Capstone Experience: Cliffs Natural Resources

Our client, Cliffs Natural Resources, is a global mining and natural resources company. We are working for their metallurgical coal mining site in Oak Grove, Alabama. They have requested for us to build a solution to reduce idle time that currently exists before starting a shift. The idle time originates from the need to fill absent positions in the shift roster. The foreman, who manages daily shifts, currently utilizes multiple sources to physically call roll to determine which crew member is or is not on the Oak Grove property. This manual roll call process creates excess idle time prior to the upcoming shift which decreases production time and revenue.

Our goal is to reduce the idle time by ten minutes per shift. To do this, our CapEx team will plan, design, and build a dashboard application that collaborates with the necessary systems, and brings all the information needed to provide an intuitive view. This will allow the foreman to make quicker decisions regarding the positions that need to be filled. Our dashboard will stream information from a system about crew members’ physical location(s) while on Oak Grove property, thus eliminating the need for a manual roll call. We are also going to make filling vacant positions easier to manage, as the dashboard will present viable replacements based on what certifications and experience workers have. Lastly, our dashboard will improve safety and security for the Oak Grove location. A quick view of who is present will work as an assistant to the foreman should emergency circumstances arise.

Working through the plan, analyze, and design phases has helped us uncover the requirements to design such a solution. Documents such as the project charter, use case, and data dictionary have been specifically beneficial in outlining the project. We have used weekly client meetings to present and review these documents to ensure the CapEx team and Cliffs have parallel visions and ideas. We were also given the opportunity to experience the mining industry first hand when our team toured the mines of the Oak Grove site.

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