Calculating the cost of inefficient crew travel in the mining sector
Crew rotations, and all of the travel needed to facilitate them, come in as the second biggest expense for most mining organisations.
Calculating the cost of inefficient travel in the mining sector
Getting FIFO travellers from A to B, via C and with an unscheduled stop at D is often seen as one of the many challenges that come as standard when operating in the mining sector...
Getting FIFO workers from A to B, via C and with an unscheduled stop at D is often seen as one of the many challenges that come as standard when operating in the mining sector.
Although complex itineraries and delays are to be expected when managing transportation for FIFO travellers from around the world, what is often unexpected are the costs involved when this process becomes slow and ineffective.
Travel for FIFO workers comes in as the second biggest expense for most mining organisations. The meaning of this can be two-fold; the simple cost of air fares, ground transport and accommodation, but also the efficiency cost of arranging and re-arranging travel, as well as the impact of delayed miners and the cost this could have upon a project.
What is inefficient crew travel costing mining organisations?
What is inefficient transportation of FIFO travellers costing mining organisations?
Loss of productivity
The phrase ‘time is money’ might seem like a cliché to some, but it’s a reality to those operating within the mining sector. The impact on wrench time due to delayed travel or undesirable travel conditions can have a significant impact on how much time miners have to complete a project and how well they complete it. This loss in productivity has a ripple effect that extends far beyond the workers themselves.
Those responsible for managing FIFO travellers, processing expenses and reporting on spend can all have their schedules impacted by complex and laborious travel processes. If delays occur repeatedly over time, this can lead to reputational damage.
Loss of personnel
A stop-start, fragmented travel experience isn’t appreciated by anyone – least of all FIFO travellers who have been working hard and are eager to get home, and the managers who have to mitigate the effects of delayed travel.
Although disruptive and disorganised travel processes aren’t the sole reason that rotation workers leave a mining organisation, they can be considered a contributing factor. Multiple sector studies have all found compelling relationships between decreased employee retention and factors such as poor HR practices, work-life balance, high workload, career progression and isolation from family and friends.
Losing FIFO travellers leads to the loss of skill, knowledge and experience. With each member of personnel that moves on to other industries, they ultimately take the investment in their training with them.
Loss of insight
Inefficient processes have a significant impact on how well mining organisations can report on travel, whether that’s in order to analyse spend or identify trends. Although post-travel analysis might not seem like the most pressing task during a busy period, being able to report accurately on how your personnel is travelling and provide a figure for total cost of an operation is key to making long term, sustainable cost savings.
Compromising your organisation’s ability to analyse the time and money spent on crew changes can leave budgets open to unforeseen expenditure.
Causes of inefficiency
when arranging crew travel and how to fix them
No matter how robust your travel programme, you will never be able to control the weather, reduce airport traffic or calm political or social unrest and as such will never be able to eradicate the
delays that these can cause to the transportation of FIFO travellers. However, it’s not the delays that impact your organisation’s efficiency – it’s the response. The inability to react to travel delays in a timely and flexible way is what leads to lost time and lost productivity.
Having 24/7 global support will take away the pressure of trying to amend itineraries every time there is a change to scheduling or personnel – something that is essential when looking to mitigate against unexpected travel delays, whether that comes in the form of an online booking tool that will search for new travel options or simply a support team who will take over to find an alternative journey.
Technology can also help your organisation to fulfil its duty of care obligations in the event of a travel delay. Traveller tracking tools will allow you to monitor your FIFO travellers and provide support in an emergency situation – ideally this will be via an online platform. This will help to increase efficiencies and provide ultimate control, as well as decreasing dissatisfaction from your employees.
FIFO travellers being in possession of the correct travel documents and visas might sound like an obvious part of managing travel, but the reality of contending with different nationalities and varying entry requirements is anything but straightforward.
Without extensive experience and knowledge of the necessary documents required for each crew member, dependent on where they reside, where they have travelled from and where they are travelling to, managing a routine travel operation can quickly become a full time job.
Using a travel profile system can simplify the process of managing travel documents for FIFO travellers, particularly if the system can integrate with your organisation’s current HR processes. This technology should store all travel details and current visas – alerting managers when travel documents are due to expire and ensuring that there are no delays due to incorrect paperwork. Using travel profile systems can also reduce the risk of delays caused by human error.
To encourage your FIFO travellers to take control and be more organised, you could give them access to a mobile travel app which is simple to access, easy to use and acts as the ultimate travel companion. This app should store everything that your crew and personnel need when travelling for work, as well as holding information regarding their passport, visa details or loyalty card numbers. Having this technology will reduce the time it takes for personnel to update their travel and visa information.
Complex travel booking processes that act as a game of ping-pong between airline or hotel and travel booker can be a real drain on time. A further layer of complication is added when it’s time to get proposed travel itineraries approved to ensure that they are within budget. One of two things happens as the processes that surround arranging travel for crew members become more laborious; either those booking travel stick to them, wasting time that could be spent elsewhere, or they bypass them and compromise reporting and duty of care fulfilment by doing so.
The unpredictable nature of travel to mine sites rarely allows for the use of traditional ‘corporate’ travel booking tools. It’s worthwhile searching for a system that has been specifically designed for mining organisations. Tools built for the industry should have the ability to manage travel while integrating with payroll, HR, finance and logistics, as well as the ability to request travel via your TMC, as this will increase both accuracy and efficiency.