Biarri FIFO Management

Grounding the complexity to Fly in Fly Out management

Being able to close the labour and skill gap is a critical factor in sustaining growth and maximising profitability for remote operations. It is imperative that companies have the tools and skills available to unravel the complexity to FIFO management.

FIFO workforces are commonly used by large infrastructure and resource projects in remote regions including rural and offshore. These regions often don’t have adequate infrastructure or an available local workforce with the right skillset which leads to companies requiring the use of workers from interstate and sometimes overseas.

The FIFO problem is complex for many companies. It involves determining efficient ways to move people via aircraft, taking into consideration: multiple projects at various phases over multiple locations, with a dynamic workforce utilising different skillsets on a variety of roster patterns, as well as using a fleet consisting of different types and numbers of aircraft.

Often the goal with FIFO management is to determine the number, and type, of aircraft needed in order to minimise cost whilst working with the opposing objectives of ensuring: the staff arrive before the start of their shift (but not too early), depart after the end of their shift (but not too late) and keeping travel durations to acceptable lengths (to ensure low fatigue).

Balancing FIFO Complexity

Analytics to break through the complexity

With this level of complexity, a traditional excel approach lacks the rigour and power to find the most efficient and effective results. As a result we’ve developed a number of different FIFO optimisers at Biarri to help ensure the best outcome for clients.

The reality is that there are often many more factors that need to be considered which complicates the problem further. Each FIFO optimisation problem often turns out to be quite different once the detail of the problem is better understood.

High Level FIFO Requirements

Some companies just want us to help them “define their fleet, or travel requirements” so they can then go out to tender (it also helps to keep the vendors honest), others actually want an operational tool. Others may be looking to see if there is a business case for upgrading an airport (e.g. if the airport is upgraded, then larger aircraft can be used which can reduce the need for bus in bus out (BIBO) which will alter their risk profile due to road km and can dramatically alter travel durations).

Specific FIFO requirements

Our clients often want different levels of detail in the solution. Some are happy with a solution that ensures adequate movements at the week level (e.g. 15 flights of aircraft type A between locations B and C per week), others want very detailed minute by minute schedules which take into account: turnaround time, time between takeoff and landing, number of aircraft gates with solutions showing exactly who is travelling on which flight and aircraft and when.

Across Multiple Projects

Our clients have also had multiple projects which are often on the go at the same time and sometimes different priorities are given to different projects. These priorities can be used to ensure that if all the people movement demands can’t be met, then the lower priority movements are less likely to be satisfied.

Optimising the time horizon

The optimisation time horizon can also vary significantly with some clients optimising over a 24 hour period (or even less if they want to re-optimise in the middle of the day due to unpredictable events such as delays due to weather) through to clients wanting higher level schedules over several years to help them make strategic decisions and determine how their fleet needs to change over time.

Understanding the constraints

Constraints such as: the maximum distance an aircraft can travel before needing to refuel, maintenance schedules and the refuelling locations themselves often also need to be considered. We’ve dealt with both fixed and rotary wing (helicopters) aircraft. Helicopters have the additional complication of sometimes having to take more fuel (and thus weight) to travel further, which results in the reduction of passengers because of the helicopter’s limited total payload capacity.

Finding the right FIFO parameters

We have outlined some of the parameters that our FIFO optimisers have considered. It is by no means comprehensive and we can always include new parameters if a different problem requires them but it gives a good understanding into the different variables that can, and should be considered.

