Thiess Mining Gains Enterprise-Scale Analytics

The operator of one of the world’s largest mining fleets leverages data visualization and analytics to achieve ROI in first week of deployment

Palo Alto, Calif.Oct. 23, 2013Adaptive Planning, a worldwide provider of cloud-based business analytics solutions for companies and nonprofits of all sizes, announced that Thiess, one of the world's largest open-cut mining contractors, implemented its visual analytics and data visualization solution, Adaptive Discovery, to improve operational metrics and business performance.

With projects across Australia, 3,000 employees in mining services, and a $2 billion plant and equipment fleet, Thiess is responsible for the production of more than 100 million tons of coal, copper, gold and iron ore each year. Each day, Thiess collects vast amounts of information about its operations. The company’s mining operations run 24 hours a day and each truck is equipped with more than 300 sensors. Everything—from the amount of diesel fuel used by trucks to the volume of coal and minerals extracted—is collated and stored.

"We collect information on every person, machine, activity, location, delay and consumable in the business,” said Ben Willey, manager of mining and technology innovation at Thiess. “We are a process control organization. We deliver value to our clients through optimizing resources and processes, so measuring key performance indicators is critical to our business performance. Our competitive advantage comes from how well we make data-driven decisions and we needed to be utilizing a technology that better enabled us to do this."

As analytics are clearly core to its business, Thiess no longer considered traditional solutions a viable option. The company needed a business analytics solution that could complement its data warehouse, and be available across all locations and in the hands of employees from the office to mining locations. The organization needed a solution that could give them near instantaneous access to vast amounts of business data. Thiess made the decision to implement Adaptive Discovery across multiple locations to provide the scalable insight on demand required by its growing organization. The fact that Adaptive Discovery is a cloud-based system made it particularly appealing.

Adaptive Discovery was implemented within a few months and Thiess quickly integrated data collected in the field, rolling out real-time insight and data visualization for all stakeholders. Success became evident as soon as the new system went live. In the first week, information gathered from the company's fleet of trucks identified a mechanical problem that could have significantly slowed production. With Adaptive, Thiess’ personnel can now access 40 different metrics derived from millions of records to obtain answers in seconds.

"The Adaptive Discovery implementation essentially paid for itself by immediately notifying us of a problem where, in the past, the root cause analysis would have taken more time to identify. You know you have a winning solution when it earns its stripes the day you switch it on,” said Willey. "Adaptive Discovery’s capacity to conduct millions of calculations, obtain trends, and then display the information as key performance indicators that are contextual and timely is a powerful advantage. We have the latest data available just after each shift has closed."

With operations spread across Australia, Thiess staff members spend considerable time in the field and at mining locations. Adaptive Discovery puts analytics and performance indicators in the palm of their hands through its native iPhone application. With Discovery in place, Thiess is well-placed to ensure its operations continue to become increasingly efficient and productive. With the industry in a constant state of change, maintaining close watch on every facet of the business is critical for success.

Thiess’ selection of Adaptive Planning enabled the company to see a return on investment (ROI) in the first week of deployment. Unlike traditional tools, Adaptive Discovery is completely designed for the cloud and only the cloud. The use of Adaptive Discovery and its cloud-based solution also allowed Thiess to:

  • Provide mobile analytics to every location using Adaptive Discovery’s native iPhone application.
  • Scale elastically across more than 25 locations.
  • Get near instantaneous query performance across millions of rows of data.
  • Dramatically reduce the need for IT to care and feed analytics.
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