Tag Archives: Resource Management


The manufacturing industry is one of the most important sectors across the world. It’s instrumental in supporting a thriving economy, provides jobs to communities, and sparks innovations that improve lives. Nevertheless, it is also a sector that faces significant challenges.

The good news is that the rise of our digital landscape offers a range of supportive solutions. Over the last couple of decades, developers have committed to creating tools that help make the manufacturing industry more agile and impactful. These applications aren’t limited to improving productivity. Rather, the tools available right now are continuing to change manufacturing in profound and innovative ways.

Let’s take a closer look at how software and modern tech are changing manufacturing.

Managing Resources

In manufacturing, as with most sectors, resources are finite and valuable. As such, it is vital to maintain control of what you have at your disposal. Effective resource management practices enable your company to allocate the best assets to address the most appropriate challenges. This may surround effective budget application, matching tech to tasks, and appointing time to activities. It’s worth noting that there is software and hardware in the industry at the moment that helps to make resource management more practical.

A key aspect of any good resource management strategy is data analytics. This helps you to make more informed choices about asset allocation and performance. Devices in the industrial internet of things (IIoT) are equipped with sensors that scan items at crucial points throughout the production, warehousing, and shipping stages. Paired with data analytics software, these tools can provide real-time information about how resources are being utilized, where areas of wastage occur, and how to enact improvements.

Another important consideration for how tech can help resource management is found in inventory control. Many manufacturing businesses struggle with getting the right balance of supply to meet changing demands. Artificial intelligence (AI) inventory management software can review data on your resources alongside that of the market. It can then produce forecasts you can utilize to better plan production changes.

Boosting Quality

Quality is key to a thriving manufacturing business. Unless your products consistently meet high consumer and industry expectations, you’re likely to experience reductions in engagement. Not to mention that faulty or substandard products are likely to be frequently returned. In either case, the result is likely to be a significant hit to your financial stability. It is, therefore, vital to adopt technology that helps you to boost quality standards.

It’s important to first recognize that many of the quality issues faced by manufacturers are the result of employee mistakes. Your business can mitigate drops in quality while bolstering safety and security by harnessing technological tools that reduce human error. One of the key resources you can utilize here is automated intelligent manufacturing processes. These largely remove the human element from unnecessary and repetitive tasks. It’s also vital that employees receive effective training on how to use these tools and systems so they can interact with them in a less risky manner.

You should also consider the potential of upgraded software and hardware for quality control procedures. Automated tools in the IIoT can be attached to production equipment and monitor the condition of each item. The software can be set to identify breaches in quality parameters and immediately notify workers when these occur. This empowers your company to address quality issues immediately, preventing widespread issues.

Securing Jobs

One of the common topics of discussion surrounding technology is the effect it can have on jobs, especially when it comes to which jobs will and won’t be replaced by AI. AI is among the tools often cited as instrumental in replacing all but trade roles in highly-skilled areas. The emotional connections made by healthcare workers and the dexterity of electricians are among the characteristics that shield them from unemployment throughout a digital transformation. While manufacturing employees aren’t usually considered to fall within these groups, modern tech can in some ways help to make their jobs more secure.

This is usually from the perspective of how technology helps to transform roles. Automated manufacturing, devices in the IIoT, and data analytics software can all be used to handle many formerly manual tasks. Nevertheless, rather than replacing human workers, these tools need collaborators. Tech-savvy manufacturing employees are in significant demand in the industry to utilize solutions more effectively and attend to software or hardware maintenance issues. This means that employees committed to upskilling can improve their career prospects, bolster their job stability, and impact their earning power.

Another way in which software and modern tech are improving manufacturing job stability is through the use of applicant tracking systems (ATS). This human resources (HR) software enables your company to more efficiently and accurately identify the most suitable candidates for a position. It also helps to assess candidate data so you can tailor the most appropriate training programs upon hiring to fill any skills gaps. This helps ensure workers have the best chance of gaining jobs that reflect their abilities and to progress through the business. It also means your business can spend less on hiring and training candidates that are later discovered to be unsuitable.

Enhancing Safety and Security

One of the most important responsibilities of any business is to reduce risks for staff and stakeholders. Manufacturing, in particular, is rife with potential hazards. Employees are often exposed to dangers to their physical and mental health. The business, investors, and consumers can also face risks from increased cybersecurity threats aimed at the manufacturing sector. Software and technology have an important role to play in providing protection.

Firstly, in particularly hazardous fields, virtual reality (VR) can help introduce new workers to realistic training scenarios. This provides employees with the skills they need to reduce risks without exposing them to unnecessary hazards early on in their training. Alongside this, devices in the IIoT can monitor conditions and activities in real-time, providing both workers and supervisors with data on present dangers to should respond to.