Some of the typical inputs include:

Airport information

  • Location
  • Hours of operation
  • Refuelling capability
  • Refuelling duration
  • Availability (i.e. you can specify a start and end date for which the airport is available)

Aircraft information

  • Serial number
  • Category (e.g. fixed wing or rotary wing)
  • Type (e.g. DASH 8-200)
  • Average speed
  • Passenger seats
  • Maximum payload
  • Fuel density
  • Fuel tank capacity
  • Re-fuelling time
  • Fuel burn rate
  • Base location
  • Availability (i.e. you can specify a start and end date for which the aircraft is available)
  • Costs

Flight Legs

  • From location
  • To Location
  • Distance
  • Aircraft types able to fly this leg

Project priorities

People Movement Demands

  • Origin
  • Destination
  • Project
  • Number of passengers
  • From Date
  • To Date
  • Arrive Before (i.e. must arrive on their first working day of the roster by this time)
  • Depart After (i.e. must depart after this time on the last working day of the roster)
  • Roster Pattern (e.g. 14:14 = 14 days on, 14 days off)
  • Day of week (i.e. which day of the week can this person travel)
  • Group (demands can be grouped together to allow the user to specify which demands can be grouped on the same aircraft)

Some of the typical outputs include:

KPIs - There are around 40 KPIs, some of them are listed below

  • Total flights
  • Total distance flown
  • Total fuel burned
  • Total number of aircraft required
  • Utilisation Percentage
  • Total unused pax capacity
  • Total passenger demand
  • Total passenger demand satisfied

Resource Summary (i.e. which aircraft are required and when)

  • Serial number
  • Date
  • Total pax
  • Total hours flown
  • Total distance flown
  • Total fuel burned
  • Total flights
  • Total legs
  • Cost

Flight leg details (i.e. which flight legs are required and when)

  • Flight ID
  • Resource ID
  • Pax capacity
  • Available pax capacity (this is < pax capacity if the fuel weight is a limiting factor)
  • Total used pax
  • Utilisation Percentage
  • Departure location
  • Departure date and time
  • Arrival location
  • Arrival date and time
  • Day of week
  • Total distance
  • Total hours flown
  • Total fuel burned
  • Fuel weight at start of leg
  • Refuel at destination (true or false)
  • Turn around time
  • Cost

Flight leg pax details (i.e. which people movement demands travel on which flight legs)

  • Flight ID
  • Origin
  • Departure date and time
  • Destination
  • Arrival date and time
  • Project
  • Pax

Project summary (i.e. which demands from which projects were satisfied)

  • Project name
  • Total demand
  • Total satisfied demand
  • Total unsatisfied demand (e.g. this will be non zero if there is not enough capacity to transport demand)
  • Total impossible to satisfy demand (e.g. this will be non zero if a flight path has not been specified in the inputs that results in some demand being impossible to satisfy regardless of aircraft resources available)

Flight summary

  • Flight ID
  • Number of instances (i.e. how many times is this flight route flown at the same time – but on different dates)
  • Resource
  • Date of first flight
  • Date of last flight
  • Day of week
  • Departure time
  • Arrival time
  • Total people
  • Total distance
  • Total hours flown
  • Total fuel burned

Unravel the complexity to FIFO Management

The work we have done for companies such as Arrow, Origin, QGC, BMA, IBS, and Santos has shown us that despite having FIFO problems, they all required different approaches in order to achieve the right result.

This has demonstrated to us that when approaching a FIFO problem, where so many different variables have to be considered depending on the client, a standard approach (Commercial off the shelf product) and excel models will generally struggle with the complexity.

Having a tool built around specific variables demonstrates the benefits to bespoke solutions for FIFO problems.

Find out more about Biarri in Mining >>
Find out more about Biarri in Oil & Gas >>
Find out more about Biarri and FIFO Scheduling >>

Or, Get in contact so we can discuss your requirements.

People Logistics in oil and gas

The role of people logistics in oil and gas projects

Efficient and effective logistics is vital to large Oil & Gas projects – equipment must be transported to work sites and raw products need to be processed and then delivered to customers, often using multiple modes of transport in a complex supply chain. In addition to this complexity, another important part of the overall logistics problem is people logistics – How do we move personnel to and from a worksite both safely and efficiently?

Why should I invest in personnel?

Particularly in Australia, where many work sites exist in remote areas, it is not always feasible to relocate employees and their families to a town near the work site. As a result, many workforce personnel are employed on a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) or bus-in bus-out (BIBO) basis, where the employer is responsible for moving personnel to and from the work site.

