In this episode of HxGN Radio, we discuss Hexagon Mining’s improved global services that help customers get the most from their technology investment. To listen to more HxGN Radio episodes, visit our channels on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.
Welcome to HxGN Radio. This is your host, Neville Judd. Thank you for joining us for today’s podcast episode, titled Pillars of Service and Continuous Improvement, brought to you by Hexagon Mining. In today’s podcast, we are talking to Matt Desmond, who is Vice President Services-Operations at Hexagon Mining.
NJ: Matt, thank you for joining us today.
MD: Thanks Nev.
NJ: Tell us a little bit about Hexagon Mining and your role with the company.
MD: Hexagon Mining is a division of Hexagon which focuses on providing technology into the mining sector. We have solutions which cover the breadth of the life of mine from exploration to remediation and every stage in between. Hexagon Mining is a relatively new name in the industry, however, it’s built on a long history with brands of Leica Geosystems, Mintec, Devex SAFEmine and previously Tritronics all being consolidated under the same portfolio with access to technology from the greater Hexagon group, which has a huge amount of products and solutions for the mining sector, like laser scanners, flood stability monitoring, plant design solutions to name a few. So Hexagon’s all about shaping smart change by optimizing design planning and operations for safer more efficient mines. And within that I look after the services team which is a really exciting role. We’ve got a great team of experienced people spread all across the world. So I’ve got offices in Chile, Brazil, the USA, Australia, Indonesia, Central Asia and South Africa. We get to work with sites to solve challenging problems which link the technology that we have with people and processes to get more out of the investments they have. All in all, it’s a great job especially when we get to see the results of helping sites get more out of the solutions they purchase.
NJ: So recently you’ve consolidated the company services and I know you refer to the pillars of service. Tell me about that. What are the pillars of service?
MD: Yeah. We’ve broken our service delivery in to 3 main items, each with a number of offerings that are all complemented by and focused on continual improvement. So the 3 pillars are: First we start with deployment, and that revolves around the services that we offer when our product is first provided to a customer. It generally involves end-to-end product management to ensure that the deployments are carried out within a defined schedule, at a defined cost and risks to minimize throughout the project. It’s also generally accompanied by change management to make sure that we manage the transition from how things are done prior for the new technology implementation to the post technology state, and all activities in between, which include things like scoping, hardware, installation and commissioning, communications and positioning infrastructure deployment, software configuration and integration of business analytics. So then the 2nd pillar that we have is training. So once the technology is in place, there’s always more someone can learn or as they move through various material levels with the technology. We’ve got a broad range of training programs and delivery methods that are tailored to fit all different customers’ needs, but our training philosophy revolves around having competency based training methods and having them delivered by industry professionals who understand the domain. So we offer 1-5 day courses or more if required and they’re offered either onsite, in our office, or online. We also offer coaching and mentoring programs and accreditation programs through our training arm to make sure that all of the users are getting the most out of the technology they have. So then we have our 3rd pillar which is our consulting arm, and that encompasses a broad range of activities to help extract more out of the technology and how it’s used onsite. They range from auditing to technology existing use and how it’s embedded into the site developing business process mapping and standard operating procedures, benchmarking studies, reserves and planning studies, safety technology evaluation, machine maintenance, asset and asset management programs and helping with short term labor demands for a specific project assistance.
NJ: So why are these pillars so important to continuous improvement?
MD: So all of our solutions are able to help in a large number of ways. They’re quite complex products generally, and they’re continuing to evolve as users come across new problems or gaining more experience with the systems. There’s always something more that they can learn and more that they can get out of the system. So like all domains the users never really stop learning. If they do, they start to go backwards. So we focused on helping customers continually get more out of their system, and this comes back to focusing on those 3 pillars, deployment, training and consulting, to make sure customers are continuing to improve. So we really look at our customers as partners and there’s more that we can offer. So the more we have the 3 pillars of the delivery side of things, we make sure that we’re continuing to look at those customers and how they can get more out of the system in a proactive manner.
NJ: Why was it so important to consolidate all of these services into one organization?
