Monthly Archives: February 2015

Recently, I came across an interesting article, The Sexiest Job in the World: Supply Chain Management by Boris Felgendreher, about the hidden allure of supply chain management and how it’s the debate team captain turned head cheerleader / quarterback of globalized business.

Today’s supply chains require their leaders to be strategic and tactical, analytical and dynamic, flexible and strong…We know this all too well as we work with companies to better manage all aspects of their supply chains. The importance of this component of your business cannot be understated, and it takes time and expertise to realize your supply chain’s full potential from supplier to customer (beginning to end).

Check out the article to find out some of the reasons why your supply chain is so hot right now!

Everyone understands the importance of making a good first impression, but as a consultant, you’re constantly making first impressions every time you meet with a new client. Each new meeting is an opportunity to present your best self while representing the firm you work for. You’re effectively going on an interview at each new site, so you should treat it as such.

You know the obvious things like dressing professionally, making sure you’re well groomed, and avoiding inappropriate comments, but sometimes you forget the small, seemingly subtle, actions that will change the way the client views you. It’s all of the little interactions you have from the moment you walk through the front door, along with your attitude and body language. Your overall presence is being judged.

To help you make a great first impression at your next job site, just follow a few simple rules:

Impression Rule 1 Impression Rule 2 Impression Rule 3 Impression Rule 4 Impression Rule 5 Impression Rule 6

Keep in mind that people talk, regardless of their position within an organization, and how you treated each individual will make the rounds. You’re an outsider trying to change the way they work, it’s in your best interest to start on good terms and build from there. They should have a positive impression of you, and in turn will be more receptive to you coming back to their workplace and implementing the changes that you’re selling to upper management. Creating a positive energy around you will bolster your chances of having a good meeting and lay the foundation for a successful working relationship in the future during the project.

As they say, practice makes perfect. Obviously, you aren’t going to win every project or get along with every new client, but the more you understand how you’re perceived, the better you’ll get at making a good impression.

Maximize Your Return on Labor by Focusing on Advance/Man Shift

As one of the most valuable assets in an underground mine, the miners themselves can sometimes be overlooked when analyzing productivity and efficiency. Labor requirements are not always adjusted to suit the labor demands of different mining methods or conditions. The outcome is often over-crewing, resulting in excess labor costs associated with cost/ounce.

While the industry continues to move away from labor intensive mining methods, many jobs that can only be executed through the use of human capital still remain. This is where you may find large gaps between an experienced, highly skilled workforce and a younger, less skilled workforce. When building a crew for a development drive, it is crucial to set realistic expectations based on first hand observations of work-to-time relationships and provide a succinct message that these expectations are simply that. It is also important to clearly outline this message from a safety and employee morale perspective. Between direct observations and a consensus among the workforce, the following model was successfully prototyped at a North American gold mine, increasing productivity (as measured in meters/man shift) by up to 65%.

Firstly, it is imperative to understand how many people are required for each task and what tasks (if any) can be performed at the same time on one single heading. This will provide the basis for your model. In many cases, only one activity can be performed at the same time in the same heading by only one person. The removal of muck would be a good example of this, as only one miner would be needed in this heading for the duration of the task (mucking). Including any additional labor in this heading will not increase productivity or output in any way.

That being said, in the below example there are multiple activities that require the use of two miners, and therefore a crew size of at least two is expected. So how do you effectively allocate your one or two additional miners when a single person activity is being performed on the heading? The key word in that question is effectively. A common response to that question is to have the additional labor observe, clean up, refuel, prep, or assist if possible. In reality, with proper planning, none of those tasks would need to be done and are not an effective method of allocating your valuable underground resource.

The following model will show how effective providing multiple (three) work headings can be with a three person crew. The challenge then, from a planning and engineering perspective, is that they must provide the required number of headings as close in proximity as possible to each other. This ability is assumed in the following model.

Three Round Model

With two shifts in each day and approximately eight operating hours available after line-outs and travel, the goal is to alternate between blasting two rounds on one shift and blasting one round on the other. Maintaining this cadence will yield three rounds per day (24 hours). If you are using a Productivity KPI such as meters (advance)/man shift, you will be targeting 1.5 meters/man shift (6 man shifts, 9 meters advanced). In other words, for every development miner you are sending underground, you can expect to advance your standard development headings by 1.5 meters.

In the case of our North American client, this target was achieved several times bringing them up from their current standing of .91 meters/man shift. This translates to a 64% improvement in labor productivity.

Ore hauling trucks in row Telfer Western Australia

I spent a couple of years at an underground mine and learned a lot about equipment maintenance strategies, enough that I was able to write a whitepaper about it.

One of the things I learned is how important it is to improve the ratio of planned repair work to unplanned work, and how this can be accomplished by creating a backlog of all known repairs. The word backlog normally has a negative connotation, but it this case it’s a good thing. Since any successful maintenance program should strive to maximize the percentage of time and resources spent on planned maintenance, and reduce the amount of unplanned from unexpected breakdowns, creating the backlog is critical because it provides visibility into future repairs and allows you to more easily identify and predict equipment failures before they occur.

Download Whitepaper