A 2013 report from Ernst & Young indicated that human capital deficit is one of the top ten risks facing the global Oil & Gas industry, affirming that

as the sector develops technologically . . . companies that can retain and mobilize people will be able to sustain their competitive advantage.

Effective and efficient personnel mobilization is crucial to any significant oil and gas project. Research published in 2012 by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) into the prevalence of FIFO in Australia predicts that percentage of Australian mining sector jobs filled by FIFO roles will only increase over the coming years.

Improper workforce utilisation increases susceptibility to many internal and external issues, such as: a high employee turnover, high ongoing operational costs to the business, and under- or over-allocation of staff to specific jobs.

Analytics to cut through complexity

People logistics for a large project requires the coordination of travel and accommodation for hundreds, sometimes thousands of people in various remote locations. As with traditional logistics, several crucial decisions have to be made including BIBO vs FIFO, choice of airports or bus routes and staff roster schedules. In addition to this complexity, working with personnel often requires much greater scrutiny – we don’t always require a minimal-cost solution – we need to balance cost, project risk, employee safety and employee satisfaction.

Trying to weigh up all these variables and make decisions in an intelligent way for all of the personnel involved in a project very quickly becomes complex. A 2014 interview by Mining Australia notes that “for many companies [workforce management] is man­ual, or only semi-automated, which increases the risk of error or processing in­efficiencies, increasing costs”. Managing a large workforce is difficult, and only with the right technology can companies provide efficient and effective workforce management.

Through analytics companies can cut through the complexity involved in workforce management. By considering specific variables and how they affect outcomes companies can make better decisions.

Analytics empowers organisations through quantitative justification so that decision makers can be certain that employees will be spending less time in transit, and working on the right jobs at the right times, with the right people.

Biarri and People Logistics

Biarri delivers consulting and SaaS solutions to provide the right technology to enable effective workforce management.

Biarri has a proven track record, delivering people logistics and FIFO solutions for Oil & Gas and Mining companies in Australia including Santos, BMA, and Arrow Energy.

To learn more about how Biarri can help your organisation benefit from analytics and optimisation for people logistics get in touch today!

Biarri and Savanna Energy

A modern approach to oil and gas logistical operations

Time is money in the drilling business. With the cost of drilling conventional and unconventional gas wells rising into the millions of dollars, reducing downtime and expediting setup time are critical to all stakeholders.

Biarri recently worked with the Australian division of Savanna Energy – a subsidiary of the Savanna Group, a premiere North American energy services provider headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Savanna Energy came in contact with Biarri through a referral from an existing client who recognised that Biarri offered a range of capabilities that could help solve Savanna’s unique supply chain and logistics problem.

Biarri built a cloud based Transport Request Tool that facilitates the movement of equipment and resources required by oil and gas well sites.The tool deals with Savanna’s challenge of maintaining satisfaction with the various Coal Seam Gas (CSG) proponents by effectively, and efficiently managing their communication.

Biarri and Savanna Energy - Audit Log

Tzara Ayton, Biarri Project Manager and Core Developer explained,

“The initial goal of the project was to develop a tool that would take Savanna’s existing fleet requirements and find the best way to automate the allocation process. However, it was quickly discovered that Savanna required a modern, operational tool that would make their day to day operations easier, and act as a platform to collect clean data so that Biarri could build an optimisation solution. As it turns out, Biarri was suited for this problem as we have strong capabilities in not only smart strategic systems, but intuitive and powerful operational tools.”

Stephen Baily, Transport Manager at Savanna Energy said,

“Biarri built an efficient system for the computerized booking of transport movements for Savanna Energy. The software delivered to us is an extremely workable, efficient and user-friendly product.

The new approach has allowed us to reduce man hours and gives us a quicker turn around on job tasks. It also allows us to track our vehicles and kilometres travelled at the click of a mouse.”

