The Digital Work Management tool went live this week after rigorous development and testing that began from scratch less than a year ago, as part of the Company’s digital transformation. The app will help maintenance teams improve equipment availability, which will help drive production.
“This has been a massive and collaborative undertaking by several teams within the Company and I appreciate everyone’s hard work to get us this far,” says David Yazzie, the app’s Product Owner. “We’ve taken the training wheels off the app, so it’s now communicating with our maintenance management systems, and it’s in the hands of our technicians and supervisors.”
We want to make the lives of our people easier through our digital transformation
The Digital Work Management tool—called Forge—marks the first “home-grown” app in the Company, having been completely developed in-house. It is designed to provide maintenance teams with the most up-to-date information on equipment that require repairs, helping them to better coordinate efforts and save time. It has been used in three planned mill shutdowns at the Cortez mine in northern Nevada, where the app was tested. The app helped the site to come in on budget with these activities all three times.
“At the end of the day, we want to make the lives of our people easier through our digital transformation, and work together to make our solutions something our people will want to use,” says Ed Humphries, Barrick’s Head of Digital Transformation. “We think that Forge does this.”
The site is currently undergoing a two-week training period and once that is complete, all maintenance work could potentially be done on tablets instead of paper. This comes with a caveat: Wi-Fi is necessary for this app to work and while the mine’s maintenance shops and most planned work locations have connectivity, certain areas, such as the open pit, still lack it. Yazzie and his team, however, will soon have this covered.
“We’re working on an offline mode to bridge that gap until our Wi-Fi network is expanded,” Yazzie says. An offline mode would allow operators without connectivity to store their maintenance requests and auto-send as soon as they could join a network.
For now, Yazzie and his team are excited and eager to continue refining the app.
“Now that we have laid the groundwork and have a better understanding of the process involved, we look forward to testing faster deployment of the app and publishing more frequent software releases,” he says.