Short Interval Control – a powerful tool for improving production

Each shift is broken into “short intervals” to ensure supervisors regularly review performance throughout each shift (every 2 hours or so) to enable mid-course corrections and immediate fixes that add up to big improvements in overall performance.

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Take Control

To do this, supervisors need to start the shift with a clear work plan and follow up at regular intervals throughout the shift. These regular follow ups establish the status of each job so the supervisor is “Aware” and then able to “Act” to get it back on track if required. This requires the crew and the supervisor to be both looking back at what has happened (issues and actions) and looking forward to anticipate future issues and corrective actions.

CiteOps’ “Actuals” app puts the plan squarely in the hands of the supervisor via a tablet or on their phone.

The start time of each task is defined as is the target for the shift target and the target for each interval. Supervisors enter the actual result against the target result at specific times throughout the shift and make notes about what went well, the causes of variance and what they did to improve performance.

At the end of shift all this information is available in shift notes for end of shift debriefs and for daily review meetings.

The location of the task, a photo, design, description, safe work procedure, work order and almost anything else you can think of can be attached to the task so the supervisor is set up for success.

Critical supervisor behaviours include, setting clear direction with the crew, following up regularly, listening, providing feedback, coaching & support, problem solving and reviewing performance. Essentially short interval control is about frontline leaders becoming more aware of how their process is performing against the plan throughout a shift and then acting to address any issues before they become unnecessary waste. With manual paper based tools this is hard to do for a number of reasons.

1. While it’s possible to get “actuals” out of the fleet management system the plan isn’t available to compare against so you don’t really know whether you’re going well or not.
2. Paper-based tools are painful for supervisors and embarrassingly outdated.
3. Often the plan vs. actual is only available in the office so supervisors have to go back to the office and spend less time supervising in the field.
4. The valuable “what really happened” information is kept on pieces of paper that never end up in a database.

Check our Visual Management Tool that helps you track everything on your site.

Implementing Short Interval Control

Any experienced Management Operating System consultant will tell you that a critical element of a successful project is coaching to get compliance and to improve the use of the system.

Normally it takes months of coaching to get short interval control up and running effectively with supervisors. With CiteOps effective short interval control can be achieved in just a couple of weeks.

The guys love it, with data from their fleet management system and our offline app showing them how they are progressing they can communicate results and actions taken directly from the field to everyone on site.

It’s amazing how much easier it is to get effective use and compliance when you don’t need clunky paper or spreadsheet tools. Having spent many months with supervisors all over the world we’ve realized that the spreadsheet and paper-based tools we used to try and force supervisors to use were a large part of the reason they were so hard to sustain.

Our products change this, rapidly.

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Preshift Alignment

CiteOps provides a number of screens on its online shift schedule software for adapting the plan before the crew goes to work.

Most teams use our powerful scheduler screen to sequence and schedule work throughout and across shifts.

The 24/48 hour schedule can be used the day before work starts to ensure everything is organised before the crews attempt to execute the plan (this is usually reviewed during the 24hr planning/commitment meeting).

The shift schedule screen enables coordinators and supervisors to adapt the plan for the things they find out about when they get to work, either through a handover or through their shift manager.

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24/48 Hour Schedule

The 48-hour schedule screen provides planners and schedulers a holistic view of the KPIs, resources and tasks for every process in the schedule, for the next 48 hours.

The 48-hour schedule screen also allows inter-shift plan actions such as moving and copying of tasks, notes, and other items.

Write access is given to users with the role of the scheduler.

The left side of the 48-hour schedule screen holds the list of processes which label each row. Each column in the bulk of the screen represents a specific shift for a specific day. This screen shows much of the same information contained in the Process Plan, but for all processes. Of course, here the focus is on the scheduling and approval of specific tasks.

Displayed are lists of personnel required and available as well as equipment required and available. Red highlights mark requires that currently cannot be met because of insufficient resources allocated to the process.

The 48-hour schedule also allows for the inclusion of “shadow” processes which are tied to a production process so that dependencies can be tracked and accommodated—for instance, the servicing of equipment.

Colour-coded icons allow the planner to tell at a glance which items are pending approval, have already been accepted or already rejected. A single click can modify the status of any one plan item.

The bottom section of the screen holds the production totals for each shift across all processes, including figures for both personnel and equipment that are required and available.

Deep Dive

Download our case studies and white papers

Case Study – Coal Mine: Increase in Production
Case Study – Gold Mine Turnaround: Increase in Gold Production
White Paper – Influencing Behaviour Change: Why a Software-driven Planning System Beats Spreadsheets
White Paper – Planned Work Is Safe Work: Eliminating Risks In Mining Operations