How mobile data capture is changing the game in mining.
Technology has been advancing rapidly with new powers being unlocked in computing, connectivity, and accessibility.
And as such, the Mining industry has benefited by incorporating new technologies to increase efficiency in their administration, supply chains and operations. Still, many exploration companies and drilling contractors have resisted moving their operations to digital.
This has mostly been due to the need for heavy customisation or the time and costs needed to implement, train and onboard staff. Which has left larger companies with big pockets to rapidly build and take advantage to get further ahead of the pack.
Today, modern software is making it easier for small and mid tier companies to access mobile data capture so they too can benefit from cost savings. Adopting agile methodologies that maintain an ever improving product, newer software is usually cloud based and designed with the end user in mind. This means it takes little to any training for even the most tech averse worker.
So if enabling mobile data capture for your company is now a reality, what do exploration companies and drilling contractors stand to gain?
To answer this question lets first define what actually is mobile data capture.
What is mobile data capture?
Simply defined, it’s the use of mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc) to record and transmit data.
Mobile data capture:
- Eases up data entry. Being able to make templates digitally allows for user friendly designs, like splitting up plods into smaller sections and making mistakes easily fixable.
- Provides standardised templates for recording data. Plod sheets, safety forms, field activities and other documents can be represented digitally in the same format or customised for every site.
- Tracks how the data was entered and delivers it instantly. Mobile devices being connected to cellular networks means that the data is available as soon as it’s entered*.
*Digital operations platforms like CorePlan provide mobile apps that work both online and offline, so workers can continue to operate at ease.
Why is mobile data capture important in mining?
Today, the cost of mobile data capture is way lower than before and many organisations have their own systems. Large mining companies like BHP and Rio Tinto will even offer (request) their drilling contractors use their own mobile data capture system.
For large businesses, mobile data capture is a godsend because of its time savings. You can get data from the field immediately the moment it’s recorded, in any format you want it to be. The reduction in time-lags and standardisation of data formatting means that:
- Saving time through automation. Many updates that happen are recorded along with photo evidence if needed and stored in a structured manner. This data can then be used straight away on the platform or banked into a data lake, connected to analytics tools and more via api.
- Operations can be seen in real-time. Mobile data capture from the field means that as soon as the data is submitted, the drilling supervisor can instantly access the data and then provide instant visibility to the exploration company enabling real-time course correction.
- Communications can be done based on current information. Due to the instantaneous capture of data, reports and production numbers are guaranteed to be current and thus allows for more accurate decision-making.
- Chances for human error are minimised. The possibility of something getting overlooked due to bad writing, forgetfulness and task complexity is eliminated.
It’s tempting to jump in and throw technology and tools into your business but not all operations need to jump into one. For instance, smaller operations such as drilling contractors that are in small scale agricultural drilling. Or exploration companies that are running less than 1000m programs. Using a paper based workflow with spreadsheets might be the answer, unless growth is on the horizon.
We recommend identifying whether you need to do this now, or keep an eye out and prepare to do so in the future depending on your circumstance.
What is CorePlan?
CorePlan is a Digital Operations Platform that converts your workflow from paper, spreadsheets and a mishmash of multiple systems into an all in one workplace for your team to go to work.
CorePlan Drilling Hub is designed for drilling contractors to collect plods, invoice clients and conduct payroll.
CorePlan Exploration Hub is designed for exploration companies to plan their drill programs, capture field activities, track samples and manage their costs.
Both CorePlan hubs can be combined with CorePlan Safety Hub our safety management system to collect incidents, inspections and manage all safety documents in one place. This is also available as a standalone.