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Scheduling tech and short interval control provide a high return on investment, says mining industry report

A high-profile report on technology in the mining sector has identified optimised scheduling and short interval control as two of the best investments for mining companies who are committed to digital transformation.

According to McKinsey & Company’s 2018 report, Behind the mining productivity upswing: Technology-enabled transformation, mining is already reaping the benefits of technological change, and mining productivity is on the rise.

The report stresses, however, that technology needs to be part of a holistic approach to transformation that extends across every facet of a mining organisation. Companies who invest in tech without a broad, organisation-wide strategy may not see the improvements they’ve been hoping for.

“There is no technological silver bullet that companies can buy to achieve their goals,” it states. Instead, transformation depends on the success of three interdependent engines, described below:

1. Harnessing tech

Harnessing digital, analytics and automation technology across an organisation can support productivity, safety, customer satisfaction, and supply chain management.

New technologies are already helping mining companies in many ways, including:

  • Improving throughput and recovery by using data and advanced analytics to inform decisions and improve processes.
  • Optimising maintenance, so it’s performed when needed rather than on a fixed schedule, thanks to sensors and machine learning. Phone- or tablet-based systems also help by giving maintenance workers the info they need while they’re on the job.
  • Reducing operating costs – especially through the use of robotics and autonomous machines.
  • Boosting productivity by coordinating activities. In underground mining, where this has always been a challenge, WiFi or 5G wireless tech on mobile devices allows supervisors to communicate with work teams in real time and adapt plans using short interval control to suit conditions.

2. Adapting management systems

A mining company implementing new technologies also needs to modify the ways in which its employees operate “to embed the new tools and insights into their daily workflow”.

Sometimes the organisational structure may need to change too. Traditional siloed teams typically lead to “slow and inferior decision making. Each team sees only its part of the whole, and when problems arise (as they always do), it works against collaborative and cooperative thinking and action. Most importantly, teams that work in silos know only what they know; they are isolated from the data that drives innovation”.

3. Overhauling culture and capabilities

Breaking ingrained habits is the third part of the puzzle; mining companies need to manage a change in mindset, behaviours and capabilities, formally and through modelling by managers. They will also need to train, retrain and upskill employees, and hire others to fill new roles as technologies are harnessed.

The role of better scheduling and control

The report lists optimised scheduling and control as “a use case that will provide a high return on investment” for companies embarking on tech-enabled transformation.

Commit Works’ Fewzion and short interval control systems are tech solutions that act across all of McKinsey and Company’s “three engines for change”:

  1. They harness mobile technology and analytics to support productivity, transparency, safety and decision-making.
  2. They modify the way that employees work together by giving teams access to a single plan in real time and enabling progress to be tracked – breaking down silos, allowing plans to be adjusted as necessary and making people accountable for the work they do.
  3. They change the behaviours and mindsets of teams and supervisors, through a system based on commitment, trust and accountability.

Commenting on the opportunities provided by mobile solutions for underground mining, the report notes that enabling supervisors to communicate with work teams in real time lets them “react and adapt to changing conditions, allowing an underground mine to function like a modern, sophisticated open-pit operation”. Furthermore, short interval control allows companies to “examine where decisions are made, and by whom, and empower their workers to make informed, data-driven decisions, quickly and safely”.

We’re proud to be delivering products that are so central to the practical digital transformation of the mining industry. Contact us to find out more about how Commit Works can help optimise productivity and safety on your mining operation.

Jhon Ansley - Commit Works COO

John Ansley New COO

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

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 Opsproduct, 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).

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.

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.”