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You Guys Can Handle It

A global gold mine company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has six operational mines. All are suffering major losses, particularly the newly commissioned mine that was intended to be a showcase. Something went wrong.

The chief executive officer (CEO) hired a mining executive as chief operating officer (COO) to put the operating mines back on track. The COO then hired a chief financial officer (CFO) as his right-hand woman.

The operating managers at each mine had no visibility into their production process. They did not have an operational computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), nor did they have an asset register, an inventory catalog, or asset performance history. Consequently, the CFO had no idea of the magnitude of the mining company’s maintenance spend.

A mechanic and an electrical engineer were having lunch together, discussing the state of their mining operations and their company. The mechanic said to his colleague: “What would you do if you were a newly hired CEO?”

The electrical engineer responded:

“We need help. I would reach out to trusted and accountable industry experts to assist us in turning around our mine. We need to develop asset performance expectations for our assets. Right now, we don’t have that. We need to implement a mature CMMS / enterprise asset management (EAM) system in tandem with well-defined business processes to capture asset and inventory data. We don’t have that either. What would you do?”

The mechanic replied:

“That’s a good question. For our operating mine, I’d use the asset performance standards you talk about to create a plan to turn our mine around and meet those asset performance standards. I’d make sure we captured near-real-time operating data with a data historian. We don’t have that today. Then, knowing all operating anomalies that do not conform to our asset performance expectations, I’d make sure these shortcomings are prioritized and addressed.”

The electrical engineer said excitedly:

“Wow, that’s great! I’ve heard of these digital twins. Maybe we could hire an expert to create a digital twin of our mine’s production process. They could implement a simulation of our production process that would compare expected with actual performance. If it doesn’t match, then we’d investigate and adjust our processes. With our success, we’d take our solution to the other five mines and do the same thing.”

The COO and CFO refused external assistance by experienced consultants that could have stopped the bleed within three months and begin to turn the operating mines around. They chose to press on with internal teams, believing a full digital twin could be accomplished by relying solely on internal expertise. Although the internal team tried as they might, they unfortunately weren’t given the proper resources to really accomplish anything, as though they were tradesmen with no tools.

The company continues to bleed financially and is now trading at below $1 on the NYSE as a penny stock. The company is now looking for another U.S. stock exchange that will accept its listing.

Both the CFO and COO have been let go. There is no resolution for this company.

Gail Petersen

Gail is a dynamic award-winning management consultant specializing in the optimization of resources in asset-intensive organizations. She is an innovative strategic thinker with effective tactical skills and a proven track record of success. Gail has worked with executive teams and trades people alike to establish asset management capabilities using an architected approach. Acting in a leadership role for several organizations, Gail has designed new ways of working and developed transformation plans to deliver significant bottom-line results. She is the creator of FORTIG, an Asset Performance Accelerator that unlocks the hidden value in physical assets while moving toward ISO 55000 compliance. Gail is a Certified Reliability Leader and Member of the Institute of Asset Management in the UK. Gail is the coauthor of Embrace Industry 4:0! Embrace Your Way Out of the Jungle

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