Developing a Better Operating Model for a Mining Company

By consolidating geographically dispersed operations monitoring and control into a single hub, a bulk commodity producer improved coordination and productivity.

A mining company with a complex supply chain was having trouble managing multiple facilities with different purposes in different locations. As the company’s volume grew, so did the scope and complexity of operations, producing an increasing number of interdependencies across the network.

To improve coordination and boost productivity, the company launched a project to consolidate operations monitoring and control to a central hub located in a city hundreds of miles away from its mining operations. Although the individual components of enabling technology were already in place—sensors and actuators, control systems, and network connectivity, for example—it was the combination of those technologies that made the project succeed.

Working with BCG, the company used elements of the Mine Operations Systems Transformations (MOST) solution to:

  • Integrate planning and operations across sites, functions, and time horizon
  • Manage governance, compliance, and risk
  • Implement data analytics to identify and address bottlenecks
  • Change process workflows within physical operations
  • Enable change management
  • Develop a culture of continuous improvement

The benefits have been substantial. The operations center was completed on time and under budget, paying for itself within 18 months. Hundreds of staff were relocated to the city, reducing travel and accommodation costs.

Real-time visibility on where, when, and how bottlenecks shift across the supply chain has allowed management to focus their continuous improvement efforts on delivering real productivity gains and cost savings. In addition, better integrated plans and a stricter adherence to schedules have decreased the variability that exists in many mining operations, thereby increasing production.

The project’s success has led to pilots of other technology programs, such as automation, and experiments with big data and advanced analytics.