Lean logistics is all about streamlining the flow of materials, information, and resources to reduce waste and improve efficiency. By implementing lean principles in the mining industry, operations managers can save money and improve the overall performance of the organization.
Broadly speaking, setting up a lean logistics system involves a number of steps, each of which depends on a robust data-gathering and planning process:
- Assess current logistics operations: Conduct a thorough analysis of current logistics operations to identify areas of inefficiency and waste. This may involve collecting and analyzing data on inventory levels, lead times, transportation and logistics costs, production rates, and identifying the flow of materials and information through the mine.
- Identify and eliminate bottlenecks: Identify bottlenecks in the logistics process, such as slow-moving inventory, long lead times, or equipment downtime, and implement solutions to eliminate them. This may involve optimizing the scheduling of mining equipment and trucks, reducing the number of suppliers and vendors, and implementing lean inventory management techniques such as Kanban or Just-in-Time (JIT) systems.
- Implement pull systems: Implement a pull system for inventory management, where materials and supplies are only ordered and delivered as needed, rather than being stockpiled in advance. This will help to reduce the amount of inventory on hand and minimize the risk of stockouts or overstocking.
- Streamline transportation: Streamline transportation and logistics operations by reducing the number of suppliers and vendors, consolidating shipments, and using just-in-time delivery methods. This can be done by implementing effective transport management systems, and by negotiating long-term contracts with suppliers to reduce lead times.
- Improve equipment efficiency: Improve the efficiency of mining equipment by regularly maintaining and upgrading it, and by implementing lean manufacturing techniques such as 5S and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). This may include conducting regular equipment inspections, implementing preventative maintenance schedules, and involving operators in the maintenance process.
In order to collect the above data, though, it will be necessary to measure and track the number of data points from the mine itself. These include:
- Inventory levels and turnover rates for all materials and supplies
- Lead times for all suppliers and vendors
- Transportation and logistics costs for all inbound and outbound shipments
- Production rates and efficiency of mining equipment
- Volume and frequency of truck and equipment movements within the mine
- Labor productivity and utilization rates
- Number and duration of equipment downtime incidents
- Volume and weight of waste materials generated during mining operations
- Number of defects and rework required for mined materials
- Customer demand and delivery schedules for mined materials.
Gathering information on these operational details can be a headache when relying on outdated methods such as paper records or excel sheets. While specialized software may help, it often comes with a high cost and lack of adaptability. Grid is here to provide a solution with its no-code platform designed for collecting, analyzing, and displaying crucial mining data.
With Grid, data collection is made simple through the use of user-friendly forms and worksheets that can be filled out on a standard mobile device, even in remote areas with limited internet access. The data is then immediately accessible on customizable dashboards, giving you real-time updates.
Additionally, Grid enables you to track all your logistics-related metrics, represented by key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be easily monitored and improved.
Want to see how Grid can improve your company's logistics data? Contact us for a demo or to speak with a Grid expert.