“RACE—powered by Gurobi—empowers stakeholders across the mining value chain to leverage mathematical optimization to solve their complex planning and scheduling problems.”Dr. Ben Hollis
INDUSTRY: Metals and Mining
REGION: Australia / New Zealand
Companies operating within large multi-user mining value chains – from producers to rail haulage providers, terminal operators to track owners, and mining conglomerates to supply chain coordinating bodies – all share the same, simple goal: Move material from train load point through the rail network and terminal infrastructure and onto vessels in the most efficient and profitable manner possible.
Achieving this simple goal, however, is an incredibly difficult undertaking due to the scale, complexity, and dynamic nature of large, multi-user mining value chains.
To ensure that the right material gets to the right place at the right time (and at the lowest cost), these companies must be able to:
Unfortunately, manual planning tools and techniques – which have been traditionally used by various stakeholders within these complex multi-user mining value chains – are time consuming to use, require expert domain knowledge to operate, and cannot produce optimal schedules for such a large and complex value chain.
There is an enormous number of interdependent decisions that have to be made simultaneously to ensure the overall system is operating efficiently including:
The complexity inherent in ensuring these massive value chains operate efficiently is why a growing number of these companies are investing in and implementing automated, advanced planning and scheduling software tools that are powered by mathematical optimization. With these cutting-edge tools, stakeholders throughout the value chain can optimize their planning and decision making, revolutionize their operations, and conquer their supply chain challenges.
One of the leading providers of advanced, automated planning and scheduling solutions is Polymathian. Headquartered in Australia, Polymathian produces a suite of products that empower companies across various industries to harness the power of mathematical optimization to solve their complex business problems and optimize their operations.
One of the key products in Polymathian’s portfolio is RACE – an online decision support tool for companies operating within complex multi-user mining supply chain networks – which was developed in 2014 and first deployed in 2015.
RACE has proven to be a popular and powerful tool for companies across these complex mining value chains, and Polymathian now has a wide variety of customers using RACE including the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator Limited (HVCCC), Aurizon, Pacific National, the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT), and a range of large mining conglomerates.
Although each of these companies faces its own uniquely complex operational challenges, RACE serves as a single solution that enables automated and optimal planning for multiple stakeholders within these multi-user, semi-coordinated or fully-coordinated mining value chains.
For each different customer, RACE delivers:
“RACE empowers different stakeholders across the mining value chain to leverage mathematical optimization to solve their complex planning and scheduling problems. With RACE, these companies can transform their planning processes by making them automated, repeatable, auditable, in addition to optimal – in short they can get the best possible answer in the shortest possible time to make better business decisions given their role in the value chain,” said Dr. Ben Hollis, Director at Polymathian.
“The Gurobi Optimizer is the beating heart of RACE, not to mention other tools in Polymathian’s product portfolio. For each customer using RACE, we model their real-world, stakeholder-specific, value chain problems using RACE, channel their data through mathematical models to the Gurobi Optimizer, which produces detailed, optimal plans and schedules,” Dr. Hollis added. With RACE, different stakeholders within the mining value chain can automatically generate optimal plans and schedules and make optimal decisions across the following time horizons:
RACE’s customer base includes companies operating across the mining value chain, including primary producers, rail haulage providers, terminal operators, rail track owners, mining conglomerates and coordinating bodies.
Since implementing RACE, all these companies have experienced notable improvements in their supply chain planning, decision making, and overall operational efficiency and have been able to achieve significant operational and bottom-line benefits including:
Polymathian decided to embed the Gurobi Optimizer in RACE (as well as the other products in its portfolio) for one reason: It’s the state-of-the-art mathematical optimization solver.
“At Polymathian, we want to ensure that we have the ability to use the best-of-breed mathematical optimization solver in our products – so that our products can deliver the highest quality solutions for our customers in the shortest amount of time,” Dr. Hollis said.
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