Whittle Consulting provides a range of specialist services to the mining industry
Introduction (held online 45-60 minutes)
- Overview of the concepts
- Online public webinar or Executive Presentation
To begin your journey with Whittle Consulting requires an appreciation of the counter-intuitive concepts underpinning our unique approach. A conceptual overview is quickly achieved by attending a complimentary 45-minute online public webinar. By arrangement, this webinar can also be held as an Executive Presentation. This allows the workshopping of the issues and specific planning needs facing your business.
At both sessions, Gerald Whittle CEO of Whittle Consulting, will provide a high-level overview of the concepts and how the Whittle approach improves the economics of mining projects or operations from 5%-35%, and in many cases substantially more – even after a number of conventional optimisation approaches have already been applied.
Integrated Strategic Planning Seminar (held online over 4 consecutive half days)
- Strategic Focus
The next stage is participation in our online Integrated Strategic Planning Seminar. Held over 4 consecutive half days, the philosophy, methodology and application of Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning is explained in a non-technical, live and interactive format by our CEO, Gerald Whittle.
The ideal approach is for the most senior managers, from across all business disciplines, to participate together. The attendance of these key stakeholders creates a valuable framework for mental alignment, resulting in cross-functional business collaboration. This is designed to unite your organisation in their desire for change.
Over the past 12 years, over 5,000 participants from all over the world have attended the Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning Seminar. Participation can be a final step in deciding whether to embark on an Enterprise Optimisation Study – or the first step in doing so. Our website lists forthcoming seminar dates, which can be booked online. Should it be desired, in-house seminars can be arranged upon request.
“A unique approach to optimising project value and cash flow returns… this is well worth attendance & highly recommended.”
John Meyer, SP Angel, London
Tactical Theory of Constraints Masterclass (TTOC) (held over 2 consecutive half days)
- Operational Focus
Theory of Constraints (TOC) is a management philosophy developed by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and presented in his book, “The Goal” in 1984. This powerful methodology assists organisations to continually achieve their objectives. In 2019, Theory of Constraints specialist, Arrie van Nierkerk, joined Whittle Consulting as a Partner. Arrie’s ground-breaking work applies Theory of Constraints (TOC) directly to the performance of individual operational bottlenecks/constraints. This unique approach has been named Tactical Theory of Constraints (TTOC).
Traditionally, Whittle Consulting has optimised around bottlenecks from a strategic planning viewpoint. TTOC addresses the bottleneck performance specifically. Exceptional results are often quickly achieved. The outcome can be significant operational performance and NPV improvement.
The Tactical Theory of Constraints Masterclass (TTOC) is held online over 2 half days. Arrie provides a comprehensive and practical explanation of the concepts behind, and a compelling demonstration of TTOC.
Invitation to the TTOC Masterclass is exclusively offered to past participants of the Whittle Consulting Integrated Strategic Planning Seminar.
Strategic Assessment (SA) (2-3 weeks)
- Value drivers
- Applicable mechanisms
- Potential NPV uplift
Before committing to a Whittle Enterprise Optimisation Study, the first step is to assess the potential benefit of implementing Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning.
A Strategic Assessment (SA) is a short review of the underlying economics and opportunities for improving the operation and/or future project through Integrated Strategic Planning (Enterprise Optimisation). During COVID, we have proven that a site visit is not required. The desk-top analysis is conducted remotely, over a 2-3 week period, in discussion with your relevant personnel.
During the Strategic Assessment, the current plans are examined for the key components of Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning. This involves the identification of value drivers, bottlenecks and the applicable mechanisms required for improvement. The current planning techniques are then compared to best practice.
The result is a 20+ page report, clearly identifying the key value drivers for the mining project or operation, and the applicable optimisation mechanisms. This assessment also provides an estimate of the potential range of NPV uplift, which is likely to be achieved if a full Whittle Enterprise Optimisation Study is conducted.
“The results from Whittle’s enterprise optimisation across four production scenarios of Condor Gold’s La India Project in Nicaragua, resulted in an average increase of 51% in NPV, 20-25% increase in contained gold with pit shells and a 20% increase in the annual production ounces gold during the first 5 years of the mine life.”
Mark Child, Chairman and CEO of Condor Gold plc
Activity Based Costing & Theory of Constraints (2-5 days)
Two core elements to be undertaken before building a Whittle Enterprise Optimisation model are the design of an integrated Activity Based Costing (ABC) and Theory of Constraints (TOC) model. This involves:
- Conducting a series of workshops with management and operational staff.
- The review of the financial and operational information systems.
- The design of a model that identifies;
- key activities
- their respective cost drivers
- the proportion of period versus fixed costs, and
- the location and nature of the main constraints/bottlenecks in the system.
The population and reconciliation of the resulting model is to be completed by local staff. The conduct of Activity Based Costing (ABC) and Theory of Constraints (TOC) modelling are worthwhile exercises. They are also the first step in building a complete Whittle Enterprise Optimisation model. In addition, the output provides the template for the design of cost, operational and management reporting systems.
Enterprise Optimisation (EO) (3-4 months)
- Base Case (replicate & validate)
- Optimised Case (ABC, TOC, 10 Steps)
- Scenarios (market, technologies, scaling/staging)
- New Life of Mine Plan
Once the benefit of implementing Whittle Integrated Strategic Planning has been determined, a full Whittle Enterprise Optimisation Study can be undertaken.
