Mining/Metals/Minerals

Implementing an Integrated Operations Center – 5 Tips for Success

Companies in Minerals, Metals, and in particular, Mining, have been building and using Integrated Operations Centers (IOC) for more than ten years. It must be noted; however, that to be successful with this type of implementation, there are several obstacles that companies must avoid.

Integrated Operations Center

The largest – and most significant – obstacle to success is an overall lack of vision.  Leadership must have a clear vision of what to achieve and clearly articulate the strategy to do so. It must be business-driven and include:

  • The reason for building an IOC
  • What it will or intends to accomplish
  • A timeframe for implementation

Fortunately, if you’re at a company preparing for an IOC initiative, partnering with Schneider Electric helps ensure a higher likelihood of success. Please keep reading to learn what has worked well for other companies to begin an IOC initiative.

5 Tips For A Successful Implementation

  1. Take an agile and iterative approach. Before beginning the initiative, don’t wait to achieve perfection in infrastructure or information.

Application – one successful company started with an overall value chain, and even though some information was not immediately available, they began by displaying available data and KPIs from existing data sources. They then progressively added asset information from the mining fleet, maintenance information from the fixed plant, supply chain logistics, and product geology over agile iterations.

  1. Involve all stakeholders in the initiative planning. This involves identifying problematic siloed operations and proactively engaging in change management. Encourage these operations to define immediate steps to improve performance further. It also presents an opportunity to change an existing management culture which may be detrimental to achieving peak operation.

Application – Leadership at one global LNG company was able to visualize the company’s value chain with data stored in the PI Historian. That, in turn, allowed them to create the desired company culture to make decisions impacting the entire value chain, not only through the lens of divisional silos. Taking those measures enabled the company to efficiently go live with the first iteration of the IOC in less than two months and with a new set of agreed KPIs that were previously inconceivable.

  1. Understand the three types of an IOC. There are three different models of an IOC.
    • Central Control model, where employees use traditional process control across all operations from one central location. In some cases, and when carefully and ergonomically designed, this IOC function can be combined with the Command model.
    • Command or Collaboration model, where workers collaborate to diagnose issues and push out operations level schedules and work instructions and process control improvement strategies that can be executed by site or central controllers.
    • Enterprise model delivers visibility into an enterprise’s end-to-end value chain across all planning, scheduling, and execution time frames, allowing the company to be better prepared to pivot to address changing external (market) and internal (operational) circumstances across the business optimally.

By clearly defining the type of IOC to be used, companies can also identify and designate accountability for integrated decision-making. That involves identifying who is ultimately accountable and responsible and how, why, and when escalation will be managed.

  1. Build the appropriate infrastructure and physical environment. Do not place knowledge, collaboration, and dispatch workers, for example, in close physical proximity. These job functions require different working environments to support concentration and focus, for example, collaboration and dispatch can be noisy activities while knowledge work requires quiet. The IOC should have a good ergonomic design – and provide noise attenuation, lighting, and temperature control – while simultaneously encouraging communication and collaboration.

Application – The Panorama Digital Command center at ADNOC is a fully integrated, real-time data visualization center. Their IOC empowers employees to gain insights, unlock efficiencies, and identify new pathways to optimize performance.

  1. Commit to continuous improvement in sustainability as well as efficiency and productivity. Apart from improving business effectiveness, seize opportunities to improve energy and sustainability when they present themselves.

ApplicationQilianshan Cement introduced a new energy management system and advanced process control during its IOC initiative. As a result, the company realized a €600,000 savings in electricity costs in 2019.

Next Steps

If you don’t have a clear vision for your company’s IOC initiative but want to learn more, visit our EcoStruxure for Mining, Minerals and Metals page.

On the other hand, if you already have an IOC vision and want to learn more about partnering with Schneider Electric, contact your local Schneider Electric account manager.

Boost collaboration and get real-time insight with digital Integrated Operations Centers empowered by  #EcoStruxure™ and AVEVA™.  View demo now


Co-Author | Yong The –UOC Global Sales Lead at AVEVA \ Performance Intelligence

Yong is currently the global lead for the UOC product for AVEVA. Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Yong was later naturalized in the USA where he graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, specializing in Robotics and Automation. Beginning his career in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a Software Engineer, Yong later migrated to Australia where he co-founded a global, IT consulting firm servicing the finance and government sectors. Having sold that business, Yong then returned to his roots in automation where he led Schneider Electric’s Global Business Development in mining-related software solutions for 12 years before joining OSIsoft, recently acquired by AVEVA.


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