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Mining Software

Fragmented frontline mining technology leaves mines short

Seeing the whole: systems that only focus on a segment of your operation can’t deliver top quartile results

Lifting performance and productivity in a mining operation is no small task. Mines are complex, and require an extremely high level of planning, scheduling, coordination and reporting if they’re to run as well as possible.

Across all industries, software companies are promising to transform efficiency levels and boost profits. In mining, the sheer scale of operations can make the task of finding smart, resilient and effective solutions daunting to say the least. Added to this, most mines are already dealing with legacy systems that are failing or limping along with unsatisfactory results.

Investment in technology that delivers results is crucial if mines are to compete and remain profitable – the good news is that technological advances are giving us unprecedented opportunities to improve operations. But not all solutions are created equal.

Consider all the moving parts and processes in a mining operation… production, maintenance of equipment, projects, geology, survey, rehab, safety and hazard management and reporting and analysis. And then there are people too: planners, schedulers, coordinators, control room personnel, site supervisors, operators and tradespeople.

This diagram is an attempt to capture this complexity and the lack of connection between the various solutions available today.

Mining Software

Any mining software that hopes to significantly improve the coordination and performance of a mining operation needs to consider all of these parts of the process and make it easier for the people on site to see reality, make plans and execute on them.

While many mining software suites perform well in their specific areas of influence (such as operational planning, maintenance, reporting, fleet management, safety monitoring, or analytics) there are no software or technology firms that can provide an end to end solution that connects mine plans to all the work performed to deliver the plan at the frontline.

So what’s the best approach? Should you pay a software developer or outsourcer to build customised software that works around your mine’s current systems? Or start from scratch with an integrated provider of planning software? Or would a MOS consulting firm do a better job of streamlining the management of your mining operation?

Recent examples have sought to “mash up” a number of the “point solutions” into an integrated whole, kindly assisted by “smartest people in the room” consultants. These “technology / innovation projects” have really struggled to deliver tools that the guys at the frontline actually use, the way they were intended to. Basically, because it’s really hard to get busy software companies to adapt and integrate their solutions to meet this need, change management can be forgotten and at the same time technology and innovation projects seldom have the hard-operational edge they need to deliver results for the site. These issues lead to poor adoption and mean that the expected benefits aren’t delivered.

So, it pays to avoid these kinds of mistakes, but how?

Anapproach that is paying handsome dividends for those that have invested in it is to ensure that everyone on site has a well-coordinated and easy to understand plan each shift, that this shift plan is visible to everyone (so that they are all on the same page) and that actual results and shift reports can be fed into it to facilitate the plan, do, check, act improvement cycle. This approach is making it possible for mine sites to (for the first time) do effective integrated planning and short interval control. This has resulted in massive improvements in the coordination of work on site, reduces waste and delivers upward of 40% improvements in production or development results.

The only holistic solution

Commit Works is the only software provider of a comprehensive, fully integrated frontline planning and scheduling system (Fewzion) that works with a short interval control app and visualisation software (Visual Ops) to give a complete picture of mining operations, every day, every shift.

From monthly scheduling of personnel and resources all the way through to the most granular task-based details of a single shift, our mining software allows management to see their operations clearly and make better decisions, whilst empowering frontline teams to get the job done more efficiently and safely.

We have delivered massive production and safety improvements for some of the world’s largest mining companies. Our easy-to-use, complete solution has:

  • helped large miners and small contractors to deliver 25 to 50 percent improvements in performance less than three months after implementation on site.
  • And, enabled many mines to sustain their results for over four years, through successive management teams and ownership.

Want to hear more about how we’re making mines work better? Get in touch.

Future of Mining

Commit Works takes off for Future of Mining Americas

Delegates from Commit Works will be jetting off to the United States later this month to The Future of Mining Americas conference in Denver, Colorado on 29 and 30 October.

Commit Works’ Director of Global Operations, Terry Henrikson, and Marketing and Communications Manager Emelia Chalker will attend the event, which brings together hundreds of mining professionals from all over the globe.

Last year, our CEO Paul Moynagh spoke at The Future of Mining Australia. At this follow-up event, Terry Henrikson will address attendees on “Creating Trust, Commitment and Sustainable Operational and Safety Results”.

