Collaboration and Clear Roles for Pit Supervisors and Mine Dispatchers is Essential for Mine Performance

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Dispatchers and pit supervisors are two leadership roles that play a key role in any performance improvement program at a mine operation. To be a high performing team using a modern fleet management or dispatch system, both the dispatcher and pit supervisor need clearly defined roles and accountabilities and the authority to make decisions quickly. In both our Professional Mining Leadership and Value Added Dispatch programs we ensure each leader has a defined understanding of the expectations of their role and that they are clearly communicating their expectations of others. 

For years, pit supervisors called the shots in the mine – they made all the decisions related to equipment allocation, prioritization and coordinating responses to changing conditions in the pit. They had this decision making power because they were the most experienced and, because they were in the field, had the most up-to-date information about the operating conditions in the pit. In large, modern mining operations with sophisticated fleet management systems, including control rooms that have satellite tracking and high-definition cameras, now allow the dispatcher greater access to real-time data and information. This change requires a redefinition of the role of pit supervisors and dispatchers to maximize the effectiveness of the mine.

With modern fleet management systems, all of the information for decision making is at the fingertips of the mine dispatcher. Through our Value Added Dispatch training program, dispatchers learn to understand the balance between truck and shovel capability, understand the priorities of the mine plan, and learn the importance of constant communication with the crusher control room. We recommend to all our clients that they provide mine dispatchers with the decision making skills and authority to make decisions in real-time based on the information available. 

In operations where the roles of the dispatcher and pit supervisors have not evolved from the traditional, there are significantly delayed responses to changing conditions in the mine (shovel goes down, road is closed, crusher is bridged) as the dispatcher tries to communicate  information to pit supervisors so they can make the decision on how to respond to the upset. This can result in delays in response by 2-3 hours, significantly impacting production during this time. By providing dispatchers with scenario-based training and empowering them with the authority to make real-time decisions we reduce the production loss from these upsets. 

Providing this decision making power to the dispatchers allows the pit supervisors to focus on their area of responsibility- communicating with and coaching their people in the field to ensure the mine is operating as safely and productively as possible. The dispatcher and pit supervisor work as pilot and co-pilot, each with authority but with different and clearly defined accountabilities. 

In our Value Added Dispatch program and the Professional Mining Leadership program we work with our clients to establish the pilot and co-pilot relationship between the dispatch and pit supervisor teams. The result is a mine operation that is safer, more dynamic and more productive.

For more details on the Value Added Dispatch and Professional Mining Leadership programs or our other service offerings, visit the Value Added Dispatch page.