Lowell Snow, ACTP’s resident mining expert with over 40 years of experience in heavy equipment, has said, “Managing a fleet of machines in mining requires a balancing act between time, cost, and quality. Everyone from the equipment operators, mechanics, and purchasing managers have to work hand-in-hand with one another to anticipate problems that could lead to downtime.”
The three factors Lowell describes (time, cost, and quality) are all interconnected. Let’s take a closer look:
Machine downtime on a mine site reduces productivity of the operation as a whole until the equipment is up and running again. Whether it is planned maintenance or an unplanned breakdown, with the size and complexity of the equipment it can take days to perform even simple repairs.
When a machine (i.e. a wheel loader) becomes inoperable, the operation will see a significant decrease in productivity (and revenue) until it is back scooping and loading product. Since revenue is being lost for every hour the machine is not operating, fleet managers must try to minimize the amount of time to fix the machine.
The heavy equipment used in mining operations is expensive as are many of its components and parts when repairs are required. In addition to minimizing downtime and lost productivity, fleet managers must also be cost efficient in respect to maintenance and repairs. While individual part or component cost is important, the decision process to minimize productivity and revenue loss must also consider delivery time and availability factors.
This is straight forward: quality parts last longer and do not require as much maintenance as parts of lower quality. Being cost efficient in respect to part and component pricing but sacrificing quality can ultimately lead to lower productivity and a higher overall cost of operation.
Balancing these three factors is not unique to the mining industry. However, the mining industry’s vast operations and the huge equipment required for sustaining them make it more difficult for its fleet managers. At ACTP, we strive to help managers with this balancing act by providing the highest quality aftermarket parts available to the industry as quickly as possible.
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