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  • Mining Logistics Revolution

    Abstract

    The mining industry faces complex and demanding challenges in its logistical operations, ranging from ore extraction to transportation and customer delivery, encompassing the entire logistics of its operation and warehouses (both Productive and Non-Productive). In this context, implementing "hands-on" projects will play a crucial role in identifying opportunities, designing solutions and processes, and implementing these solutions at different organizational levels. This article explores the benefits and impact that an on-site approach can bring to the mining industry, highlighting successful case studies and strategies. Introduction The mining industry is a cornerstone of the global economy, providing essential raw materials for a wide range of industrial sectors. However, the inherently complex and hazardous nature of ore extraction and transportation presents numerous operational and logistical challenges. In order to enhance their competitiveness, productivity, and sustainability, companies in this sector are seeking innovative approaches and specialized expertise. In this regard, an on-site implementation can play a fundamental role by working closely with the logistical operations of the mining industry, providing valuable insights, identifying problems, and implementing effective solutions. In this article, we'll explore the key benefits of an active consultative approach on-site and how it can positively drive logistical operations in the mining industry.

    1. On-Site Implementation: A Practical Approach

    Initially, it's important to define what on-site implementation means: it's not limited to providing theoretical recommendations or superficial analyses. Instead, it delves deeply into the company's operations, working side by side with the team to understand the intricacies of opportunities and identifies critical improvement points, once it has mapped the aspirations and expectations of the strategic levels. This practical approach allows proposals to sustainably succeed in the business, as it excludes political interests from the analysis, as well as biased, unconscious, or conscious filters. By applying this approach to the entirety of logistics, a comprehensive view of logistical ambitions is obtained, from extraction to transportation and distribution. This intimate knowledge empowers consultancy to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and optimization opportunities that might easily be overlooked by external observers.

    2. Identification and Reduction of Logistic Bottlenecks

    One of the main benefits of hands-on consultancy in the mining industry is its ability to identify and resolve logistical bottlenecks. These bottlenecks can arise at different stages of operations, from inadequate resource allocation to lack of integration between different processes. A case study in a lithium mine demonstrated how hands-on consultancy mapped the entire workflow, identifying bottlenecks in production and transportation. Through detailed analyses, the consultancy found that certain transport routes were inefficient, resulting in longer delivery times, increased equipment wear, and higher operational costs. By proposing a change in routing plans and the use of advanced monitoring technologies, the consultancy improved equipment productivity by 20% and reduced costs.

    3. Improved Asset Management and Maintenance

    Efficient asset management is crucial in the mining industry, where heavy equipment and machines play a crucial role in logistical operations. Therefore, work carried out on-site, alongside the teams, will always bring a fresh perspective on preventive, predictive maintenance, and proper asset management. Supplemented with meticulous data analysis of equipment performance and failure patterns, such work will drive the implementation of a more efficient maintenance program and reduce downtime (planned and unplanned) for critical equipment. Moreover, it will indicate the most suitable maintenance practices for each equipment, directly affecting the stock levels of each desired spare part.

    4. Team Development and Empowerment

    Another crucial aspect of this type of work is team development and empowerment. As new technologies and processes are implemented, it's essential that employees are adequately trained for these tools, reducing "learning curve" times and actively participating in continuous improvement on-site. These projects should lead workshops, practical training, and educational sessions to ensure that the team is prepared to adopt technological innovations. Such an investment in team development contributes to long-term operational efficiency and ensures the sustainability of implemented improvements.

    5. Safety and Sustainability

    Safety is a fundamental concern in any sector, and the mining industry is no exception. As on-site implementations bring a sense of urgency to unsafe situations, they develop employees' behavioral skills. Furthermore, they should promote environmentally and socially responsible practices. Through the analysis of logistical processes, they should identify areas where operational efficiency promotes a reduction in the consumption of natural resources, leading to production gains. Conclusion On-site implementation plays a vital role in the mining industry, providing a practical, results-oriented approach. By identifying bottlenecks, implementing real-life based improvements, deploying advanced technologies, improving leadership and supervision in mid-level management roles, this work will drive site logistical operations, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing safety and sustainability.   By: Eduardo Lima

    Keep it simple – and effective !…

    Whether as a result of the existing organizational structure, decision-making processes or simply by inaction, medium and large companies are growing (when) at a slow pace, while smaller organizations, such as start-ups, are growing exponentially. Heavy organizational structures with too many layers continue to be a reality in today's organizations. These structures have negative impacts in team motivation and prevent new solution and opportunity design proactiveness. The existing distance between the decision-makers and the shop floor teams reduces the chance of good ideas even being presented, and, of the ones that strive this long journey, many will die simply because fear of change along the management chain. Decision-making processes, how often, a team or person, suggests a particular solution or opportunity and when presenting it, faces a response like “the legal will not allow it.” or “have you already consulted compliance” They just won't accept it"? Rather than promoting the idea and encouraging the team, managers excel at presenting problems instead of investing in pursuing that idea, particularly by promoting "trials" to demonstrate the feasibility and value of the idea or solution. Inaction, contrary to human nature, which tends to be exploratory. Most organizations are living daily with the inaction of individuals who fear “change”, the reaction from their leaders, among others. Teams simply wait for instructions, and when questioned about why they do not present solutions, they respond "It is now up to me. It is up to the leadership to do it". These characteristics, even in different proportions, affects most organizations we encounter and have worked with over the years. The symptoms may vary, but we can certainly observe commonly a low sense of ownership, demotivated teams and high staff turnover. The workforce has also changed organizations, but at a much slower pace, and as a result, these organizations face significant challenges in retaining their talents. This is not only due to salary attractiveness but mainly because of the feeling of frustration among those who perceive the organization as stagnant and lacking opportunities for growth and recognition. Organizations need to reinvent themselves, creating new and more functional structures, bringing the different layers closer together. Recognition models that are valid for the entire organization, simplified decision-making, team empowerment to take risks and try new ideas, as well as the courage to take action, are paramount. The extensive experience of our team will be a valuable ally to your organization in this much needed transformation and change management.   By: Nuno Falé

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