Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints, Mining, and the Optimum Software

Theory of Constraints is linked with sustainable improvement


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Simply defined, the Theory of Constraints (TOC) views any manageable system as being limited by a small number of constraints. TOC is a focusing process to identify the constraint and restructure the rest of the organization around it. When we apply this theory to mining operations, the increased production can be significant, and in many cases record-breaking. Efficient use of the TOC process for this particular industry and application requires some smart software support.

MPPIglobal uses TOC to guide the implementation of our Production OEE model which is fully supported by our integrated software called Optimum. This allows simple automated capture of opportunities for improvement and a clear way to optimize the use of capital assets within mining.

Importance of TOC model design


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A production-driven TOC model in a mining environment, or a Production OEE model, is critical for efficient production improvement. Contrary to popular belief, establishing an isolated measurement system only at the constraint actually limits the overall discovery of improvement opportunities. The TOC model needs to clearly identify the constraint and its production impact, but should not be limited only to the constraint. In many mining operations, the constraint or bottleneck can and does move due to specific operating conditions. Getting this design wrong can limit your improvement data to uncovering only 30-40% of the available opportunities, or worse, it can encourage improvement initiatives in the wrong area entirely.

Optimum: a new generation in asset optimization software


Proper design and implementation of a TOC model supported by technology can transform an operation for the better. MPPI Global’s asset optimization software Optimum has been purpose-built for any heavy asset-based operation. Optimum was designed with a clear objective to support improved performance with built in modules designed around TOC such as Production OEE and Critical Process and Equipment Management. Optimum’s focus is on capturing improvement data and highlighting the critical improvement initiatives.

While the Theory of Constraints may seem complex in the mining sphere at first glance, it can be a powerful and a straight forward improvement tool when applied correctly and supported with technology. Optimum sets the stage for a clear understanding of data, insight, and actionable tasks which ultimately translate into sustainable improvement.

Learn more about Optimum Software, or for more detailed information, contact us.