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What is Vale's new hubology project discovering?

What is Vale's new hubology project discovering?

12/14/2018

What is Vale's new hubology project discovering?

To be the industry leader, to have speed and agility, to be profitable. This is what every company strives for, but how do you truly create a working environment that exposes and solves problems faster? That’s what Vale’s new y project is discovering. And it’s coming at a crucial time.

As part of its strategy, Vale aims at becoming a global reference in sustainability within the mining sector by 2030. The company currently protects 8,500km2 of areas equivalent to 5.6 times the total area of its operational units. It also maintains Vale Natural Reserve in Linhares (Espírito Santo), which generates 3 million seedlings per year for the replanting of native forests. In 2017, the company invested approximately R$45 million, through Vale Foundation, in social projects distributed throughout 65 cities in Brazil. Check our website and learn about other initiatives as well as social and environmental commitments.

Sudbury's HUB-let / Vale Archive

Helen Francis, digital transformation lead across Base Metals, has been with Vale for more than 18 years and is based out of Sudbury. She is leading the digital component of HUB across the North Atlantic. The project is challenging historical behavioral and cultural norms around problem solving, as well as introducing new spatial and digital ways of working.

Technology, data and safety

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“If we better understand the grade coming out of our Mines in real-time, we can better plan our blending at the Mill and improve recovery. It’s all about uncovering the problems and then finding solutions, setting ourselves up for the best possible outcome.”

HUB will enhance our existing Vale Production System (VPS) practice, build on our digital intelligence, and allow us to be more productive, profitable, and sustainable. But most importantly, it will exponentially improve our safety. “The digital initiative is firmly backed by leadership,” said Helen, who began her tenure at the company as a research student on a mine automation project.

New Teams

Hubology is already breaking down silos and bringing together cross-functional teams to address and solve problems.
“If there is a problem in any given Mine, we assume that the mining group would solve that problem,” explained Helen. “However, the more people you can involve from different areas, creatively, the more you can avoid unintentional consequences and find a better overall solution for the business.”

A big focus of HUBOLOGY's problem-solving method is agility and finding ‘in the now’ solutions as opposed to outdated ones.

“What it really means is recognizing that we do have long-term objectives to achieve, but rather than send people away to an ivory tower to find a perfect solution, we’re looking at what we can do now to help achieve those deliverables,” said Helen.

A core team based in Sudbury is currently assigned to Hubology problem solving as the first HUB task force. As more opportunities arise, people will be identified and freed up for an intense but short period of time, allowing them to focus intently on the task at hand.

Physical spaces

The HUB team has started to build out physical spaces, dubbed ‘HUB-lets,’ with a focus on creating more open and collaborative workspaces that incorporate the visualization of real-time data.
The first of these spaces is located in Sudbury, with big screens on the walls and the ability to interact with the technology, with more ‘HUB-lets’ to come before the end of this year.
“What gets me really excited about Hubology is it will result in a safer business, where we design our work better, solve problems faster and execute with precision” said Helen. Vale, as a company, is investing in the development of this new way of working.

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What is Vale's new hubology project discovering?