Is there Opportunity to Optimize?
The first question asked in the optimization journey is, “How do I know if there is an opportunity to get more out of what I already have?” I think a good guide to answering this question is to assess if your operation meets all of the following attributes:
- All inclusive operating costs are at historical lows
- Production is at historical highs
- Production rates are stable throughout a shift, day, week, etc.
- Planned Maintenance takes less time
- Unplanned outages are few and far between
- Plant operators know why and how to fix most production issues
One or more of these attributes not currently being achieved is an opportunity for optimization that should be addressed, or at the very least assessed.
How to Optimize?
To achieve optimization you must address each of the three key factors: People, Process, and Technology.
- People: The willingness to be a part of a culture change to challenge the norms and get involved in action that will result in improvements.
- Process: Clearly understand the business processes that support improvement changes. Streamlined forums that talk directly about actionable priorities and where accountability is clearly visible.
- Technology: A platform that not only measures the current and future performance of the assets in real production terms, but also facilitates the improvement changes.
Too often technology is put in place to only measure; this approach fails to directly support the full delivery of a real production step change. Make the decision today to extract the full value of your existing assets through People, Process, and Technology improvements.
Nathan Elphick is a Senior Solutions Architect with over 15 years’ experience in designing, developing and deploying solutions within the heavy-asset industry. Read Nathan’s other article, Challenges when applying OEE in Mining to learn how a change in approach to an old KPI can support the optimization of assets.