Total Productive Minifig f Mining

By Grant Budge, Director of Mining Services, with help from Stuart Oliver, Chris Crouch and others named in the case study

1.0 Background issues

RJB Mining has made upwards of £500 million investment in its UK coal mining operations during the late 1990s following its acquisition of various mining interests, both surface and underground, from the old British National Coal Board.

However, whilst long-term, high-volume replacement contracts have been won from the UK's electricity generators, it has been at the expense of significant price containment.

Finite market volume and increasing environmental standards means a harsh reality where it is essential to gain real sustainable improvement in productivity and, hence, unit cost per tonne delivered.

In addition to market-led pressures, we are always seeking ways to build on our excellent levels of teamworking, based on our beliefs that we will continue to:

• unlock our installed productive capacity

• by eliminating waste in all its forms

• by unlocking the positive energy of our people

• through involvement and sustained commitment

• to give ownership and pride

Hence the attractiveness of TPM, or Total Productive Mining as we prefer to call it.

3.0 The story so far

Seven sites are being initially targeted for a rolling programme of measures aimed at further improving the effectiveness of equipment and production processes at pits, surface mining sites and our central engineering workshops.

Following the successful launch of the Total Productive Mining scheme at Daw Mill Colliery, the focus has now moved to Harworth Colliery for commencement on a scheme which, in the few months since its inception, has identified numerous cost savings and improved working practices.

Six further sites will be identified during this year for a TPM programme which will embrace all significant RJB locations before the end of 2001.

Two 'facilitators' - Sean Kelley and Tim Marples - have been recruited to help roll out a programme which potentially could save the company millions of pounds, reduce production costs and improve safety. Sean, 28, previously worked for Elida Faberge, part of the Unilever group, where he was a fulltime TPM facilitator, while Tim, 37, was previously with Miller Mining, where he had valuable experience in problem-solving techniques and change management facilitation. Their responsibility within the organization will be to train, assist in implementation and provide continual practical support for TPM across the business, and to sustain an environment of continuous improvement.

Says RJB's Mining Services Director, Grant Budge:

As was explained in the last edition of NewScene, TPM is about developing the business together and continuously focusing on the areas of lost potential within our processes. TPM is not designed to replace our current practices, but to support and develop them so that we can collectively improve the safety and performance of our workplace. It's not about working harder - it's all about working smarter.

While new to RJB, TPM is an internationally accepted business development strategy and has been used by a large number of companies, and a wide range of disciplines, over the past twenty years. It extends the 'team philosophy' across the shifts and disciplines, seeking to maximize efficiency and product quality through teamwork.

Being results-driven, TPM looks at the complete process, rather than individual elements, reviewing the entire cycle of events to identify and correct weaknesses and minimize losses.

4.0 It's all about teamwork

Time is money - and on Daw Mill's key 204s coalface, an additional 1 per cent improvement in equipment effectiveness could increase production by 2 per cent. It's here, 600 metres below ground in Shakespeare country, that Command Supervisor, Mark Emmett, and his boys are doing the business thanks to a forward-looking management style that's seen face teams grasp the nettle of change.

On Warwickshire Thick 204s, a 300-metre faceline taking a four-metre coal section with some of the highest rated equipment ever seen at a British mine, a core team charged with improving equipment effectiveness and planned maintenance systems has been formed - and from the support they are getting, they're producing results.

Total Productive Mining is no midsummer night's dream at Daw Mill. As Mark says:

It isn't just a management thing. The fact that the process operates horizontally gives it the best chance of success.

Men are being given a role they've never had before and there's no ignoring their commitment to the aim of TPM.

TPM is a device to make things happen. We've got one or two sceptics out there who think it's a waste of time, but what better way to improve the way we do things than to have people at the working level looking at all of the issues and problems at their locations.

After a close study of 204's stageloader we discovered, through analysis of production loss problems, that its running time was low. By monitoring delay times and causes, we pinpointed various problem areas with the Bingham net, blown fluid couplings, blocked chutes and chains being fast.

In the new 'Make it Happen' partnership, the core team of nine faceworkers, craftsmen and officials has thrashed out solutions, recognizing the valuable input of others to improve the efficiency of the equipment.

Adds Mark:

As the doers they've vast experience built up from thousands of hours at the sharp end.

Don't get me wrong, we looked at equipment delays in the past, but it was never in such depth, or with such a clear view. I've been very impressed about the work TPM can do and we are now preparing to take its message to the coal shearer. My manager, Keith Williams, has given me carte blanche to promote TPM. It means that I, and people like me, are better informed about issues like asset care which breeds good practice.

Adds Keith

Management is moving from a directive role to that of a facilitator. It's part of TPM to empower people at different levels of the business to identify problems and act to solve them and so to strive for quality where they work.

By working together in this change process we will achieve our aims to be a better supplier.