 

“We wanted to ensure that the implementation of a new Transport Request Tool added greater visibility, improved coordination between field services and supply, enhanced responsiveness and added rigour to standard operating procedures”

said Ash Guy, Design Lead and Core Developer.

Savanna had a clear focus on ensuring the Transport Request Tool was customised to their particular requirements and met stringent use criteria. It was important that any changes to systems or processes were accepted by Savanna staff. As result, all of the new interfaces were collaboratively designed to be consistent with formats that Savanna Planners were already familiar with.

Savanna’s old excel spreadsheets were replaced by an interactive gantt chart which displays truck assignments, and their designated driver. This process happens in real time. The visibility has been enhanced allowing the Senior Pusher to see across his entire fleet, identify what has been assigned and what hasn’t. It also feeds back validation information helping to prevent assignment of the same driver to two vehicles at the same time, overlapping jobs on the same vehicle and vehicle assignments going outside of the requested time bounds.

The new Transport Request Tool allows Savanna to track any changes made to each individual transport request. This is particularly relevant when last minute changes require hiring extra trucks to satisfy urgent demand. The improved level of granularity delivered within the tool means that Savanna can identify where last minute changes were made and charge an appropriate service premium.

Management also benefit from the improved visibility. It gives them a ‘birds-eye-view’ of what is going on everywhere within the supply chain. Risk is also better managed through an audit log which allows traceability across any changes that have been made with each request. This was a significant enhancement for Savanna who can now better track what was ordered when and determine the specific costs arising from last minute changes to the plan.

Biarri and Savanna Energy

Tom Forbes Chief Executive Officer at Biarri stated,

“Having a tool that facilitates accurate and consistent communication across all key logistical stakeholders is key in any business situation. Not only does the tool provide direct benefits to Savanna but it also produces clean, reliable data, so that we can find even more cost and efficiency savings within their business processes through value added optimisation.”

Savanna Energy now has access to files via the cloud ensuring far greater communication. The Transport Request Tool forms the core of the scheduling process and is a central resource across the organisation catering for all key stakeholders.

Stephen Baily said,

“My colleague and I worked closely with the Biarri team and they were able to tailor the tool to meet our specific requirements. They also allowed us to easily troubleshoot any obstacles that were presented. In all, a very professional and well-engineered product.”

If you wanted to find out more about how Biarri can help across your oil and gas operations, or how we can deliver savings across your entire oil and gas project, get in touch today! 

 

Oil and Gas Solutions

Intelligent Energy Logistics on the World Stage

At the end of last year Ash Nelson (Biarri Co-Founder) and Tzara Ayton (Biarri, Senior Optimisaiton Consultant), two of Biarri’s Oil and Gas specialists, attended the DHL Global Energy Conference at the Petroleum Club in Houston. The theme was Intelligent Energy Logistics.

Together with Jonathon Shortis (DHL VP Energy – EMEA), Ash was invited to present on Data Management across End to End Supply Chains and participate in the associated panel discussion.

Ash’s presentation focused on the benefits improved data management and analysis can play in Energy Supply Chain design and operation. This was an opportunity to showcase the proven solutions Biarri has provided in the On-Shore Coal Seam Gas industry in Queensland over the past 5 years and also demonstrate the important impact analytics is having in modern oil and gas operations.

The discussion included:

  • Pre FEED/FEED analysis and design to support investment decisions and supply chain design including demand definition, optimised facility sizing and location, transport planning and people logistics requirements
  • Operational Management using tactical data management to deliver better day to day decision making. An example of this is the Biarri Capital Project Freight Portal which is used to allocate transport and sequence, track, co-ordinate and record the movement of Free Issue Material to infield construction programs.

IT’S GREAT TO SEE THAT OIL AND GAS COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD ARE INNOVATING THROUGH THE POWER OF MATHEMATICS AND INTELLIGENT ENERGY DESIGN.