From the perspective of cybersecurity, it’s vital to recognize that the greater adoption of technology in the industry exposes businesses to potential risks. Each device can potentially act as a gateway for criminals into the company’s networks. As such, AI-driven cybersecurity platforms are being used to scan and monitor information passing through all systems. Machine learning protocols can also analyze data to make predictions about potential risk areas that need to be addressed.


Software and modern tech is improving manufacturing processes in a variety of ways. Devices in the IIoT are instrumental in improving quality and providing data for better resource management. The presence of AI software drives a need for more tech-savvy workers while also ensuring the most appropriate professionals rise to the top. VR and machine learning are also ensuring employees stay safe and protecting stakeholders from cybersecurity breaches. As more tools continue to be developed, it is likely that the manufacturing industry will continue to become more agile and innovative.

*This article is written by Ainsley Lawrence. View more of Ainsley’s articles here.

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The movement of broken rock or “muck” is critical in an underground mining operation. A large portion of mine design is based around getting the muck from the blast area to the surface. This intricate design involves many different methods including LHD (Load Haul Dump) machines, haul trucks, shaft skips, railcars, conveyors, and gravity fed muck passes. In many cases, all of the mentioned methods may be used in conjunction to form the muck system of an underground mine.

The objective of this muck system is to bring an inherently heavy substance (solid rock/ore), upwards in most cases, with as little effort as possible. Regardless of the methods your underground mine is utilizing to bring the muck to the surface, there are typically a limited number of routes to the surface because of the capital expenditure involved in creating exit points. As a result of this, there is a large impact to operations if one of these routes becomes blocked. A blockage may occur for several reasons: critical equipment failure, path blockage by other equipment, or pure congestion in the area. When this situation occurs, depending on where it occurs in the muck system, the muck will eventually back up to the source or where the mining activity is happening. A critical delay known as being “muck bound” occurs when blasting activities must cease to take place because there is nowhere to put the muck. The miners may be allocated to another location; however, that specific location will remain idle until the blockage is corrected. If this situation occurs in a high-grade area of the mine, it can be very costly to operations. With most other methods of moving muck relying only on proper maintenance and operation, the mobile LHD and haul truck operations provide a variable link between the active mining area and the muck system (below).Rivers Mucking System Mucking cropped

This link in the process can provide a source of opportunity or, if not managed properly, a major source of delay. It is a given that each active mining area will eventually require the assistance of this mobile team to come and take some of their broken rock away and thus, leaving them room to break more. As the breaking (blasting) of rock is arguably the most value added activity in a mine, it is in operations’ best interest to service the mining crew to the highest quality. This is accomplished by providing the miners with as much material as required, when needed, and removing all roadblocks so that the mining cycle can function at an optimal level. Given this great demand on the muck system to keep up with mining activities without allowing a backup of rock anywhere in the process, how does a mine with limited resources deploy these in the most effective manner day in and day out? The challenge of deploying a fixed level of resources effectively with the precision and flexibility to respond quickly to changes in the landscape is amplified greatly in larger mines. Due to the fact that larger operations typically share numerous resources across a vast number of working areas, changing a plan mid-shift can have a significant impact on other areas of the operation. Developing a distance chart could be one of the most valuable tools for your supervisors to use in conjunction with their own level of experience. Here is an example of a distance chart:

Rivers Distance Chart Mucking white

For each active mucking area, it outlines the optimal number of trucks that should be deployed to meet the demand of the mining crew. An important element to understand is the concept of optimal in this equation. The first requirement is that we meet the demand of the mining crew. The second requirement is that we meet this demand at the lowest possible cost because these resources could be required elsewhere. Your formula must take into account the following information: Forecasted Demand – How much rock is the mining crew planning to break? Congestion Factor in the Area – How much traffic, aside from mucking activity, is typically present at the location? Distance – What is the one-way distance from the loading location or mining area to the drop point feeding the muck system? Average Truck Cycle Time – Once a truck is loaded, how long will it take to drive to its dump point, dump the rock, and return? Average Truck Load Time – How long does it take for your LHD loader to fill one haul truck? Current Inventory – How much rock has the mining crew broken since last being “mucked” out? With all of these variables known, a distance chart can be created. When planning daily assignments, a distance chart can be very useful to determine the optimal ratio of trucks to LHD machines. This will allow for any excess resources to be allocated to other crews that are short, other areas of the mine, or other job functions. The use of this tool will not tell your crews where to go, but how many resources will be needed once there.

Obtaining the actual Inventory level can be one of the more challenging pieces of information to obtain. This information must be as real-time as possible and accurate. The actual inventory levels along with site priorities will be the guiding force on what locations will require “mucking” assistance. Distance charting, if used properly, can allow the muck system in a mine to rapidly allocate the right amount of resources to the areas that will yield the most benefit. In an industry where the misallocation of such expensive resources can be so costly, the opportunities to gain are equally as considerable. Distance charting is one of the many useful tools that will encourage opportunity seeking decision-making within your company from the front line supervisor level.