Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s fourth largest iron ore producer, had a problem – a lack of real-time data and insights for the supervisors in the field. In a mining production environment, an efficiency gain of 1% can mean millions of dollars for the bottom line. As a company committed to driving productivity improvements, Fortescue asked Ignia to pursue a ambitious goal of providing the most up-to-date data for the company, and getting the data out of the control room and into the field. So we rose to the challenge, by creating reporting tools to on-site field operators via mobile devices at the iron ore mines, giving the team a near real-time view of how operations are tracking against production plans and allowing supervisors to be in and around the mining pits.
Today, thanks to our software, Fortescue is generating an estimated $30 million in annual cost savings. In 2014, the team was presented the Gartner Business Process Management Excellence Award for the Short Interval Control (SIC) project.
Ignia partnered with Fortescue to deliver the SIC decision support system, which provides real-time reporting tools to on-site mining supervisors that show how operations are tracking against production plans, via a series of sophisticated business intelligence dashboards. And it’s all delivered to Windows-based tablet devices. Feeds of data are pulled together from fleet management systems that track trucks, diggers and other mining equipment, as well as the SCADA systems that control and monitor fixed plant. Previously, supervisors had to wait up to 12 hours to receive progress reports, generated manually at the end of each shift, to gauge the day’s productivity. The data is now at the supervisors’ fingertips – presented as either intuitive visual dashboards or as rich data.
“The ability to measure the adherence to plan during the shift has improved the way Fortescue works,” explains Nick Owen, IT Business Manager at Fortescue Metals Group. “Previously, it was very difficult to measure against targets during a shift, with the information not visible until the next day. Giving supervisors access to the data in near real-time helps them to make informed decisions, quickly engage with mine control and have a better understanding of available options.”
The original project was delivered using an agile delivery approach, working in three-week sprints. Following the successful first phase of the SIC project, Fortescue continued to work with the Ignia team to expand on the SIC dashboarding capabilities, with successful implementations across the Solomon and Cloudbreak mine sites. In addition to the SIC reports and mobile dashboards, Ignia brought real-time dashboard reporting to the Ore Processing Facilities (OPFs) at the Cloudbreak, Solomon and Christmas Creek mine sites, along with near real-time dashboards for rail and port operations. These dashboards complement the SIC reports and have allowed the business to track production rates against daily targets, and their investment in mobile devices for its staff enabled the SIC project to reach more employees across many remote locations.