Fortescue optimises its workforce pit to port

Workforce management solutions provider ComOps secures a contract with Fortescue Metals Group

Fortescue optimises its workforce pit to port
Fortescue optimises its workforce pit to port

April 9, 2013

Workforce management solutions provider ComOps secures a contract with Fortescue Metals Group.

ComOps will deploy Microster, a software solution to optimise Fortescue’s workforce with embedded fatigue risk management.

Microster is a complete rostering solution that will ensure best cost, staff coverage for Fortescue’s rail workforce, taking into consideration labour costs, FIFO [fly in fly out ] logistics, flexible scheduling, award interpretation and leave management.

Currently Fortescue’s Rail Operations use a series of spread sheets to manage the long and short term rostering of drivers and operators, a manual and very labour intensive process.

Frequent last minute changes to the roster need to be made quickly, take into account business rules and can result in complicated changes to ensure that the roster complies with legislative rules.

The current process also lacks reporting and visibility into labour related spend.

Fortescue Superintendent Operational Readiness for Rail Operations Troy Bootsma says ComOps was selected because of the Microster solution's functionality depth as well as the company’s proven experience within the pit to port environment.

"The deployment of Microster within Fortescue’s rail operations will significantly change our processes for the better," Bootsma says.

"Our rosters will take into account cost, demand and risk factors while automating much of the process.

"The greater visibility and capabilities will allow us to continue to grow at this rapid pace and help mature our Rail Crew Management processes."

ComOps Microster will allow Fortescue to build fair and equitable, best cost rosters based on approved budgets and lowest cost methodologies.

Rosters will be built using a matrix of complex business rules such as: shift patterns; roles and responsibilities; skills; preferences; legislations; equality and fatigue scoring.

Roster modelling and labour cost assessments can be performed to enforce financial responsibility and to reduce the use of overtime while the Microster Time and Attendance module tracks planned rosters against actuals.

Dynamic leave management tools ensure line managers and supervisors have the capabilities to optimise the planning of leave and overtime.

Workflow alerts for approval ensure fair allocations of leave while considering staffing and shift coverage requirements.
Rosters are based on workload demand, available staff skills and bookings by staff members.

Short term events that affect rosters, such as sick leave, will no longer cause huge administration burdens and jeopardise operations.

Workflows will highlight alternatives and then a new roster can be quickly re-calculated and issued.

Microster will also allow Fortescue to input roster execution details such as specialised equipment, to track competencies based on frequency of use.

Located in the iron ore rich Pilbara region of Western Australia, Fortescue is the world's fourth largest iron ore producer, and in the last six years has experienced unparalleled growth.

Fortescue’s railway was the first large-scale railway development undertaken in the Pilbara in more than 40 years and is currently the heaviest haul line in the world with a 40 tonne axle load capacity.

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