to this and I take this suggestion seriously (nod to John Edwards), but to ensure Critical Input offers the right services and resources, it’s imperative that all our resources (including myself) have a hands-on operational understanding. So this is why I also jump in and roll up my sleeves from time to time. It’s not about taking works away from our senior resources, but more about filling in gaps on an ad hoc basis when my specific skills can add value or deadlines are tight.

Can you give us some examples of projects where you’ve been “on the tools”?

I’ve recently undertaken supply chain mapping for global logistics company, a procurement/contracts framework review and process re-alignment for a national construction entity and a supply chain review and enhancement for global mining company. All great fun and this work keeps me connected to our client needs, which ensures we maintain a high quality service.

As someone who has a window view into multiple workplaces, what trends have you noticed emerge since Covid-19? Have there been some positives?

Critical Input has always offered agile delivery, but during this past year, I’ve seen organisations quickly pivot to embrace remote activities and in turn discover improvements in productivity. Covid-19 has also shone a new focus on individual welfare. Flexibility within the workplace – including a mixture between working from home and working from the office – is part of that and I see this as very positive.

What is most important to you right now?

Priorities for me right now are a blend of the usual business-related elements like building our future pipeline of activities, as well as delivering quality outcomes for important projects. We often underestimate how much time business owners focus and work on these elements. I’m also very mindful of the wellbeing of CI’s resources as we’re now in the second year of a global pandemic. With team members spread across the country, I’m grateful when borders are open and domestic travel is accessible as it’s great to catch up face-to-face every now and then. 

Any interests that are occupying your time outside of work?

On a side-note, my wife and I own a hobby farm west of Toowoomba in Queensland, which we’ve named TIBENACH Rise. It’s something we enjoy working on during our weekends and holidays, but the end of the drought has meant things are gaining momentum, so watch this space for further announcements!

Australia: the stable supplier of critical minerals

As economies around the world endeavour to recover, Australia’s role as a leading global supplier of critical minerals will only increase. 

According to Managing Director of Critical Input Tim Griffiths, it’s no surprise that Australia’s mining sector kept Australia’s economy mostly rock-solid throughout the pandemic, but now is the time to “get strategic”.

“Australia has managed the Covid-19 pandemic with few interruptions, which has further enhanced our international geopolitical image, so increasingly, other countries will be looking toward Australia to shore up secure supply chains,” Tim said.

“The United States Biden Administration intends to develop renewable energy facilities, smart grids and a robust electric vehicle industry and private companies like Telsa have set ambitious targets.

“These sustainable industries require critical minerals, many of which can be found in Australia.” 

The amounts of lithium, cobalt, graphene, indium and other critical minerals needed for low-carbon technologies alone are expected to increase anywhere from 100 per cent to 1,000 per cent by 2050. (Source: The Conversation)

This accelerated pivot is placing pressure on critical mineral supply chains, which are frequently linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks. 

COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities associated with concentrated supply chains and many countries are now seeking to manage this exposure by diversifying its supply chains.

“Australia is seen as a reliable supplier with significant potential to supply an array of critical minerals and battery metals,” Tim said.

“As well as having reserves in the ground, Australia’s depth of experience and expertise in mining means it’s seen as a global supplier of choice for ethically sourced critical minerals.

“So while it’s difficult for mining companies to shift gears, trade complexities between Australia and South-East Asian countries as well as a push toward renewables is going to mean increased investment in critical minerals and a move away from coal and gas. Companies willing to pivot will be the ones prepared for the future.”