L I F E C Y C L E
E N G I N E E R I N G
Machinery & Equipment MRO
“I don’t care how many types of trucks we have – they all haul dirt!”
link blink is my reply to this statement. How do you explain to a mine manager who is convinced that he knows it all that his costs were substantially higher than other mines in the corporation due to his outdated and mismatched fleet of haul trucks? His belief is that by not purchasing a new fleet he is saving millions. But what is the real value proposition? What are the risks of poor fleet management? Fleets can be many types of assets in industry – delivery vehicles, haul trucks, highway trucks or simply the fleet of support vehicles that shuttle personnel around. For this article I have elected to focus on haul trucks, as they are high value and often mismanaged. Don’t take offence to that if you manage a fleet of haul trucks! I have found that dated industry knowledge, particularly in mining, drives the wrong decisions in many cases. Faulty reasoning Two statements that you hear in mining are: 1) We can always buy more trucks. 2) Everyone knows haul trucks last 20 years.
FLEET MANAGEMENT How to optimize the return on investment on your fleet. BY JEFF SMITH
Before we break down the statements, let’s review what optimal fleet management would look like. For starters, the fleet would be commissioned over time as the overburden was removed and normal production initiated. This staggers the failures that are truly time based and thereby load levelling the work. The number of units in the fleet would match production requirements + additional units as required to meet the scheduled interventions + 1 extra per digging unit. The scheduled maintenance would have very high compliance and conformance numbers. External value destruction would be managed (such as road maintenance, oil &fuel cleanliness, optimal load weights and qualified operators). Shop space would meet the requirements of the maintenance schedule and a small amount of reactive work. Critical spares and spare parts would be well managed with dynamic stocking cycles aligned to asset lifecycles. Fleets would be phased out as they reach end of life, with new fleets commissioned, then the fleet would be run out as the mine life ends with the last truck dumping the last reclamation load hours out. So what stops us from managing fleets? Unfortunately, in most cases it is executive sponsorship applying unrealistic expectations. There is also the issue that great reliability requires a large amount of things to go right all the time.
STATEMENT 1: We can always buy more trucks! Yes, if you are losing production time because of unreliable assets, buying a new truck or two will help – albeit at the expense of more shop space, maintainers and operators. But why is your fleet not attaining the value you wanted? If it was undersized to begin with, then this is a fine choice, but there would have been engineers aligning