When we succeed, we help our customers to succeed and through them the company succeeds - that's why we encourage teamwork.

5.0 Prep men in front line

Coal prep men have joined the front line in Daw Mill's new formula for creating change - a move that's dedicated to produce quality as well as quantity.

Wherever possible, the washery team is being involved in the day-to-day running of operations. It's no longer regarded just as the foreman's responsibility - the buck stops at every man.

According to the Marketing and Quality Control Manager, Peter Bottrill, Total Productive Mining is seen to be effective both in bringing changes and encouraging participation. He says:

The men are becoming a vehicle for change through their commitment to the TPM concept. This isn't a passing fancy -we're asking if there's a better way of doing a task or using a particular piece of equipment.

Total Productive Mining is an essential aid to efficiency. And everyone - from sampling to rapid loading bunkers - has a part to play.

Being invited to take responsibility in the running of the business gave birth to dramatic improvements on a crusher, about nine months old, where unwanted hessian bags with the 'run of mine' were taking their toll and hitting productivity.

Peter brought together the men associated with the crusher, which was clocking up delays equivalent to 10 per cent of the plant's standing downtime each week. 'Coal washing often had to stop because that part of the operation kept failing/ he said.

By pushing as much responsibility for improving the efficiency of the crusher down the line as he could, the 35-man team has grasped the opportunity with both hands.

With facilitator, Tim Rawlings, who has been a foreman for ten years, the team carried out time running monitoring as a fuller picture emerged of the delays being experienced at the plant, which is designed to process 600 tonnes of 'run of mine' coal an hour. The result is a refurbishment plan for the infeed to the crusher and installing bag catchers which have had an immediate and dramatic effect.

The team has regular meetings to review progress and is now preparing to take its quality message to other parts of the plant.

Says Peter: 'Because we put the problem across to the lads to solve themselves, they have developed a pride in their own plant and a sense of ownership.'

The knock-on result is a major clean-up programme. Real time is being given over to asset care, which has become the new buzz phrase on everyone's lips.

Just as important, management has provided the time and the means -and is letting the men get on with the job. The bottom line result is improvements in washing time being achieved.

As Tim says:

Team work is being encouraged as never before. Our core team is a mixture of operators and maintainers who are working together and learning about each other's problems.

After the core team comes to the end of its work, they know each other better and go on talking to each other and exchanging ideas.

Adds Peter:

We've got to give the customer what he wants at the right price - and that means a reliable supply of consistently good quality coal.

Gone are the days when a coal prep plant was there just to remove the dirt. We're no different to Cadbury or Toyota whose customers demand quality and we want Daw Mill's name to be synonymous with a good quality product so that when it comes to fighting in the market place, we make sure we win more than we lose.

6.0 The TPM approach cuts costly delays

Trend-spotting heading men are reducing costly delays by up to 10 per cent. The TPM approach has provided Daw Mill with vital information on machine reliability which is building an accurate picture of the day-to-day running of 301's tailgate.

A core team of five development men, a fitter and an electrician are dedicated to bringing improvements in the high priority drivage that's seen the barometer - performance effectiveness - rise. Put another way, 5.2 x 3.7 metre wide development using 29 bolts a metre for both roof and ribs and supported with steel has opened out 120 per cent of plan since TPM was introduced.

Says Command Supervisor, Mark Gee: 'While major breakdowns are dealt with immediately, the main aim is spotting trends which have the knock-on effect of a few minutes lost regularly here and there.'

After a close study of the drill rigs on the bolter miner, the trend-spotting team discovered, through analysis of production loss problems, that running time was low. By monitoring delay times and causes, various problems were pinpointed on the drill rigs, which were clocking delays the equivalent of one shift every week. The heading often had to stop because of failing hose seals and burst hoses.

Among the recurring hold-ups the team spotted was the delay with fitters getting spares for four different types of hose fittings. The problem was simply solved and valuable time saved by standardizing the hoses.

Many ideas on problem solving have come from the men, who are playing an important part in helping to record accurately what is going wrong.

The whole team is involved with decisions - more involvement means a greater interest in getting things done. They now have pride in the district arid a sense of ownership.

For Mark Gee, the team's facilitator, who has been a supervisor for thirteen years, the new business environment at Daw Mill has taken some getting used to.

I've had to change the way I think about the business and that's what we're trying to encourage others to do. I'm absolutely certain this is the way we have to go. Men can see their ideas are being heard and this has become a breeding ground for good habits in everyone's work. Put simply, we are aiming at a change in developing attitudes which are more in line with commercial realities. 'The TPM philosophy is work smarter, not harder, by dealing with losses and delays on the machine and preventing reoccurrence by best practice development and effective asset care. It doesn't mean the driver will be working any quicker, but his productivity will increase through improved machine running time.

The bottom line is that man and machine become more efficient. Old Will himself could't have put it better.

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