Champion Key to Software Implementation Success

March 23, 2023

Although the metals and mining industry has been slower than others to invest in software and other digital technologies, the benefits can be tremendous.

In their report, Racing Toward a Digital Future in Metals and Mining, Boston Consulting Group detailed how digital acceleration can boost performance across the industry’s value chain, including:

  • Improving mining throughput by 10 to 20 per cent,
  • Reducing overhead costs by around 30 per cent,
  • Lowering emissions by 15 to 30 per cent, and
  • Reducing injuries by 5 to 12 per cent.

Even with these benefits, the report’s authors state many mining companies struggle implementing digital transformation at their sites.

“Their workforces tend to be blue collar and often less familiar with digital solutions than in other industries; they frequently operate in remote locations with poor network bandwidth and where the rugged terrain makes deploying digital sensors difficult,” they wrote.

“There also can be cultural resistance to incorporating digital into processes that have been established for more than a century – automation that could lead to workforce redundancies.”

In their research, the authors identified key practices digital leaders follow that can help accelerate digital adoption, including building relevant talent at all levels to sustain value creation.

“Companies need to design programs and policies that educate and align all levels of the organization with the digital strategy – senior leadership, middle management, and the shop floor,” they said.

Taking the Reins

That can seem quite daunting for many mining companies, as employees at all levels have their own expectations and thoughts on digital technology in the workplace.

Once company officials conduct research and decide on the right digital tech, such as cloud-based safety software, is there a proactive way to inspire and promote its adoption across the board?

An effective strategy includes selecting an implementation champion, a personable individual who can encourage and develop support from senior leaders, middle managers, and front-line workers.

The champion is generally an internal team member who volunteers or is chosen for the role. This person has a firm knowledge of a mine’s operations, understands existing problems or issues, and is enthusiastic about the new digital tech and its benefits.

The champion faces challenges head-on and isn’t afraid to ask questions. This person is a natural problem-solver and coordinator – and welcomes being the initial point of contact for any concerns or questions.

When it comes to software or another digital tech, the implementation champion is also generally:

  • Tech-savvy or knowledgeable, an early adopter with access to tech support,
  • Among the first trained on the new tech and eager to train others,
  • Strong in their convictions, even when times are tough or there’s kickback,
  • Enthusiastic and energetic – with an eye for building a network of champions.

If a mining operation is expansive or multiple people are interested in being a champion, it might be a good idea to consider an implementation team. This team can help streamline the entire process while promoting collaborative engagement.

Cloud-based safety software and other digital technologies help metals and mining organizations improve site safety and productivity. An implementation champion provides the leadership and tenacity needed to help ensure everyone successfully incorporates the technologies into their jobs.

In addition to helping ensure the successful rollouts of new technologies, a champion fosters an atmosphere of open communications and cooperation while encouraging positive outcomes at every level.

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Boston Consulting Group. (February 21, 2021). Racing Toward a Digital Future in Metals and Mining. (PDF)

Deloitte. (September 8, 2020). Integrating Tech and Well-Being.

SISEP. (September 29, 2021). Implementation Champions as a Strategy to Build Capacity.

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