A Continuous Improvement Model Linking Planning and Operations - Paul R. Clark, Director of Fuel Supply, TransAlta Utilities Corporation


TransAlta’s Alberta mine operation provides the lowest cost coal to its power plants compared to the top 10 cheapest fuel supply providers to Western U.S. power plants. In a commodity business like merchant power, lowest input costs are the competitive advantage. Continuous improvement is absolutely critical to our operations as we face continued upward pressure in our costs. Over the years, Fuel Supply has developed a continuous improvement model which encompasses all of the aspects of our operations – criteria, planning, execution, and operation with full data feedback to planning. This is a disciplined, sustainable process which has no end. This paper will describe how the model was built, what aspects were considered, and what it takes to be sustainable. The paper will use mine planning and mine operations for illustration, but the model has unlimited applications in other areas.