Unlocking integrated project controls

The integrated project controls software also takes care of asset health estimations.

InEight’s integrated project controls software allows mining companies to capture and manage operational data remotely, saving time and money in the process. 

To successfully manage any mining operation, it’s integral for operators to keep up to date with the latest data and statistics relative to a site’s performance. 

Outdated data analysis techniques can compromise thousands of dollars’ worth of productivity if a fault in a mining project is not addressed. 

This is because traditional data analysis, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, can take weeks to provide critical information about a mining operation, leaving operators in the dark about operation-halting issues that could be prevented if they were discovered sooner. 

As technology advances, real-time solutions have been refined, allowing productivity and cost data to be clearly identified both remotely and in real time. 

Heavy industry technology specialist InEight has delivered field-tested data management software that allows mining and construction operations to manage risks and keep project costs in proportion. 

At its core, InEight’s integrated controls software delivers real-time information about a mine site to prevent any project-related surprises.

InEight executive vice president, industry engagement Rick Deans says the company’s real-time integrated project controls software helps miners visualise the health of their assets. 

“Mining companies – whether they’re an owner producing ore or a contractor – they’re getting paid to produce, not to run around, collect information and put it in reports,” Deans tells Australian Mining. 

“By integrating estimating, project controls, field data collection, document management, contracts and change management functions, it allows for a more seamless flow of data across these applications.

“Information becomes more available to companies that need it versus companies having to stop what they’re doing to find it.”

A key benefit to the real-time software is it takes care of asset health estimations, flagging key trends before major issues arise, as health, safety, environmental and business risks are all minimised by the software.

According to Deans, InEight’s integrated project controls software can adapt costs to schedule. The software adds another element to help operators understand when money will be spent, rather than just how much will have to be invested into a project. 

“In many cases the ‘when’ is just as important as the ‘how much’,” Deans says. “It gives folks the ability to time-phase their budgets and helps with understanding resource utilisation.”

Cost management is a vital part of a successful mining operation. Deans says traditional ERP systems are not timely due to their month end close procedure. 

“You’re flying blind until the ERP tells you how you did five weeks ago,” Deans says. 

InEight’s solution allows for data to be shown in real time instead, providing significant advantages across an entire operation. 

“ERP systems aren’t very friendly from a forward-looking perspective,” he says. “They’re very good to find things that have happened in the past, but they’re not really helping me look forward and solve tomorrow’s problems,” Deans says.

“It allows workers to make decisions on the job site about moving some resources from some overperforming activities to underperforming activities.”

This also leans into the seamless data flow between contractors and owners, preventing any barriers in project management due to all assets being on the same real-time platform, enhancing visibility in contract performance.

The integrated project controls software also enables earned value management to prevent the guessing game that is often associated with project health. 

“They’re going to gain or lose costs and workforce hours during the course of that effort, so management wants to be able to see before they commit a resource,” Deans says. 

For Deans, the software mitigates the requirement for disorganised spreadsheets and instead streamlines data on a single platform.

“As estimates are built and changes occur, we need all project team members to log into that live instance of the estimate to track who made the change, when the change was made and how the cost was estimated. How did that affect this particular section of the work breakdown structure?” Deans asks. 

“I think many companies have been in cases where we’re in a meeting and the project cost is from $50 million to $65 million.

“Spreadsheets won’t give you that information unless you have intimate knowledge of what those values were as opposed to bringing up an audit log to show the specifics of every change.”

With the mining world rapidly evolving to a more tech-savvy environment, Deans says there is no reason for miners not to adopt a solution like InEight’s integrated project controls software. 

“A lot of folks ask us, how do we get started with something like this?” he says. “I always encourage folks to plant a shade tree in one’s backyard either 15 years ago or today.”  

This article also appears in the July issue of Australian Mining

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