Advancing Together With Barrick Gold

Mining 90 to 5

New system helps maintenance and supply chain teams save time

Supply chain and maintenance teams at the Cortez mine site can now look at a 3D diagram of an engine on their computers or tablets and select the parts they need by clicking on the required parts numbers in the diagram.


Ninety minutes seems like far too much time to fill out a work order, but that’s how long it used to take at Barrick’s Cortez mine in Nevada. Today, thanks to a recent upgrade to the mine’s work order system, it takes just five minutes.  

“Filling out a work order was a real hassle,” says Jennifer Anderson, Mobile Maintenance Planner at Cortez. “But we all worked together in maintenance and supply chain to come up with a solution.”

The upgrade to the mine’s Bill of Materials system, which creates work orders, was part of a broader pilot program to standardize how the Cortez supply chain and maintenance teams work together, improve equipment availability, and help drive down costs. The fast-paced project took just six months.

Now our maintenance teams can do a sort of ‘Google search’ that will bring back parts results that make sense

Barrick intends to scale this approach to maintenance and supply chain integration across the Company beginning in 2018. The initial focus will be on the Cortez, Goldstrike, Turquoise Ridge mines, which are all based in Nevada, and the Hemlo mine in Ontario, Canada.

“We wanted this project to be manageable and we wanted a proof of concept, so we decided to tackle a narrow slice of the supply chain-maintenance relationship to make life easier for our site teams,” says David Baumgartel, Barrick’s Vice President of Supply Chain.  “When it comes to ordering parts via a work order, both the supply and maintenance functions are completely dependent on one another.  The goal was to make the process simple, user friendly and automated as possible.” 

The project team, led by Jimmy Fernandez, Superintendent of Material Management at Barrick’s Goldstrike mine in Nevada, focused on the 85 people who service haul trucks at Cortez. Goldstrike and Cortez operate as Barrick Nevada and work closely together to share best practices and improve efficiencies.


Marcus Burwell, Business Process specialist for Supply Chain Management (third from right); Jason Opdam, Senior Director, Maintenance (eighth from left); David Baumgartel, Vice President, Supply Chain Management (seventh from right); Joe Ashun, Sr. Manager, Maintenance (sixth from right).


As part of its activities, the project team introduced a direct link to the online catalogue of one of the mine’s biggest suppliers, Caterpillar. As a result, mine planners can now look at a 3D diagram of an engine on their computers or tablets and select the parts they need by clicking on the required parts numbers in the diagram. This is entered into a parts list by the system, which in turn, generates a work order. The Bill of Materials system automatically checks to see if the parts are in stock. If it is, the system reserves the parts. Any required parts that are not in stock are then automatically ordered from Caterpillar, referencing negotiated pricing in the system. 

“Now our maintenance teams can do a sort of ‘Google search’ that will bring back parts results that make sense,” says Jason Opdam, Barrick’s Senior Director of Maintenance. “This means that the site does not reorder parts already in inventory and it gives planners the confidence to plan.”

Ultimately, the project team wanted to help increase fleet availability and decrease maintenance costs. To gauge their success, they developed four key metrics that are updated in real-time and displayed on dashboards allowing for immediate feedback. The metrics are:

  • Number of emergency purchase orders – this tracks the number of pricy “hotshots,” or urgent deliveries. The team drove this number down by storing the right parts and the right number of parts so that when they are needed they are readily available.
  • Inventory item turnover – this measures how long inventory is held before usage, which is a strong indicator on how well a site plans from an inventory optimization or work-order scheduling perspective. 
  • Number of work orders using the new standardized Bill of Materials system – this measures the adoption rate of the system. The team wants to continue driving this number upwards as the upgraded system saves time for the maintenance and supply chain teams.
  • Direct charge in a work order – this measures the percentage of parts being expensed directly versus managed through inventory. When expensed, the Company loses critical visibility on parts consumption and availability, and procurement cost controls.  

Use of the tool also increases the chances that maintenance work is consistently executed among all crews.

One of the first steps that the project team took was cleaning, enriching and optimizing the data in the Bill of Materials system to make it reliable. It was a gargantuan task, recalls Fernandez. The team removed duplicate parts listed in the system catalog, standardized the language used for parts names and descriptions, and added other information such as lead times required for parts planning.

“Our mantra has been, ‘We want planners to plan, buyers to buy, inventory controls to manage inventory and mechanics to maintain,’ ” Fernandez says. “We want to bring roles back to performing their core functions; to focus on value-add activities and remove activities that don’t support this.”