Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Operational stability in the mining sector

Introduction :The benefits of operational stability

Mining company profits are being pressured by the uncertainty that remains in the global economy and by a cost and profitability curve that has grown tight over the past twenty years. This is why it is critical Operational Stability – the predictability of expected mine production, costs, and performance levels – be attained. Getting there requires mining and plant processing activities function at higher levels of productivity and efficiency so that conformance plan is always realized. The quickest avenue to improved Operational Stability begins with reducing the variability in the planning and execution of mining and processing. This requires comprehensive planning, optimized scheduling, and disciplined work management. Stability increases throughput, reduces waste and associated costs, and ensures production and quality targets are met. The key lies in harnessing operational data. While “big data” may be produced in mining in terms of volume, it must become visible, analysable, and it must be made actionable to executives, mine management, and front-line workers. If it is, the path to Mining Execution Excellence, and eventually Business Agility, is paved. As we will see, enabling technology is one of the most important requirements to begin the journey.

Operational Stability is the First Step to Transforming the Enterprise

Establishing predictability in operations is the first step towards transforming mining businesses in a meaningful way. Without control over operations, attempts at becoming agile may not deliver the desired value. If mining businesses do not understand how healthy their operating processes are (including their inputs, plans, equipment, labour, and supporting activities), and how well they are functioning in the now, they will continue to waste resources (capital, equipment, labour, and even the mineral assets). Mining operations that continue to operate in the dark, without information fed back into processes, will continue to see variability in operating efficiency, and planned versus actual production will perpetuate. Many industries have achieved a level of execution discipline well beyond what the mining industry is experiencing today. Advances in technology have led a number of waves of increased execution performance. The industrial internet is driving the latest wave of execution excellence and setting the standard with which most must meet just to stay competitive. Decades ago, manufacturing established process and systems to support Operational Stability, setting a foundation for agile decision-making and dramatic transformations. Today, companies from a wide variety of industries can design, simulate, and manage their businesses by leveraging seamless collaborative environments, connecting their operations, employees, suppliers, and even their customers. This technology exists today for mining companies, if they choose to embrace it. Why Operational Stability is the Foundation for Change Toyota is recognized as being one of the most efficient companies in the world. It is also one of the most studied since it pioneered key methods of reducing variation, with stability being the first and most critical step, because it underpins everything else that follows. Stability includes the general predictability and consistent availability in terms of manpower, machines, materials, and methods. Under each of these basic building blocks of these basic building blocks of manufacturing, Toyota tries to establish consistency and predictability.

When it comes to mining operations, extreme shock, vibration and temperature demands all cause enormous stress on a mine’s superstructure and equipment, putting critical components at risk of failure and costly damages. Swagefast manufactures critical fasteners for the mining industries, ensuring that critical joints are maintained and production downtime is minimised.

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