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Driving value through excellence in maintenance

We have set ourselves the ambitious target of saving an aggregated US$1.2 billion in maintenance costs across BHP by the end of FY2022 and reducing down time by 20 per cent.We plan to do this by focusing on defect elimination, excellence in planning and scheduling, and safely embedding optimised maintenance strategies.

Across BHP operations, we use more than 3,000 machines, including 1,300 trucks, around 400 loaders, 450 dozers, 240 drills, 200 excavators, and more. We also rely on a variety of fixed plant equipment to process our commodities. All this equipment currently costs around US$3.5 billion annually to maintain.

BHP has created the Maintenance Centre of Excellence to partner with our operations with the goal of delivering safe, sustainable improvement in our equipment performance. The Centre aims to exploit BHP’s scale and draws on the deep expertise, data and systems we hold across our business to reduce cost, cut unplanned down time, improve production and ensure our equipment is safe and reliable for our people. We have established regional planning hubs in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, co-located with supply chain and maintenance strategy teams, to enable work to be more accurately planned further in advance. The goal is to improve supply chain performance, making frontline maintenance teams more effective, which in turn leads to improved availability and reduced cost.

The Centre’s work to date has reduced master data errors, improved planning lead times and accuracy, and reduced life-of-asset costs. One example is the equipment strategy for our most important haul truck, the Caterpillar 793F, almost 300 of which are in use in BHP’s operations around the world. We brought together a team of experts from our Coal, Iron Ore, Copper, Technology and Supply teams to identify how to maximise the value of this truck based on the function it performs in our mining operations. By optimising the maintenance and supply chain strategies, and setting operating limits for how we use these trucks in the field, we have reduced costs by a projected 20 per cent across the remaining life of the fleet, and improved availability.

Another example is our Liebherr T282 haul trucks. By standardising pit stop servicing improvements, implementing preventative activities, such as targeted electrical component inspections for identified problem areas, and installing specific component updates and parts, we expect to reduce costs by a projected 18 per cent across the remaining life of the fleet. Similarly, for our fleet of D10 and D11 dozers, we expect to reduce costs by a projected 18 per cent across the remaining life of the fleet as a result of improvements to undercarriage, hydraulics and power train strategies. Over the next three years and beyond, the Centre intends to work through BHP’s top 70 asset classes to accelerate the delivery of these productivity improvements. This significant program of work will focus on improving the end-to-end performance of these assets and the maintenance systems that support them to generate a step change in safety, equipment availability and cost performance.