The Future of Mining Americas will connect C-suite, heads and managers of mine operations, METS and support services from top enterprises worldwide to debate and define the current and future mining landscape across the Americas. Presented and curated by Mining Magazine and Mining Journal, the conference includes expert speakers with diverse strategic and operational experience, from project level through to the boardroom.

Our Commit Works team looks forward to learning from other leaders in mining, as well as sharing our insights and success driving improvements in operational performance, communication and safety.

Mine Management system - Commit works

The integrated mine management system that’s making CIOs sit up and take notice

Traditionally, a great deal of effort and expense has been focused on large enterprise systems (including enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resources, safety, time and attendance, asset management systems, and others).

Though they’re often clunky, many of these traditional systems are very useful at management levels, to ensure the right checks are in place so that processes are followed, and costs are understood for annual, quarterly and monthly reporting by office-based staff.

Unfortunately, many old-style systems are not very useful for an important segment of the working population: the people who work on a shift-by-shift basis. Instead, shift-based work in many industries is managed using a combination of spreadsheets, whiteboards and paperwork – systems that are unwieldy and poorly integrated.

But the time has come – and the technology is now available – to rethink outmoded approaches to managing shift based work.

Closing the gap

Commit Works’ Fewzion product closes the gap between traditional enterprise systems and the shift-based workforce. It is the “last mile” technology that pulls together all of the critical information required to plan, execute, review and follow up on the tasks across a shift, and presents it in a single, comprehensive view.

The old way of managing shifts struggles to cope with variations such as the availability of equipment and people, or linking safety alerts to planned tasks. Fewzion mine management system provides a solution that connects to key enterprise systems to ensure that plans reflect who and what is required and available to complete shift tasks, and include visibility of safety tasks or issues.

The result?

Pre-shift meetings become more collaborative and engaging because shift teams have the ability to influence the plan in a constructive way and, constraints and issues are visible up front.

Post-shift reviews become far more meaningful because all teams can review Fewzion reports and these reports provide a complete view of what was achieved, what wasn’t achieved, and why there were variances.

Digital transformation

Companies can also choose to implement the Short Interval Control app that allows staff to view and update tasks in real time. This can be used as both a productivity improvement and for short interval control, allowing supervisors and managers to see if tasks were done in the expected timeframe and what constraints there may have been. The mobile app allows people to add notes, pictures and documents to the tasks that they are working on.

How CIOs benefit from Fewzion

Fewzion mine management system is fast to implement and reasonably priced. Chief information officers (CIOs) are seeing:

  • speedy returns on investment (in some cases within weeks)
  • vastly improved engagement of shift supervisors and teams
  • visible commitment to plans
  • increased safety performance
  • great productivity gains.

Ready to shift gears? Get in touch with Commit Works today to discuss how Fewzion can revolutionise your business.

JOHN ANSLEY

John Ansley New COO

JOHN ANSLEY

Global technology leader John Ansley joins Commit Works as Chief Operating Officer

Brisbane – 5 September 2018

Leading mining technology company Commit Works announced today that it has appointed John Ansley as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Joining Commit Works is a natural progression for Ansley, who has a deep understanding of the information technology (IT) landscape and a background in chief information officer (CIO) roles across the mining, logistics and pharmaceuticals industries in Australia, the United States, South America, Asia Pacific, Europe and South Africa. As Commit Works COO, he is enthusiastic about the opportunity to work at the leading edge of tech for the mining industry and beyond, as Commit Works pioneers a new standard in frontline planning, short interval control and site visualisation.

“Commit Works products solve the ‘last mile’ of technology, from enterprise systems right down to the tasks within a shift,” Ansley said. “Unlike many IT solutions, Commit Works has a fast return on investment, with a clear and measurable impact on key elements for companies – such as employee engagement, improved planning, and increases in productivity and safety.”

“The Commit Works team is also 100 percent focused on the success of its customers, which makes it a company I’m keen to work with.”

Ansley’s extensive international experience spans a diverse range of industries, and includes chief information officer (CIO) roles, advisory roles, business development, strategic consulting, digital transformation programs, creating new international information communication technology (ICT) organisations, and developing and managing large project teams.

