A Strong Foundation is Critical to Implementing New Technology in Asset Management

by

When we look at maintenance and reliability functions, there are a lot of industry buzzwords thrown around. I’m sure you’ve heard them – artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, the Internet of things, etc.. These powerful concepts have significant potential to transform how lots of industries operate, and maintenance and reliability in mining are no exception. However, a detailed implementation plan is required to get to a point where these exciting technologies can help a site. More importantly, basic maintenance and reliability tools and processes must already be well established to support their implementation.

A common mistake that companies make is implementing changes without a comprehensive strategy. Our clients often approach Outliers Mining Solutions wishing to use machine learning or big data analytics to improve maintenance or install real-time asset-health monitoring to enhance equipment reliability. These requests frequently come from senior leaders based on a company-wide strategic initiative to embrace leading-edge technology, or they attended a conference where machine learning was promoted as the future of mining. The first thing we ask our clients is – “Are you ready to implement these technologies?”

“Are you ready to implement these technologies?”

What we mean when we ask this question is “Do you have the basic foundational maintenance and reliability systems and processes well established?”

 These include:

  • Maintenance planning and scheduling
  • Work management processes
  • Computerized maintenance management systems
  • Supply chain support
  • Condition-based maintenance practices
  • KPI tracking & visual management

Attempting to implement sophisticated technology, with the associated systems and processes, on top of an immature maintenance and reliability department sets the technology up for long-term failure. That’s where Outliers Mining Solutions can provide a strategy. We assess the mine site and the goals of our clients for improvement in maintenance and reliability. We use this assessment to develop a strategic plan with our clients to create these fundamental foundations of asset management. Once we achieve this, we can build from that strong foundation to implement leading-edge technology solutions.

For example, one of our long-term clients approached us a few years ago asking to implement real-time condition monitoring on their truck fleet to improve its availability. It was a remote site in a developing country. The truck fleet was past mid-life and the maintenance and reliability systems and processes were immature. Through our Asset Health Survey, we identified and quantified where maintenance and reliability improvements would provide the most value. We were able to clearly explain that the current maturity level of the maintenance systems and the maintenance team would not support a successful implementation.

Due to the age and condition of the truck fleet, the cost of retrofitting the fleet and additional infrastructure was not feasible, given the risk of the project. Focusing time and resources on developing and improving their foundational maintenance and reliability systems and processes, as well as developing their people, would provide a better short term fleet availability improvement at a much lower cost.  Once this work was completed, a real-time monitoring system could be supported and offer additional cost-effective enhancements.

At Outliers Mining Solutions, we assist mine operations in identifying gaps and implementing best practices in the mobile and fixed plan asset management departments. We can improve your sites foundational processes and create a roadmap to your business being a leader in successful implementation of exciting new technologies.

Learn more about Outliers Mining Solutions Asset Management services.