Kronos Solution Mines Labor Savings, Minimizes Compliance Risk for Damstra Mining Services
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Damstra Mining Services Pty. Ltd., based in New South Wales, Australia, provides labor and mining support services to both local and international mining companies. With more than 30 years of experience in the mining industry, Damstra Mining Services has had a significant impact on how mining operations manage site contractor safety, training, time management, and costs.
Finding it difficult to control labor costs and minimize compliance risk with its existing systems, Damstra Mining Services turned to Kronos and its Workforce Central® suite. Armed with the Workforce Timekeeper™ application for time and attendance and Kronos biometric terminals, Damstra was able to better adhere to safety, training, and other labor standards. It was able to more accurately collect labor data. And it achieved a 6 per cent reduction in hours — a savings of approximately $46,000 per month in labor costs.
The results: Lower labor costs. Better compliance. And an award for its accomplishments: Damstra Mining Services garnered a Kronos Best Practices Award for its dedication to ensuring contractor safety and for excellence in the application of Kronos technology.
Damstra Mining Services at a Glance
- Reduced labor costs with a 6 per cent reduction in labor hours
- Minimized compliance risk with better adherence to OHS regulations
- Gained a competitive edge with a reliable, real-time, flexible system
“The Kronos system really helped us sell ourselves to our clients when we showed them how the technology would allow us to easily manage their contractor management requirements.” — Christian Damstra, General Manager, Damstra Mining Services Pty. Ltd.
business Type: Mining
Services Employees: 1,000+
Products: Workforce Timekeeper
Compliance requirements pose specific challenges
A major challenge in Australia’s mining industry is a requirement of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. It mandates that all employees need relevant training and the capabilities to correctly and safely perform their jobs. Guidelines at individual mining sites determine how many hours an employee can work per day and each week. And all training of personnel must also be recorded for future reference, to substantiate that the contracting company is using all means possible to maintain employee safety.
Prior to implementing its Kronos solution, Damstra Mining Services utilized a variety of methods to track time management, costs, and safety of contractors on mining sites. Options ranged from manual contractor signing of books to electronic Bundy time clocks.
“None of the systems worked effectively, efficiently, and accurately enough to ensure that OHS requirements and guidelines were met,” says General Manager Christian Damstra. “Because the old methods relied largely upon manually entered data and the honesty of individuals completing their time details, it was difficult to determine if the requirements were being met. We knew from the beginning that these issues existed, and we needed to find a better way to meet the requirements.”
Reliability emerges as key requirement
Damstra Mining Services had been evaluating systems and requirements for some time and concluded that reliability was the most important issue with site contractor systems. The company also determined that the new solution must offer contractor control access. It had to provide accurate, real-time information. And it needed to be reliable and cost-effective.
The company evaluated a number of options, including writing its own system and purchasing a system with proven technology. After assessing the options, the company determined that automated, proven technology would maximize its system’s run time and allow it to quickly implement the system to mining clients’ expectations.
Real-time web technology is reliable
“Technology was one of the main things we looked at in selecting a new system,” explains Damstra. “Alternate systems all had to be direct links, and we couldn’t have direct links to the other side of the world or the other side of the country. The Kronos web-based system allows us to go anywhere in the world and bring all the information back to our local office.”
The Kronos Workforce Central suite best fit the requirements Damstra was looking for. “It covered the main areas of data collection with biometric verification, and its reliability appeared to be second to none. This was important if we were going to put our company name behind this product with our clients,” says Damstra. “The Kronos system really helped us sell ourselves to our clients when we showed them how the technology would allow us to easily manage their contractor management requirements.”
Because the mines are quite sparse, a main server was installed in Damstra Mining Services’ main office and then linked to the Kronos 4500 Touch ID™ biometric terminals in each mine. Web-based report pages and software make the system easy to own and fully self-managed.
“With the biometric capabilities, we’ve also been able to eliminate buddy punching [one employee entering time and attendance data for another],” notes Damstra. The Kronos 4500 Touch ID terminal is a finger-scanning verification solution that enables the system to verify employees’ identities. “This has further increased the cost savings and better ensured OHS compliance for the mining companies we serve,” he adds.
Damstra Mining Services required a system that was built to perform. It had to run unmanned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And the Kronos system has met this challenge with its nearly 100 per cent availability rate. The system allows for SMS messaging if an employee works more than 14 hours without a break or if a contractor forgets to log out. A message is automatically sent when shift lengths are exceeded, and employee information is automatically updated.
Flexible system delivers competitive edge
“By bringing all information back to one central location, we can manage multiple mine sites, whether it’s one site for one company or 30 sites for two or three companies,” says Damstra. “We can stop people working between sites or too long on one site, and also share skills among sites. Installing the Kronos system has definitely given us a competitive edge, as our competitors use individual servers that don’t allow this flexibility."
Following installation of Workforce Central, approximately 1,000 employees were trained and enrolled in the system. After running the system for two months, a comparison of contractor hours before and after implementation showed an approximate 6 per cent reduction in hours, resulting in a sizeable reduction in labor costs.
“In addition to cost savings, the other benefits that we have achieved with the Kronos system include having the information we need to ensure that every person carrying out work on the site is trained in those tasks,” concludes Damstra. “This does not show up as an up-front financial gain. But long term it means fewer injuries, better work practices, and improved compliance with federal regulations. These are major achievements in themselves.”
©2009, Kronos Incorporated. Kronos, the Kronos logo, and Workforce Central are registered trademarks, and Workforce Timekeeper and Kronos 4500 Touch ID are trademarks of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. All other product and company names mentioned are used for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective owners. All specifications are subject to change.
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