He joins Commit Works at an exciting time, as the company expands in the wake of a strategic investment from Jolimont Global Mining Systems (Jolimont), which will accelerate its growth in Australia and internationally. “The appointment of John Ansley strengthens the Commit Works team in line with Jolimont’s commitment to the growth of the company. Having a world class team enables acceleration of the application of the world leading Commit Works technology, which benefits the industry.” said Lyle Bruce, partner at Jolimont and newly appointed Commit Works board member.

Andy Greig, Commit Works board member (the former President of Bechtel’s Mining & Metals Global Business and founder of Brisbane startup incubator, ACAC Innovation) said, “I am delighted John has joined the team. He is a talented executive with a great experience mix for his new role. He and CEO Paul Moynagh will complement each other very well.”

Commit Works CEO Paul Moynagh said that John would be an important asset for the team: “The breadth of his understanding and expertise will strengthen our business as we continue to develop our products and our reach.”

About Commit Works

Commit Works believes that successful organisations are built by people who make commitments to each other and deliver on them. Doing this consistently improves productivity, builds trust and helps frontline teams to out-plan uncertainty.

Its first product, Fewzion, was developed in collaboration with Anglo American to replace the cluster of whiteboards and spreadsheets traditionally used to prepare shift plans on site. A mobile app allowing real-time tracking of shifts connects to Fewzion, so that progress is regularly measured against plans.

Commit Works again worked with Anglo American to develop their Visual Ops product, which improves site safety and productivity. Visual Ops displays the near-real-time location of hazards, people and equipment on an operation. It is integrated with Fewzion as a holistic, easy-to-use solution for frontline teams, instantly synchronising information across devices, so that teams are always on the same page.

These unique innovations have delivered results beyond expectations, creating safer workplaces, streamlining projects, achieving record-breaking tonnages and empowering workers.

www.commit.works

For all sales, partner or media inquiries please contact Emelia Chalker – Marketing and Communications Manager:  emelia.chalker@commit.works (0414 652 637).

Commit Works expanding global footprint with major investment from Jolimont and Resource Capital Fund.

Commit Works is a step closer to revolutionising mining operations worldwide, having secured a strategic investment from Jolimont Global Mining Systems (Jolimont), which will accelerate its growth in Australia and internationally.

Founded by Alex Retzlaff and Paul Moynagh six years ago, Commit Works has pioneered a suite of innovations that help operations coordinate and manage frontline work. The company makes frontline work management, short interval control and visual management software that are delivering significant productivity and safety results for 60% of the world’s largest miners.

Today the company announced it had secured funding from Jolimont Capital, a private equity group funded by Resource Capital Fund (RCF) that invests in high-growth mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies.

Commit Works CEO Paul Moynagh said the investment would enable Commit Works to expand their global reach. “We are thrilled to receive this significant backing from Jolimont, the world’s best mining technology venture capital fund ­- it will greatly accelerate our growth in Australia, the Americas, Europe and Africa. Our products reliably deliver rapid and significant improvements to operations (in many cases more than 30% increase in production results) – we look forward to sharing our software and these kinds of results globally,” Mr Moynagh said.

“At Commit Works we make software that gets everyone on site working together and pulling in the same direction. Fewzion creates a fully integrated frontline shift plan by bringing together mine planning, maintenance, services and ERP data to ensure all work on site is properly coordinated. Shift plans are instantly available to frontline teams through our app and large touchscreens to ensure everyone is on the same page. Supervisors and crew can perform short interval control throughout the shift, write their shift reports and contribute to daily review meetings all in the same system. This kind of integrated thinking and coordination has helped many mining operations quickly produce large, sustainable production and safety improvements,” Mr Moynagh said.

Commit Works welcomes Lyle Bruce, partner at Jolimont and former Managing Director at GroundProbe, to its board, where he’ll join fellow investor Andy Greig, former president of Mining & Metals Global Business at Bechtel. Mr Bruce said Jolimont invests in high growth mining technology companies. “A focus for us is innovative technology and a customer-oriented team,” Mr Bruce said. “Australia leads the world in mining innovation and Commit Works is another example of an emerging Australian company bringing world’s best technology to global mining operations. Jolimont is proud to support the Commit Works team.”

