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Moving Mining Technology and Equipment from Paper to Digital

One of the most difficult transitions within business can be taking your paper-based operations digital. This is largely due to the fact that many mines use dated methods for safety inspection, pre-start checks, operator rounds, logbook, or quality assurance. With outdated methods, it’s difficult to revolutionise business processes in the same way speed that the rest of the world progresses. Whilst the resources industry often takes the speed of regulatory bodies or technology of equipment, it is always good to be ahead of the curve; being an industry forefront leader rather than an industry ‘lagger’. This is why it is imperative to have up-to-date methods at all times, simple paper-based solutions are notoriously cumbersome and inefficient when compared to modern digital solutions. The inability to update quickly the regulatory paperwork and procedures, it can take days, weeks and even months to roll out a fresh set of checklists and procedures that are in line with the industries best. Such a waiting time further underlines the almost vital benefit that paperless solutions chiefly bring – speed and customisation.

Perhaps the premier difference between paper-based inspection solutions to digital applications is speed. This is not only the speed of completing the actual checklist or logbook, nor undertaking the set inspection; speed differences can be visible almost everywhere. From collecting information via pictures instead of notes, scanning barcodes/RFID or standardised response forms, the inspectors job becomes much easier. Once everything is recorded, the information and checklist can be sent instantly via an internet connection (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G) to the database for processing. At the same time, supervisors, management and maintenance teams can be notified of whether the inspection passed or failed and hence what action needs to be taken. The inspection report is then automatically filed against the asset, equipment or check in question, becoming part of the historical record for that equipment piece. In just a few seconds, the digital application has performed numerous tasks that would take hours, potentially days when done manually. Before the inspector has even returned to their office, everyone in the mine necessary to have access to this report will have the opportunity to do so just because of digital information sharing. This also removes the need for double data entry, something that many mines still have as a costly time-consuming process.

Alongside speed is the benefit of customisation. Premium inspection solutions today will often strive to offer as much tailoring as possible, this allows for the top package to work for any mine. When moulded around existing business methods and processes, the computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) or the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) can work with the mine instead of against it. Customising can take place via checklists forms; historical tracking of assets and equipment; how the solution is hosted via in-house servers or the cloud (SaaS); the automatically suggested corrective actions; trigger notifications to 3rd parties; how many and what devices are used; access for employees etc. There is a lengthy list today of what premium inspection solutions provide, however the key benefit is when there is an opportunity to tailor it to specific business needs and requirements. This can also mean the way that it is implemented such as a turnkey solution; or how the organisation wants to structure the solution subscription. There are obviously clear differences in the needs and requirements of international corporations to more local businesses, and so choosing a premium inspection solution allows the flexibility to tailor a comprehensive package to the size and scale of use. Only by doing this can the best possible solution for employees, assets and the organisations success be achieved.

When making the shift from paper to digital solutions it is important to realise what the mining organisational needs for your organisation that are crucial to success. This helps to underpin what you may require from a CMMS or EAM. Whether this means an application to run on smartphones and tablets with offline capabilities, or whether it means dynamic tracking of assets and integration with your existing business intelligence/ERP systems; it is important that these are clear and defined. When you have outlined what these are, a good starting point to selecting a provider is remembering what benefits you can get from their package. By recognising the ability to increase your workplace proficiency through speed and customisation of the software, it will be apparent that premium inspection solutions can provide a comprehensive and useful tool for your mining organisation.

For more information on CMMS within mining or taking your methods paperless, visitour website.

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