Improving turnaround standards for business improvement initiatives and redefining old beliefs at mining sites by applying the lean six sigma Day in the Life of (DILO) tool


Mr Adan Olivares Castro, Mr Malcolm Arnesen

Successful implementation of continuous improvement initiatives relies not only on quantitative analyses and innovative ideas, but also on identifying qualitative variables that impact the turnaround time of implementing change. Because operational barriers in the field are often not reflected in quantitative analyses, the Lean Six Sigma tool ‘DILO’ – A Day in the Life of – was used to understand the current drilling operating model at Teck’s Fording River Operation and to provide qualitative insights into the challenges drill operators encountered. This case study illustrates the methodologies used to apply the outcomes of the DILO to identify opportunities for improvement and engage with operators in deconstructing barriers, creating the necessary buy-in amongst field personnel to implement and sustain drilling improvement initiatives. Key strategies for improving turnaround standards included the engagement of stakeholders on a one-on-one basis to rebuke commonly held beliefs; the need for management to build a culture of operating excellence, creating a common frame of reference; and the bridging of knowledge gaps between engineering, pit supervisors and drillers, with a focus on why it is important to meet expectations. This study provides insights regarding the implementation of an operating excellence initiative to increase drill productivity in the mining industry.