Michael Sterry, Investment Manager at Jolimont, said precise shift planning was a gap in the market that Commit Works addresses. “The people that make a difference to productivity and safety are closest to operations and production. They want to know how they are performing shift-by-shift. You can’t get closer than real-time performance tracking at the coalface,” he said.

Great news for the METS sector

As Australian METS businesses began emerging from the recent downturn, experts agreed that three key ideas were vital to mining’s future: collaboration, innovation and technology.

 

  • Collaboration refers to better cooperation in the workforce to improve efficiency and safety, as well as collaboration across and outside the sector, with the resources industry building relationships with software developers, technical specialists, strategic thinkers and others.
  • Innovation was a necessity during the downturn as businesses fought to survive, and now it’s entrenched in the status quo. The world is changing fast, driven by rapid technological advances and volatile markets; “innovation” is the shorthand for all of the ways in which companies can stay relevant and competitive.
  • Technology is creating improvements in equipment capabilities, workforce management, safety and efficiency, as companies invest in mobile technology, cloud computing, automation, real-time reporting and big data.

Commit Works is operating at the nexus of these priorities, delivering software solutions that grow with the industry and facilitate better collaboration on mining operations. Jolimont’s investment in these solutions represents a win not only for Commit Works but for the future of the METS sector.

About Commit Works

Commit Works believes that successful organisations are built by people who make commitments to each other and deliver on them. Doing this consistently improves productivity, builds trust and helps frontline teams to out-plan uncertainty.

Its first product, Fewzion, was developed in collaboration with Anglo American to replace the cluster of whiteboards and spreadsheets traditionally used to prepare shift plans on site. A mobile app allowing real-time tracking of shifts connects to Fewzion, so that progress is regularly measured against plans.

Commit Works again worked with Anglo American to develop their Visual Ops product, which improves site safety and productivity. Visual Ops displays the near-real-time location of hazards, people and equipment on an operation. It is integrated with Fewzion as a holistic, easy-to-use solution for frontline teams, instantly synchronising information across devices, so that teams are always on the same page.

These unique innovations have delivered results beyond expectations, creating safer workplaces, streamlining projects, achieving record-breaking tonnages and empowering workers.

www.commit.works

For all sales, partner or media inquiries please contact Emelia Chalker – Marketing and Communications Manager:  emelia.chalker@d76e8fb6-a511-11e8-b072-36d63035d715.app.getshifter.io

About Jolimont Global Mining Systems

Jolimont invests in high growth mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies. The METS sector presents outstanding investment opportunities, magnified in an environment of volatile commodity prices and historically high operating costs.  Mining companies rely increasingly on METS companies to provide incremental as well as step-change solutions to improve productivity and lower costs.

Jolimont has a highly experienced senior executive team with extensive commercial experience in mining, technology, private equity and finance.  Jolimont Global is a joint venture between Jolimont Capital, a technology investor founded in 2003 and Resource Capital Funds.

Short Interval control system

Pathways to a Mine that is in Short Term Interval Control

A few nights ago I had a call with Leon Cosgrove from Wipro about short interval control. We discussed the different ways miners can go to improve performance in their operations. Perhaps it was because we’re both involved in the consulting industry but somehow a 2 by 2 matrix appeared as we spoke. See below, we both thought it was helpful for describing the journey to a high performing operation.

On the Y Axis is the extent to which the mine can measure and see where all their equipment is and what it is doing. There is a big range of technologies here but to keep it simple these range from sites with no way of knowing where anything is or what it is doing through truck counts and radio based tools like PitRam up to high precision fleet management systems like Modular, Newtrax or MobileARIS. Telematics and measurement are one thing but getting the data out of the pit is equally challenging, again simplifying terribly, technologies used range from nothing to radios, to leaky feeder to wifi and daisy chaining to LTE.

