Joe Gladu and Derek Polano could be called pioneers in a sense. More than 100 years after most of the established mining camps in Northern Ontario have been in operation, Gladu and Polano have arrived on the mining scene to show people how things can be done better.
Not that they would ever say that; they’re both typically polite Canadians. But as the North American representatives of an Australian software company that specializes in integrated mine planning, they’re finding a whole new market ripe with opportunities. Both men are now based in Sudbury.
Gladu, VP for North America, explained that Commit Works began in Australia where it had success in mine planning with coal mines in that country.
The company uses a proprietary software program called Fewzion that enables mining companies to work more efficiently by getting everyone on the company team to work together, to communicate with each other more often and to get people “all on the same page” not just every week or every day, but for every work shift.
Gladu said after having success in Australia, Commit Works enjoyed additional success in South Africa.
Jolimont Global, a venture capital company, decided to invest in Commit Works, said Gladu. That prompted the company to expand its horizons and break into the North American market.
Gladu said the mining companies have not been doing anything bad or wrong. But the companies haven't changed. He said mining companies have continued to do things the same way for decades because they were profitable and it was just the way things were always done. Things are different now.
“I think it might be that in the last few years, the commodity prices haven't been what they could be, although gold is doing reasonably well,” said Gladu.
“There is more and more pressure on them to maintain the margins and be able to sustain their business. The reality is that the inefficiencies they could live with years ago are no longer realistic. So it presents a real dilemma for the industry,” he added
Gladu said mining companies are now realizing things have to be done differently if they want to survive.
Polano, the adoption and results manager, said the Fewzion software can made to fit any mine planning process. He said he learned about it last year when he was consulting on a planning job for a Northern Ontario gold mine.
“We went up there and I was involved to help to engage the staff on how the mine was going to operate,” Polano explained.
“I liked the product so much. It’s a software package and it was so easy to use and so easy to train people on it. People understood it very quickly. And it had such an impact and I thought, man this is really something. This is a company I can really work for,” he added.
Out of that process, Polano said he left the consulting firm and joined Commit Works.
He said the important thing about the software is that it brings all the players together to keep them informed about the mine plan and the work that needs to be done.
“It’s what we call integrated planning and scheduling software. And it is really a platform where all your plans can come together; your production plan, your development plan, your maintenance plan, any projects going on underground. It all comes together under one system that is visible to everybody so everybody can see all the work that is going on,” Polano explained.
Gladu said he recently spoke with a Sudbury mine manager who explained that his company had excellent plans but their failure was in executing the plan.
Gladu said there was a disconnect between planning people, the production people, the development and construction people. He said the key is getting people on the same page.
He added that while many good plans are laid out on a monthly or weekly basis, it is not enough. Gladu said the planning and execution of the plan has to be done on a shift by shift basis. And then the plan has to executed.
“Our mantra is say what you're doing to do, and then do what you said.