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CLIENT CASE STUDY


Mining Company: Building operational readiness for construction to operations

A mining company develops operational readiness to move from start-up to ramp-up.

Overview

The client is a large mining company, formed as a result of a joint venture between its parent company (a major steel manufacturer) and a third party.

The mining company had built a concentrator plant to produce high-grade iron ore to:

  • Be used in its parent company’s steel refineries.
  • Reduce dependency on other companies for iron ore.
  • Increase the profitability of its existing steel facilities.

READ THE STUDY [PDF, 274 KB]

Opportunity

With the plant scheduled to begin operations in early 2015, the client faced a number of significant challenges to operational readiness, including:

  • Low rates of labor productivity.
  • A remote project location, leading to communications, logistics, and supply chain issues.
  • Insufficient project management, including over-restrictive governance, inconsistent reporting, and limited change management capabilities.
  • Substantial delays due to limited logistics coordination, an over reliance on planning by the construction firm, and non-aligned commitments for rail and product transportation.

To successfully meet these challenges and move from construction to operations, the client asked Accenture to help it develop an Operational Readiness (OR) program.

Solution

Working together closely, the client and Accenture:

  • Leveraged a proprietary assessment tool to perform an OR assessment for the client – reviewing the current scope of readiness, providing a gap analysis, and revealing the client’s ‘as is’ OR state.
  • Set up the OR program – developing an OR Project Management Office, and developing an OR schedule and work plan.
  • Executed the OR program – managing the program, maintaining a master schedule, and executing OR activities (including defining a business, operations and maintenance strategy, and onboarding new employees) defined in the work plan.
  • Finalizing the OR program – handing over key activities to the client, and providing final program documentation.

To ensure project success, Accenture leveraged strong project management skills to support the acceleration of key activities, implemented structured and process-driven approaches that provided schedule and deliverable performance, and enhanced communications to facilitate the right questions being asked at the right time, thereby enabling concurrent engineering, procurement, construction, and operations activities to proceed. As this was a first time implementation for the client of an OR solution, Accenture and the client worked to change the mindset of the workforce from construction to operations, helping to build the recognition that support functions would need to be ready to be able to produce.

Results

Drawing on a deep knowledge of construction to operations, the mining company received an OR program that resulted in:

  • The ability to manage risks, costs, and scheduling.
  • Building capabilities (such as a governance structure) for future operation ramp-ups.
  • Proactive tracking of risks and closure.
  • Smoother transition from start-up to ramp-up.

The client now has a concentrator that effectively treats ore and prepares it for transport to steel facilities in Europe. With enhanced time to value, this step in the iron ore value chain process is now optimized, reducing the client’s dependency on other companies for iron ore, increasing the profitability of their existing steel manufacturing facilities, and improving the quality of their products.