On the X Axis is the extent to which the mine is planning and scheduling frontline operational work. On the left are operations that believe that a good mining schedule and perhaps a maintenance plan are able to be simply handed down to the operation to execute. On the right are the operations who have the frontline management systems and behaviours necessary to describe in short intervals what needs to be done each shift for everyone on the site. These operations engage religiously in the Plan Do Check Act cycle and use variances from the plan each shift, day and week to drive performance improvements continuously.

Short Interval control

Three routes to high performance

With the matrix above it was interesting to think through the different routes to becoming a high performer, we came up with three options.

1.Technology first. Many operations have invested heavily in connectivity and fleet management systems that tell them where alShort Interval Controll their machines are and exactly what is happening. When these operations want to move towards the high performer quartile they have lots of high quality data but they still need to break their silos and perform short interval, integrated planning and scheduling.

2. Management first. Traditional management operating system (MOS) consultants have done huge numbers of projects with miners getting them to improve their frontline management planning and coordination. Short interval control is a tool often implemented during these projects. However, without an easy to use and integrated frontline planning and short interval control system (most of these consultants still sell spreadsheets and whiteboards) the mature management behaviours they have implemented are very hard to sustain. Operations that use these old fashioned MOS “systems” are very difficult to move into the “High performer” quartile in a sustainable way as the tools often break when the consultants leave.

3. Management and Technology together. The most direct route to the High performer quartile is by integrating mature management practices with mature technology. This way the behaviours of the organisation can be directly supported by and embedded in the way the technology works. Critical to this transition is the use of a fully integrated frontline planning and short interval control system that can connect the enterprise planning systems to the operational technology that runs the mine. Done well this type of project uses mature management consultants to improve management practices while the technologists wire the system together to support mature management behaviours. This approach delivers rapid and sustainable results for much lower cost than option 1 or 2.

Commit Works has been working with some of the largest and the smartest miners in the world to deliver massive production and safety improvements.

Our fully integrated frontline planning, scheduling and short interval control system, Fewzion, has helped miners deliver 25% to 50% improvements in performance in less than 3 months from the start of implementation on site. Many of these sites have sustained their results for over 4 years through successive changes in management and ownership.

To find out more contact us at www.commit.works or call 1300 33 99 46

 

All your planning in one place, for everyone

The power of one plan

We all know that knowledge is power. So why keep teams in the dark when it comes to complex operations?

Everyone’s got a job to do

When there are lots of people working on different aspects of a project, although they may be working independently or in different locations, the work of one team affects the work of others.

Poor planning and coordination can lead to costly inefficiencies, mistakes and delays. Conversely, great planning and coordination optimises communication, builds trust and commitment, and has the power to revolutionise productivity.

So, get everyone on the same page

An excellent frontline planning system is one that:

  • provides a single, integrated view of what’s planned for everyone on site – daily and weekly
  • shows targets that can be adjusted based on how a project is progressing
  • details the commitments made by each team, and shows when those commitments are delivered on
  • is visible to everyone working on a project, in a format that’s easy to use and understand
  • is cloud-based, accessible on mobile and enables real-time updates.

Our Fewzion software does all of this. It replaces spreadsheets and cumbersome IT systems with a single plan. It integrates all your core IT systems, connecting scheduling, planning, maintenance, HR, ERP and site safety. Plans and progress can be seen by everyone – teams, supervisors and managers – in real time. Its “shadow tasks” feature ensures that cross-functional tasks are visible to all teams, so everyone understands the plan and their role in delivering it.

Expect big results

A single, integrated plan revolutionises operations by:

  • enabling collaboration across different project teams
  • empowering frontline workers to set goals, track progress and meet commitments
  • facilitating trust and accountability.

Our clients regularly increase production by over 30% within two months of implementing Fewzion. They attribute their success to better organisation and teamwork.

When your teams are truly committed to delivering scheduled work and can see their results and progress, you boost productivity and strengthen your business. Give your people the gift of the big picture; when everyone sees clearly, they work better together.

Mine Planning Software

The power of planning

It’s not difficult to understand the connection between poor planning and poor results. A lack of coordination on site due to insufficient planning causes unnecessary delays, wasted time and rework. This leads to compromised production levels and budget setbacks.

