RungePincockMinarco (RPM) has entered into an agreement to acquire a copy of the source code and intellectual property rights of the Fewzion short interval control (SIC) and work management software product.

Fewzion is an Australian company headquartered in Newcastle and under the terms of this acquisition RPM has acquired the non-exclusive right to rebrand, commercialise and further develop the Fewzion software.

The Fewzion platform is designed for planning and managing frontline work, it replaces old fashioned spreadsheets, whiteboards and paper based tools with a modern, easy to use integrated management system and short interval control toolkit. This innovative system integrates high-level planning tools and empowers those working on the frontline to plan and track progress to ensure goals are met in a transparent and consistent manner.

The information from the different software applications that operate in a mine (such as shift rostering, resource planning, production planning, maintenance scheduling, ancillary tasks and many other activities that a shift supervisor has to think about on a daily basis) are consolidated together into one display. This enables visibility to everyone in an easy to use web application, which provides real time collaboration and results reporting. A shift supervisor can plan their work activities, track performance and take proactive action immediately if their targets are at risk. A number of Fewzion clients have seen immediate increases of more than 30% in production and development productivity, as well as delivering their mine construction projects well under time and budget after implementing Fewzion.

Commenting on this acquisition, RPM’s CEO and managing director Richard Mathews said: "The acquisition by RPM of this short interval control solution is a continuation of our drive to provide mining companies with the productivity tools they need to reduce their cost of mining while enabling data to flow freely between applications for the benefit of their users and their mining enterprise at large.

"The original idea of breaking a shift down into short intervals which can be measured and proactively take actions to achieve better outcomes started in the manufacturing industry back in the 1990’s. SIC is a process for driving production improvements during the shift. Each shift is split into short intervals of time, within which employees use real time data to identify and implement improvement actions. These improvement actions may be countermeasures to ongoing or emerging problems, or they may be actions to improve existing production.

"In mining, SIC is an extension of the daily production meeting. The underlying principle is ‘we cannot change the past; however, we can learn from it to improve the future’. SIC accelerates the pace of improvement and puts more responsibility into the hands of operators and other employees. SIC is very engaging for operational teams, as it provides them with a greater degree of autonomy and responsibility for how equipment runs, and it provides instant feedback through visible and measurable results."

"Currently most mine supervisors manage SIC using a large whiteboard. Because this process is all manual, they often do not know they have a problem until it is too late and the shift is over. SIC is all about making decisions that drive intra-shift operational changes based on real-time information from various systems in the mine, with reference to the original plan. The key goal isn’t just to hit production targets but to increase predictability in production as well as improve overall productivity.

"We scoured the market to identify the company furthest down the SIC path (in mining) and with global mining customers such as Anglo American and Glencore already using their software in production it was clear that the team at Fewzion had the premier SIC solution.

"With the support of the Fewzion team and investment by our development team we expect to build out this SIC application for the benefit of our current and new customers.

"The RPM SIC system will be our first web based application which can be sold either as a traditional perpetual license or as a software as a service (SaaS) offering."

"This acquisition again demonstrates RPM’s continued commitment to the short term planning space. It provides RPM with the software and underlying infrastructure capability to integrate its ultra-short term planning (XECUTE) and maintenance planning (AMT) software into a new SIC platform that takes feeds from many other systems in the mine using its enterprise planning framework."

Fewzion co-founder and director Paul Moynagh said: "We have been very impressed with how RPM has continued to invest in innovative software products for the mining industry during the downturn when everyone else has reduced the size of their development teams. The Fewzion product is a logical extension of RPM’s short-term production planning, maintenance planning and enterprise planning solutions. We are looking forward to working with Richard and his team to expand both the Fewzion product set and customer installations into the future."