Management consultant Accenture, networking systems provider Cisco Systems, and energy management specialist Schneider Electric recently announced the launch of a jointly developed Integrated Planning and Optimization platform that is claimed to provide a software solution for managing a mining company's entire operation from resource to market.

The solution, according to the developers, enables users to optimize plans and schedules, identify risks and deviations, pinpoint inefficiency, and present the right information to the right people at the right time. The solution is claimed to be capable of increasing mining productivity up to 20% by helping mining companies use information to drive operational efficiencies.

The product addresses the challenges of "siloed" data and inaccurate, untimely information. Integrated Planning and Optimization, according to the developers, enables data to be leveraged to model the supply chain-including mines, processing plants, stockpiles, transport routes and port movements-to predict how each entity in the value chain will operate. The solution lets companies view their supply chains both as discrete components and as a single system that operates according to unified objectives and metrics. Integrated Planning and Optimization Solution uses data analysis of contextual process information to improve predictive maintenance and identify and resolve bottlenecks.

The product addresses the challenges of "siloed" data and inaccurate, untimely information. Integrated Planning and Optimization, according to the developers, enables data to be leveraged to model the supply chain-including mines, processing plants, stockpiles, transport routes and port movements-to predict how each entity in the value chain will operate.

The solution lets companies view their supply chains both as discrete components and as a single system that operates according to unified objectives and metrics. Integrated Planning and Optimization Solution uses data analysis of contextual process information to improve predictive maintenance and identify and resolve bottlenecks.

The developers noted that mining companies have been held back by the lack of standard solutions and realizable architectures. The implementation of an integrated planning and optimization solution resolves these issues. Mining companies can start by focusing on areas that could generate immediate benefit, including:

  • Lack of dynamic and optimized extraction sequencing.
  • Lack of optimized load in shovels and other transportation means.
  • Poor process performance (quality, recovery).
  • Costly decisions due to unreliable data (such as inventory, grade, geological structure).
  • Nonconformance to load-out plans.
  • Excess energy and water consumption.
  • High cost of inefficient transport scheduling and use.
  • Poor asset performance.
  • Maintenance and production conflicts.
  • Excess inventory due to an unreliable supply chain.

Diego Areces, president of Schneider's Mining, Minerals and Metals Solution, said, "This solution is a game-changer for leaders in the mining industry by allowing executives to gain intelligence around business scenarios prior to committing to capital investments."

Integrated Planning and Optimization Solution utilizes Schneider Electric's StruxureWare for Mining, Minerals, and Metals (MMM) software, a scalable platform that includes solutions for energy management and asset performance. This platform facilitates ease of integration for new functionalities as needed.

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