In our 2015 survey, we were finally able to prove with data, what until then we had suspected – being a follower on innovation is likely to deliver lower incremental value over time. Following leads to hesitancy, a lack of internal alignment and poor performance when implementing technology.
This year, through benchmarking and targeted global interviews we identified a few companies that have been outperforming their peers as quick, targeted, needs-driven innovation. This is the third of four cases that I will be exploring on a weekly basis.
Dundee Precious Metals: From analogue to digital on a shoestring
We hired a CTO (who) was not a typical mining IT guy… he challenged me that the mining industry was 20 years behind manufacturing: “Why aren’t you doing this stuff?” He said he’d fix it – he did.
Dundee Precious Metals (Dundee) is a Canadian-based mining company whose flagship mine in Chelopech, Bulgaria produces gold, copper and silver concentrate. Amidst the context of falling prices and mining productivity the company was faced with a survival imperative:
Double throughput, and halve the costs, using only existing capital equipment.
This transformation was achieved within two years. The approach was simple enough – ‘digitise and lift the lid off the mine.’
Lessons from Dundee:
- Start with Wi-Fi and 100% connectivity
- Install sensors on everything
- Go for quick wins, but do not discount the importance of visualising the operations as a whole
- Highlight constraints, inconsistencies and exceptions and then address them systematically
- Focus on data integration and access, not application and integration
- Don’t get caught mapping and remapping processes
- Avoid gold plating technology solution
Ultimately, the key to Dundee’s success is rooted in trusting their people:
- A CEO that is deeply evolved in the whole design, and trusted by the board
- Empower employees at all levels to innovate and make decisions
- Look outside of the industry for talent and solutions to challenge the status quo
- Make use of smart, local talent in Eastern Europe for real time fixes
- Adopt innovative solutions and partnership approaches
This extract from the 2017 Innovation: State of Play Mining Industry report, is part of a 4 part series covering leading innovators and their key to success.
- The introduction to the series can be found online on our blog here
- Sibanye Resources – Unlocking ore body value through innovation, here
- Fortescue Metals Group – Agile, informed, margin-focused innovation, here
The report is on sale now. Our biennial survey has grown to become the world’s largest mining industry survey and has been used to influence entire ecosystem strategies, as well as in shaping individual company direction.