Transparent links in the contract chain

With many mining jobs performed by different contractors, it is important for companies to keep track of each level of management using intelligent software systems.

Many of the jobs per­formed in the mining industry contract ser­vices from different companies.

This includes contractors with mechanical, civil or geological skills.

Australian IT firm Yarris has developed an integrated software system that is designed to allow all people and com­panies involved in contracted work to see exactly what is hap­pening at any time in the man­agement process.

Yarris and IBM have teamed together using Yarris’ conSOL software and IBM’s Maximo Enterprise Asset Management software, to create the Yarris BM-Maximo solution: Yarris Field Services, or YFS.

“YFS provides an accessi­ble and transparent system that enables each company in the services management chain to see a job’s status, while keeping all asset details cur­rent”, Yarris strategic alli­ance manager Rob Heselev told Australian Mining.<[etk]>

“All aspects of the job are managed by the system and all parties can log onto the system and see the status of their work at any point in time,” he said.

“YFS is designed to support the efficient management of the different pieces of work that the contractors do on behalf of the asset owners.

“It really comes into its own is where there are multiple levels of contractors working on a particular job.”

Asset management

Given the importance and price tags that are attached with most pieces of mining equip­ment, it is definitely in a com­pany’s interest to ensure that it is effectively maintained to optimise working life, Hese­lev said.

“With these pieces of equip­ment, it is worthwhile consci­entiously maintaining them because the replacement costs are so high,” he said.

While an individual mining company will own its fleet of equipment, the actual manage­ment and maintenance of that equipment will often be con­tracted to another company.

“If a tyre needs to be re­placed or a truck engine rebuilt, contractors will bid for that work and one of the bidders will be allocated the job,” Heselev said.

But according to Heselev, that will not necessarily be the end of the contracting process.

The original contracting companies can in turn sub-con­tract parts of the job to other companies.

A potential problem with having so many links in the management chain is that information can easily become lost from one company to another.

This is what YFS is designed to avoid.

“It integrates both asset and services management and makes the whole process transparent,” Heselev said.

Easy access

With so many sets of eyes poten­tially looking at the data involved with a specific management process, it is important to make the system easily accessible, Heselev said.

“It is all delivered as a ­‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) via the internet,” he said.

“So users can basically log in, check the technical and com­pletion status of the job, and whether there are any financial variations that may need amend­ment. All of that is managed by the software.”

A key to the easy access is that the mining company at the top of the contracting chain is also able to receive informa­tion in a straightforward manner.

“All of the information actu­ally flows back up to the asset owner,” Heselev said.

Retro active

Being an integrated service and asset management system means that as information from a par­ticular job is entered into YFS, it can later be recalled for each individual asset in order to give contractors relevant information that will allow them to avoid past problems with the equipment, Heselev said.

“This means that work orders can be raised out of the asset management system for

preventative and routine main­tenance through the same serv­ices management system as new work.

“So not only are companies doing newly commissioned work, but they can also do pre­ventative maintenance work that is built from the history of the asset.”

Better records

With the danger of losing in­formation regarding contract work done on equipment comes the possibility of not being able to pinpoint who is respon­sible for a problem should one arise.

“What often happens is that companies only have a par­tial asset management system and they are doing all of their contract management through a separate system and they will not know who did the work on a given asset,” Heselev said.

“For example, an expen­sive tyre might only last a week on a large excavator and the owner will want to know why that was so.

“With the integrated system, users know which particular contractor touched a tyre which later failed.”

• Yarris

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