MD: So within Hexagon Mining there are a number of elements that have come together over the last 24 months and with consolidating the multiple companies it naturally made sense to consolidate the services. We’re starting to see significant benefits in that. So some of those benefits – the first one’s really consolidating regional practices into global best practices. So with different companies and different things spread around the world there were slightly different practices from one location to the other. So we’ve been able to learn a great deal about what works and what works really well and we’ve been implementing those practices universally across the world. So this really is seeing customers benefiting immediately in those lessons that were learned. Another main driver is cross functional and cross domain knowledge transfer. So from having people from different backgrounds we’re able to look at problems from slightly different perspectives to find optimal solutions. They’re getting planning, operations and safety guys working together to solve problems. It allows you to look at solutions in new ways and find answers which may not be found looking through a single frame of reference.
NJ: What are some of the ways you think customers will benefit from this approach?
MD: So I think there is really a number of ways customers will benefit. The first is more streamlined services. So using better practices means customers will get a faster ROI with less risk and shorter time frames for delivery. The next is really more innovative ways to solve problems. So looking at those things from different perspectives with that broad range of domain knowledge really is the key to finding new ways to solve problems, and another solution would be looking at problems from end-to-end. So looking at them from planning through operations and safety, focusing on all the inputs and the outputs coupled with an intimate knowledge of the technology being used will really benefit the way that problems are solved for customers.
NJ: You’ve alluded to some of the experienced professionals within the Services organization. Can you tell me a little bit more about the people who staff your Services organization?
MD: Yeah sure. We’re really lucky to have a really great team of people that have a lot of experience in the mining industry, and the team is broken down into 3 functional areas that all work together to provide our solutions to the customer. But the first of that is our field services team, so they look after the installation and commissioning of their hardware and infrastructure to make sure the systems are working 24/7. That may include connecting systems to machines, looking at communications technology, making sure things are up and running. Then we have our software services team, and they look at installation and configuring of our software solutions as well as linking it with 3rd party systems, looking at business analytics, as well as carrying out upgrades and updates of new software as they become available. Then we have our value added services team which encompasses training, consulting and project management, and all of the activities related to that. So the team has a diverse background and comes from really a few different skill sets. So we have a hardware and electronics background, which is really the makeup of the field services team. Then we have our software development background, which our software team is made up of, but those people, all both in the hardware and software domain area, have all really focused on mining for quite a long time. Then we have a whole host of mining engineers and geologists that really look to make up the value added services team. So we’re really focused on making sure that we have people who understand the environment in which we’re working, and how to solve problems in that environment.
NJ: So how does Hexagon Mining Services differ from the competition, do you think?
MD: So we understand how our technology works better than anyone else, and what can be done to improve how it works and how it’s embedded into sites.Generally, if we don’t know how something can be done then it’s likely that it can’t be done with the current technology, but we can get it looked at for an improvement, which a lot of other competitors can’t do. So we really focus on that continual improvement and solving customers’ problems, whether it be through services or through feedback back into development to get things improved or enhanced to fit with what the customer needs. We’re also the only company that covers technology across the entire value chain of the mining process, from planning to safety, operations, surveys, slope monitoring, water management, and the list continues to grow and grow. Then we have access to a whole network of insiders, which no one else has, to focus on solving problems. So within the Hexagon group we have access to a huge number of people that are able to solve quite complicated problems by using technology and linking it with people and processes.
NJ: So why didn’t Hexagon Mining do this sooner?
MD: Well it’s actually been in the works for the last 12 months. We’ve been working together and assembling the team and working together, really we haven’t published it out to the market but we’re culminating that in the launch at the moment. So we’re well down the track of the actual physical rollout of the new structure, and the team will continue to evolve, but we’re ready to start helping people solve problems now and help them get the most out of their solution.
NJ: And just finally, how do you see the Services organization evolving in the future?
MD: So I think the team will continue to evolve and like any business it’s important to keep changing and keep up with the times. The technology is not going to sit still and as new products and solutions are available we’ll have to alter our offerings to get the most out of them, but we will continue to focus on the areas of deployment, training and consulting and continuous improvement. It stood the test of time and I think it will continue to do so in the future.
NJ: Matt, we appreciate your time today. Thanks very much for being our guest.
MD: Thank you very much for having me, Nev.
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