Good planning involves commitments from multiple teams to deliver work on time and within allocated budgets. That’s why we at Commit Works developed our Fewzion product: to facilitate and track commitment-based planning.

Proven production increases

How soon after implementing Fewzion can you expect to see production improvements on your operation? You may be surprised: our clients regularly increase production by over 30% within two short months of using Fewzion. They attribute their success to better organisation and teamwork.

Just ask our client Anglo American, who recently posted a 4% year-on-year increase in total production in their first quarter this year. Owing to continuing strong performance at the Moranbah mine and the ramp-up of the Grosvenor mine – both of which use Fewzion software solutions – metallurgical coal increased production by 6% to 5.5-million tonnes.

Anglo American sites in South Africa, Zibulo and Greenside colliers (who also use Fewzion)  improved productivity for the quarter.

Anglo American’s improved performance in Australia and South Africa reinforces the enormous value of powerful planning software.

Overhauling frontline planning and coordination has been the key to breaking through performance barriers and boosting efficiency for our other clients too. Over the past five years, while the market has seen a 21% rise in production, Commit Works clients have stormed ahead with an average 74% improvement in production.

Find out more about Fewzion

Fewzion is a frontline planning system that:

  • provides a single, integrated view of what’s planned for everyone on site – daily and weekly
  • shows targets that can be adjusted based on how a project is progressing
  • details the commitments made by each team, and shows when those commitments are delivered on
  • is visible to everyone working on a project, in a format that’s easy to use and understand
  • is cloud-based, accessible on mobile and enables real-time updates.

 

Ready to see how Fewzion can boost results for your operation? Contact Commit Works today to arrange a demo

Australia - Mining Software

Beyond the downturn: new priorities in Australian mining

2018 sees the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector in Australia emerging from the downturn and reassessing its approach to the future.

With market conditions improving, confidence has begun to return to the sector but commodity prices are still marked by fluctuation. How should mining companies approach this new era?

These are the key, interrelated ideas around which the future of mining is developing:

  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Technology

Commit Works is operating at the nexus of these priorities, delivering software solutions that grow with the industry and facilitate better collaboration on mining operations.

Collaboration

The value of collaboration in mining has gone largely untapped in an industry that’s known for its silos and secrecy.

Mining’s recent tough years taught companies that better cooperation in the workforce is crucial to improving efficiency and productivity, not to mention safety on site.

Collaboration across and outside of the sector is also a rising trend, with the resources industry building relationships with software developers, technical specialists, strategic thinkers and others. The role of diversified knowledge and new perspectives has been recognised in the bid to transform the METS industry and guarantee its future survival.

Innovation

Innovation was a focus for the industry during the downturn, as businesses fought to survive. In the wake of that challenging period, it’s become clear that innovation is now a constant consideration. The world is changing fast, driven by rapid technological advances and volatile markets; “innovation” is the shorthand for all of the ways in which companies can stay relevant and competitive.

Technology

The upswing in the market has meant that more companies can invest in technology – digitisation is now happening across all levels of business. These investments are seeing improvements in equipment capabilities, workforce management, safety and efficiency, as companies benefit from mobile technology, cloud computing, automation, real-time reporting and big data.

Short Interval control app

The three ingredients of a Short Interval Control (SIC) sandwich

The team at Commit Works have been implementing Short Interval Control (SIC) systems for over 20 years in mines, workshops, factories and even an insurance company.

The central idea behind SIC is that when supervisors are more AWARE of how their process is performing during the shift, then they will be able to ACT to keep the process on course to hit its target each shift.

This is a simple idea, right? All you do is get supervisors to check at regular intervals throughout their shift if they are on target and to act to improve the situation if they find they are off track. In reality, however, the success of SIC depends on multiple factors.

What’s in the Short Interval Control sandwich?

Whether it’s mining or another industry, there are three key ingredients that go into Short Interval Control – we call it the SIC sandwich.

  • The top piece of bread should be an agreed and a realistic frontline plan for all work that the supervisor is responsible for.
  • In the centre (the filling) is the tool supervisors or crew use to record (in short intervals) whether they are on track or not.
  • On the bottom is the method for knowing how much ore, cubic metres, drill metres, work orders, widgets or insurance claims have been moved or completed at points throughout the shift.

