Thoughts on Improving the Management of Mine Construction Projects

Did you know that only 13% of all projects and programs are launched as planned without a major shift in resources?

You don’t need to tell Program Managers at Engineering Procurement and Construction Management (ECMP) companies that their jobs are more challenging than ever. They know it firsthand. Fundamentally, the business environment for mine construction has changed, perhaps irrevocably, in the face of dropping commodity prices and fewer mine construction projects. But that’s not the whole story. Competition over fewer projects mean EPCM companies must bid more aggressively. Yet, there is little room for error in those bids as the smallest of errors can quickly cause constructions programs to run at a loss.

On top of all this, the complexity of constructing a mine is higher than ever. Mine construction sites might be located in harsh environments, driving the need for safety protocols. They also might be located in dangerous locales that mandate new security procedures. Furthermore, the opportunity to control cost and quality is driving movement towards pre-fabricated construction components that are assembled on-site.

All this translates to new and more difficult tasks for Program Managers. They’re now charged with cutting costs, hewing to tighter and tighter budget demands, and working with more globally distributed project stakeholders than ever. They must track deliverables across a multitude of functional organizations, including engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction in an ever-widening supply chain. Despite all of these compounding complexities, the program must be executed on time and on budget within a much slimmer margin for error.

These trends and challenges also threaten one of the Program Manager’s most critical enablers: program visibility. Visibility into program status is critical. It enables Program Managers to identify issues early, before they turn into emergencies. It allows them to define and pursue corrective action. And without corrective action, projects run off the rails. Unfortunately, the reality of mine construction today is that most projects are failing in the face of these conditions. Lifecycle Insights findings from The PLM Study found that only 13% of all projects and programs are launched as planned without a major shift in resources.

There is some hope, however. Technology can provide missing visibility into program status. But common methods to track status, like routing physically printed forms, or emailing digital documents or using desktop project management applications, have major drawbacks. And they share one critical flaw: they must be manually updated to depict the actual, present state of the program.

There is a better answer: the Enterprise Business Platform. The technology platform offers the range of functions the many different program stakeholders need. Program Managers have an always-up-to-date program status picture thanks to the technology, because it connects and draws upon the disparate aspects of the program.

Excerpt from Program Management for Mine Construction: Delivering Programs on Time and On Budget, by Chad Jackson, an analyst, researcher and blogger with Lifecycle Insights.


Download Mr. Jackson’s free eBook, “Program Management for Mine Construction: Delivering Programs on Time and On Budget” to read the rest of the story.

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Mark Bese

Mark Bese

Industry Marketing Director at Dassault Systèmes
Mark Bese is Industry Marketing Director for Energy & Materials at Dassault Systèmes.