Glen Britton (Head of Underground Coal Operations at Anglo American)
The implementation of Fewzion in September 2014, its integration with other systems (SAP, CITECT, Compliance) throughout the year and enhancements to encourage tighter planning control that have been rolled out during and post the Working Groups, have assisted Grasstree to achieve this fantastic result.
Of course other factors have played a large part in this achievement however Fewzion has played it’s part by ensuring one structured plan on site and as such one version of the truth
Dolf Wirth – Business Improvement Leader / Consultant
Having implemented many systems including Oracle and a $200 mil SAP program, as well as bespoke systems, I can say that the Fewzion system is one of the best I have seen for driving results – easy to use and a fraction of the price.
Alisha Bax – former Continuous Improvement Manager at an Underground Mine in Australia
AUSTRALIAN company Fewzion has won further endorsement of its mine shift planning system, with a Queensland operator describing the change from a standard system to the Fewzion product as “a revolution”.
“The transition from an Excel-based macro enabled spreadsheet to Fewzion was a revolution,” said the continuous improvement manager with a major coal producer at a new metallurgical coal longwall operation in the Bowen Basin, Alisha Bax.
“Excel is a powerful tool for analytics and some low level planning activities [but] it does not enable dynamic planning, task allocation, rostering, equipment management, close out data capture and reporting in and out. Fewzion … delivers a significant step change from spreadsheets and whiteboards.”
The new system eliminated at least seven complex spreadsheets at the site, Bax said.
Fewzion director Paul Moynagh said the feedback he was getting from mining people about various types of management operating systems (MOS) in use in the industry suggested many felt they were “a lot more painful and time consuming than they need to be in this day and age”.
“Aligning front line supervisors with the objectives of the management team is one of the most important things an operation can do to improve performance,” Moynagh said. “The shift plan and tools that hold teams accountable for achieving the plan are critical to achieving this.”
The problem was that the standard approach – mainly spreadsheets and whiteboards – used to develop a weekly plan, deliver the plan to supervisors, manage the work and ensure its completion, and activate improvement procedures, the so-called “Plan, Do, Check, Act” cycle, was “remarkably hard to get going and even harder to sustain”.
“In my career as a management consultant I have been witness, and sometimes responsible, for some excruciatingly manual management systems that are good in theory but end up being wasteful of people’s time and enthusiasm in practice,” Moynagh said.
“[With Fewzion] we have taken a world class management system and made it so visual, easy to use and simple to understand that it can be implemented on site in a fraction of the time of manual systems. This means your team can quickly get on to delivering and sustaining the benefits a management system makes possible.”
According to Bax, Fewzion’s storage and reporting of shift performance trending data in real time, in accordance with key performance indicators and planning compliance parameters, is also “incredibly powerful to help manage shift performance and productivity”.
“I have had several opportunities over my career in mining to work closely with top tier consulting firms on complex projects,” she said.
“It can be frustrating in that it’s often difficult to maintain engagement with the workforce and to sustain the momentum of project solutions once consultants leave. The implementation of Fewzion was different.”
The company’s ongoing support and attention to detail, ensuring successful implementation, training, and awareness of the system, had produced “great results with substantially less effort on our side”.
“We purposely put a significant focus on engagement at the correct level of the workforce – superintendents through to shift coordinators – and with strong buy in and support from site senior management and corporate management we had the right focus to succeed,” she said.
In a climate of expenditure cutbacks and general reluctance of mine owners to double up on reporting systems and other technologies, Bax said Fewzion maintained its appeal “because it contains everything you need to create a successfully scheduled plan that is resource balanced and free of conflict between multiple processes”.
“By replacing large numbers of spreadsheets and whiteboards it provides full transparency to any level within the organisation,” she said.
“The system is extremely easy to use and has been designed to be simple for general mine site supervisors and coordinators, while also delivering critical information to the senior team. Much thought has been given to the complexities and issues underground mining faces on a shift-by-shift basis, and this is clearly visible once planning activities begin in Fewzion and user feedback has been enormously supportive in this area.”
Bax produced feedback from users at the central Queensland mine to support this.
“The guys are finding it so easy to use, planning is as simple as drag and drop and everything is visible and integrated so we can see what’s going on, it’s just so easy,” a scheduler said.
A process superintendent, who didn’t class himself “as a computer wiz”, said the Fewzion system was easy to pick up and use.
“We are currently developing a plan to roll Fewzion out at two other underground longwall mines within the portfolio and in the future will be considering the benefits Fewzion may offer in opencut operations as well,” Bax said.
Dr Jeremy Davies – Director of the Natural Resources Centre of Excellence at CSC says:
“In our experience of designing, building, implementing and supporting the day to day operation of mining systems we frequently find our clients have no systems that really make managing daily mining operations easier. They need to be able to control and adjust short term, hour to hour mining operations, and keep them closely linked to the longer term mine plans. They need a simple, easy to use way to convert the monthly and weekly plans into accurate day to day, shift and hourly based activities. This is a very challenging task given the inevitable unplanned changes and new constraints that are introduced in every shift.
Fewzion fills this gap and we have been impressed with its capability to plan and manage day to day tasks, provide a simple way to manage work orders and tasks and to accurately report KPIs at the end of each shift. The contribution Fewzion has made to improving production performance in longwall mining operations is particularly impressive. We like their “hands on, crew focused” approach and their attention to detail – in particular with respect to “ease of use”, absolutely critical if any IT system is to be adopted and used effectively, day to day by a workforce. It seems to us the Fewzion toolset is a very practical way to improve operational performance – and make life easier for everyone.”
CSC is always on the lookout for innovative IT systems that can help miners improve their performance. CSC has the experience, people and infrastructure to help our mining clients introduce and use these new technologies safely and effectively. We are working with the team at Fewzion to make their toolset more widely available to our clients.
Dr Jeremy Davies is Director of the Natural Resources Centre of Excellence at CSC and part of CRC Mining, working out of the School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering at the University of Queensland
People who use Fewzion describe the way that this system helps them to improve the performance in their work place
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