Each of these elements makes the supervisor more AWARE of the performance of their process compared to the agreed plan for the shift. Given this awareness, the supervisor must then ACT appropriately to bring the process back into control and ideally describe what actions they took in a shift report.

The top of the SIC sandwich is the frontline planning and scheduling (or work management) system, which takes plans from systems like SAP, Deswik, Xact, MS Project, rosters, and leave and service schedules and makes them into a coordinated plan that can be committed to and executed on the shift. In most operations this is done via spreadsheets and whiteboards.

The centre (sandwich filling) has, for a long time, been A3 sheets of paper for supervisors to complete at two- or three-hourly intervals during a shift. In general, supervisors dislike these tools with a passion and seldom complete them properly or sustain them after consultants have left. More recently, some major mining firms have attempted to build software tools that supervisors can use in the field. These have been fraught with usability and connection issues, which have prevented most of them from being successful.

The bread on the bottom used to be provided through paper truck counts or radio calls but, more recently, has relied on fleet management systems (FMS) to give up-to-date information about the measurable raw tonnes, metres, cubic metres etc. coming off each machine. To be successful, the data needs to get from machines to the supervisor quickly. In a small opencast mine this can be achieved by the supervisor standing on the highwall observing operations; in a complex underground mine it could require a well-designed system of sensors, tags and communications infrastructure.

Why most Short Interval Control sandwiches fail

In our experience, most SIC sandwiches don’t work because of weakness in the top two layers.

Without a reasonable and agreed shift plan, the crew doesn’t have realistic targets to aim for, so there is no point breaking those targets up into smaller intervals to track against. “But”, you say, “we have the weekly plan (from Deswik, EPS or Xact etc.) which sets the targets.” Dividing a weekly production plan target into 14 even shifts is a convenient and easy shortcut to take but is destined for failure because it doesn’t take into account the variability in the workplace (conditions, maintenance, sick leave etc.) that the supervisor has to cope with.

Dividing the week up into shifts without taking all the other work and conditions into account means the supervisor and crew will never have a plan that actually makes sense on their shift – some shifts will have low targets and others will have unachievable targets, there will be services or sequence work that needs to be done and machines will need to be maintained, making the plan impossible.

Send a crew to work over and over again with a plan that doesn’t make sense and it’s likely they will lose respect for the plan (and their leaders) and choose to do things their own way.

Making SIC work

The holy grail of SIC is to have a single system that enables you to bring all planning information into an integrated shift plan that can be agreed at weekly and daily commitment meetings. This plan can then be:

  • reviewed, adapted and committed to before the crew go to work
  • used to assign work to people
  • used to brief the crew at pre-starts/line-ups.

The same system can either print or deliver the plan to supervisors or crew on a phone or tablet at the face, and throughout the shift the work being done can be “closed off” in short intervals so that the control room, general foreman, shift boss, undermanager etc. and planners know that the right work is getting done.

This can integrate with fleet management systems to bring real-time data back to the supervisor through a tool, or regular radio calls can be made to check in on progress. At the end of shift, the supervisor and crew will have closed out most of the tasks and already written most of their shift report in the app, so a quick conversation around a touchscreen is enough to close out the shift.

All the data collected ends up in simple reports for use in daily review meetings to identify variances and plan corrective actions. This data is then available to business improvement people for analysis and continuous improvement work.

Commit Works has the only enterprise-quality system that makes this possible. It can be set up and implemented on your site in a matter of weeks and fits easily into operational expense budgets.

Global examples

Anglo Dawson OC, whiteboard daily planning meeting to set targets for the shift, paper based A3 SIC sheets, radio calls to each machine and supervisor at 3 hour intervals to say whether they were on plan or not.

Glencore Sudbury, UG Nickel mine planning development sequence work and tracking actuals from the face using an offline app.

Rio Kestrel, Fewzion work management planning system, crib room PC for entering actuals data, view of SCADA system and work orders from trades to tell how shift was progressing.

Anglo, Zibulo – Fewzion work management system, underground WiFi phones with a Fewzion SIC App to record actuals at the face.