Bluefield has developed life cycle management plans for many makes and models of mining equipment. Recently we were reflecting on the value that can be extracted from the investment in equipment life cycle strategies. One recent example was discussed where the company was able to utilise the forward component forecast to tender the supply of these components for the next 12 month period. This simple action enabled one mine to save greater than 10% on the purchase of the components which equated to $2.5 million dollars in savings which can flow straight to the bottom line in the next budget period.
Of course to do this the business needs to know the status of the current components and the expected life of these components but more importantly it is essential to have the maintenance and supply teams working together on the one plan in order to see the results. Without a life cycle management plan or strategy to enable common understanding and alignment, it is difficult to get this alignment.
This is just one small example of how these lifecycle management plans can add value. Having the plan is also the starting point for reliability improvement and ensuring the fundamentals of maintenance can be achieved. The potential value adds from reliability improvement and extended component life is even greater than the immediate benefits available through smarter purchasing of components.
In order to develop a life cycle management plan for a machine, it is not necessary to spend a long time or a large amount of money. Most businesses have the elements of these plans and strategies and, while they may not be optimised, they can be documented and utilised to start reducing costs immediately.