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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.

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).

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.

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.

Commitment System

Do your teams fear commitment?

We put the concept of commitment at the centre of our brand because we view it as a crucial component of any operation’s success. Where specialised teams are working alongside each other on an overall plan, they need to be able to believe in the strength of that plan and commit to making it happen. If they don’t, things can fall apart.

Identify the problem

In our experience, a key challenge when implementing any management operating system (MOS) is that often people don’t believe the plan is:

  • realistic
  • achievable
  • able to adapt to inevitable changes that may arise during the project.

It’s fair enough to feel this way. Why commit to something that seems fundamentally flawed?

Find a system that works

Our view is that an excellent frontline planning system can change this. Traditionally, planning has been done on spreadsheets and whiteboards – tools that aren’t equipped to reliably pull together production, maintenance, rostering, training and safety information into comprehensive, accessible shift plans.

Our vision of an excellent “commitment management 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.

See results

Your teams deserve more than convoluted spreadsheets and messy whiteboards. Turning your current MOS into something far more useful can be as simple as implementing our Fewzion scheduling software. Fewzion helps create organised, engaged and productive workforces by:

  • making it quick for planners to build a well-thought-out plan
  • simple for supervisors and crews to be involved in the plan and to get the work done
  • easy for managers to understand and improve performance.

When your teams are truly committed to delivering scheduled work and can see their results and progress, you boost productivity and strengthen your business.

Commitment Manifesto

Commitment Manifesto

We wrote the commitment manifesto to spark a conversation about how high-trust, high-commitment organisations work. We believe that organisations that work in alignment with these principles create a committed workplace which delivers extraordinary employee, shareholder, community and customer results.

  • We lead workplaces where leaders trust their people to make and fulfil commitments to each other.
  • As leaders, we set clear expectations with our teams and negotiate realistic commitments from the board room to the coal face
  • We plan our work to deliver on targets with our people and equipment.
  • Everyone can have input to the plan, either by suggesting work, improving processes or accurately sharing their reality.
  • We collaborate across all functions and crews so everyone on site knows what will happen next and people say, “Things get done when they are in the plan”.
  • We commit to plans that are both based in reality and focused on outcomes. But the world we operate in changes fast, so we adapt quickly and transparently.
  • At regular intervals we reflect on progress, provide feedback and adjust our practices accordingly.
  • We adhere to the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle and act on the learning opportunities we get from any variance from the plan.
  • We fix root causes to improve the “real” work process where it happens.
  • We use technology to improve our work processes, our productivity and the results of our organisation.

 

Frontline Mining Software

Fewzion: Power in simplicity

Designed to solve a common problem

Commit Works initially developed its Fewzion product to overcome obstacles to productivity in an underground coal mine in Queensland.

“The planning spreadsheets and whiteboards that were limping along in the mine were simply not up to the task,” recalls Commit Works CEO Paul Moynagh. “They wasted a lot of people’s time (time that was better spent underground), they were hard to manage, the macros broke all the time, and it was impossible to see what other planners were planning or even whether the plan was getting done.”

These problems were not unique to this mine – issues around monitoring KPIs, crews and their equipment from shift to shift are widespread. While good long-term planning tools exist, there was a gap in the market for reliably managing short interval control (SIC) and dealing with inevitable changes and challenges that arise on site on a daily basis.

Visibility and accountability

Fewzion replaces spreadsheets and whiteboards with a comprehensive online shift-planning system that is visible to all teams. It focuses on putting the plan in the hands of crew supervisors every shift, so that they become accountable for delivering on the plan.

Fewzion’s short interval control captures data on shifts at two-hour intervals. This allows project managers, directors and team members to check performance and make adjustments to get back on track if something’s not going to plan. Problems can be picked up early and solved before they become more significant and costly.

Simplicity and ease of use

Moynagh believes that Fewzion’s power lies in its simplicity.

“The thing everyone mentions is how simple it is to use, and that it is easy to set up and doesn’t cost a lot,” he says. “It works through a browser and can be set up either in the cloud or on your servers.”

“People who can’t use computers can still use Fewzion – it’s iPad simple. In just two hours training coordinators, schedulers, planners and under-managers can be set up and ready to create and manage weekly plans and schedules.”

Mining

The role of digitisation in mitigating mining downturns

The mining industry is variable by nature. Mining it is dependent on multiple factors, including:

  • uncertainty about the nature of resources being mined
  • the changeable quality of a mine’s resources over time
  • environments, sometimes remote and extreme, where money has to be spent flying miners in and out
  • weather
  • market demand for resources
  • mining equipment, which can break down as a result of unpredictable stresses and loads on site.

These factors are part and parcel of mining, and are here to stay. The key to navigating variability therefore lies in how we plan for these conditions. Mining’s future prosperity relies on digital solutions that improve productivity.

At Commit.Works, we develop our software on the basis that we can out-plan uncertainty using innovative technologies.

Mobile technology: smartphones and tablets

In their November 2015 report, McKinsey & Company identified key technologies that have the potential to manage variability and boost mining productivity. Among these technologies were those that involve human-machine interaction:

“Consumer smartphones and other mobile devices have transformed the way that people interact not only with one another but also with machines. Consumers rely on their smartphones for driving directions, booking taxis, and monitoring their health; applications are also spreading rapidly in the industrial field.”

Commit Works’ Fewzion software is one such example. Working via an app on a tablet or smartphone, Fewzion replaces spreadsheets and whiteboards with a comprehensive online shift-planning system that is visible to all teams. It puts the plan in the hands of crew supervisors via their mobile or tablet every shift, so that they become accountable for delivering on the plan.

Monitoring performance in real time

In the same report, McKinsey & Company predicted that real-time measurement of performance against the plan will be a key area of value-creation in future:

“One benefit of real-time data is knowing the state and location of every piece of equipment in a mining operation at every second – and, in particular, whether it is operating according to or outside of the plan. This real-time insight gives new meaning to operations performance management, taking the conversation from one about monthly output to one that focuses on variability and compliance to plan.”

Our Visual Ops product exploits this potential by enabling teams to map and track everything on a site, from equipment to hazards to people. This reduces safety risks and improves coordination by ensuring a high level of situational awareness for everyone in a team.

Commit.Works also enables real-time performance tracking by incorporating short interval control (SIC) into its Fewzion software. Fewzion’s short interval control captures data on shifts at two-hour intervals. This allows project managers, directors and team members to check performance and make adjustments to get back on track if something’s not going to plan. Problems can be picked up early and solved before they become more significant and costly.

Because SIC is based on the idea that we can learn from the past, it’s a system that continually works towards improving future work. Digitised SIC offers a way of monitoring performance that is more accurate, effective, user-friendly and visible to teams.