Over 3-4 months, our personnel will complete a comprehensive study of the mining project or operation. In the initial stages, this involves detailed data collection, analysis and modelling before the relevant optimisation techniques are applied.
Due to COVID, this is being conducted online with the assistance of your onsite staff and the support of our Whittle Regional Representatives, as applicable. On a month-by-month basis, a typical Enterprise Optimisation Study is as follows:
Month 1 : Base Case
(replicate & validate)
In the first stage, a Base Case Optimisation Model is developed. This is designed to replicate and reconcile to your current plan. This model uses existing pit, phase or underground mine designs, current mine schedules, cut-off and stockpiling policies and existing processing and production/commercial assumptions.
The existing plans of the business are then validated in Prober-E. From this review, the calibration and accuracy of all settings are checked across the mining system – all the way through to the current financial model. A valuable by-product of this phase is an audit, confirmation and validation of the integrity of the current Strategic Plan.
Month 2 : Optimised Case
(ABC, TOC, 10 Steps)
In the second month, the Base Case is re-valued for the application of ABC/TOC, and any other change in assumptions.
An Optimised Case is then developed. The optimiser controls the variables that are flexible, whilst observing appropriate constraints. This applies the 10 Steps of a Whittle Enterprise Optimisation Model including; Pit/Underground, Phases, Mine Schedule, Cut-off, Blend, Stockpiles, Processing, Product Mix & Specification, Logistics and Capital. These 10 Steps are initially applied consecutively for validation and interpretation purposes. Ultimately, the 10 Steps are applied simultaneously to determine what the ore body and system are capable of, in terms of generating increased stakeholder value.
Month 3 : Scenarios
(market, technologies, scaling/staging)
Once the Whittle Enterprise Optimisation Model has been developed, a variety of scenarios can be explored. These scenarios can reflect different future market conditions, test alternative technologies and consider different scaling/staging options. A variety of plans can then be developed, evaluated and maintained as options. This creates a new level of operational agility; preparing the business for future changes to market conditions, technologies and business contexts.
The selected scenario(s) from the Whittle Enterprise Optimisation Study becomes the new Strategic Plan for the business. The EO Study becomes the foundation for the objectives, KPI’s and performance targets for the whole organisation. These plans can be easily updated, scaled and staged, as required. The end result is a new Life of Mine Plan for the mining project or operation.
Tactical Theory of Constraints (TTOC) Implementation (3-6 months)
- Flow Model & buffers
- Ops Room
- Alignment & Leadership
- Operational Improvement
Whilst Integrated Strategic Planning applies Theory of Constraints (TOC) at a strategic level, Tactical Theory of Constraints (TTOC) focuses on the operational implications.
A Tactical Theory of Constraints (TTOC) implementation is a powerful way to harness the principles of Theory of Constraints (TOC), practically applying them to identified bottlenecks or constraints. Undertaken as a stand-alone project or held in conjunction with Whittle Enterprise Optimisation, a TTOC implementation can quickly achieve exceptional results.
The operational system value chain is articulated with the development of a Flow Model. This identifies the bottleneck(s). Ongoing improvement is achieved with the development of operational rules for bottleneck and buffer management.
Developing mental alignment and facilitating understanding is key to TTOC success. From the outset, we train your staff about the new operational paradigm. Site specific education and ongoing training across all levels; including management, supervisory, Ops Room and site shift staff is recommended. This results in permanent operational performance and NPV improvement, particularly when combined with a Whittle Enterprise Optimisation Study.
KPI/Management Reporting/Information Systems
A Whittle Enterprise Optimisation study identifies the key drivers of value within the business. It also sets a blueprint for the new operating strategy with a degree of clarity that cannot otherwise be achieved. It is important that cost and operational information systems, management reporting systems and processes, including targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are aligned with this strategy. If the strategy is to maximise “Net Value per Bottleneck Unit”, then it is important to have reports and targets which are consistent with this objective. Typical targets including, maximising utilisation, tonnes and recoveries allow for a new set of value-based objectives. (e.g. KPIs like “tonnes per hour” need to be replaced with “dollars per hour.”)
With everyone working the right plan and with the right measures in place, the business of mining becomes rewarding for all involved.
Following a Whittle Enterprise Optimisation study, the following can be reviewed and aligned as necessary:
- Operational data systems
- Cost accounting design
- Management reporting
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
- Targets and incentives
Whittle Consulting can participate and advise, or even lead this stage, or can engage implementation partners, as required.
Ongoing Review & Assessment
As time passes, more data becomes available, operating experience grows, new technologies emerge and the market changes. Strategic plans must also evolve, regularly adapting and evaluating new threats and opportunities as they arise. As a minimum, we recommend updating your Whittle Enterprise Optimisation model annually.
Depending on the size and complexity of the model, and the mechanisms that prove to be important, the Whittle Enterprise Optimisation model can often be maintained in commercially available software tools (Geovia Whittle/SIMO). Alternatively, Whittle Consulting can supply ongoing access to Prober-E through a simple Framework Agreement.
Network of Alliance Partners
Whittle Consulting has developed a worldwide network of Alliance Partners. These organisations can assist with the design and advice of KPI, management reporting and information systems, implementation support and ongoing review and assessment.