BEING ABLE TO JUSTIFY YOUR DECISIONS THROUGH SMART SYSTEMS AND QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS IS CRITICAL IN MODERN OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS.

Ash Nelson, Biarri Co Founder.

If you would like to find out more information on how Biarri can improve the efficiency of your Oil and Gas operation, Get in touch;

or Contact Sam Rowse, Chief Sales Officer:
Mobile:0458 004 220
Email: sam.rowse@biarri.com

Driving efficiency in the Oil and Gas industry

Driving efficiency in the Oil and Gas industry

The oil and gas industry has been under severe pressure since late 2014 when oil prices dropped significantly. The highly volatile international market and oversupply of oil has meant companies have had to reduce costs in one way shape or form.

Bill Kroger, co-chair of law firm Baker Botts told Rigzone in an interview that, “Energy companies may need to lower their prices in response to a drop in demand …. For this reason, we may see CAPEX [capital expenditures] begin to decline until there is some stability with oil prices,”

This has been evident in Australia where many oil and gas companies have reduced capital spending significantly. However, with a lot of oil and gas projects shifting towards the operational phase, how can we make processes and decisions more efficient and effective?

Read more

Health Analytics

Analytics, just what the doctor ordered

Can Analytics and Optimisation be ‘Just what the Doctor ordered’ for struggling Australian Hospitals and Health Services?

In Australia consumers have more access to information than ever before and are demanding increasing accountability from their doctors, nurses health plans and, better health care quality. The Hospital and Health Services (HHS) industry despite struggling under the weight of an ageing population, a shortage in doctors and nurses, increased regulation, accountability, governance and budgetary oversight, are continually required to provide more with less.

The healthcare industry requires smarter, more informed decisions to enable improved efficiency, better service delivery and enhanced patient outcomes.

Research in 2012 by IBM into the Healthcare Industry in the US confirmed mounting evidence of entrenched inefficiencies and sub-optimal clinical outcomes. The report highlighted how building an analytics focus can help these Health organisations harness “big data” to create actionable insights, set their future vision, improve outcomes and reduce time to value.

The authors note that the abundance of data that bombards healthcare professionals both facilitates and complicates the ability of healthcare providers to achieve and influence desirable outcomes. It appears clear that entrenched systemic inefficiencies in the health systems are at least in part attributed to the ineffective gathering, sharing and use of information

The glut of information makes it hard to differentiate data which can be used to generate powerful insights, from clutter. In fact, the dilemma presented by too much data and too little insight – is cited in the research as an increasingly daunting obstacle standing in the way of better service delivery and improved patient outcomes.

The daunting challenges facing the healthcare industry today make for compelling arguments to expand the role of analytics

The study confirmed that analytics can provide the mechanism to sort through this mountain of complexity and data, and help healthcare organizations deliver on efficiency improvements and better patient outcomes. In Australia the introduction of Activity Based Funding (ABF) has promoted the use of data as the essential input informing critical decisions by Managers, Administrators and Clinicians. Not surprisingly HHS are increasingly looking to move from data processing to data analysis and applying insights to financial outcomes. Australian HHS are just starting to recognise how the power of mathematics through analytics and optimisation can be utilised to consume, unlock and apply new insights from information.

Analytics can provide the mechanism to sort through this mountain of complexity and data

Despite the availability of new methods of analytics that can be used to drive clinical and operational improvements, Australian HHS continue to function with a traditional baseline of transaction monitoring using basic reporting tools, spreadsheets and application reporting. As in the US Health system Australian HHS must face-up to the challenge to move from the traditional model to one that incorporates predictive analytics and enables organizations to “see the future,” and create more personalised healthcare and predict patient behavior.

Advanced analytics and optimisation approaches can take full advantage of the ‘Data deluge’ to generate powerful insights which deliver better outcomes

Today, most HHS use some form of descriptive analytics. They are typically using reporting tools and applications descriptively to understand what has happened in the past and to classify and categorize historical data. However, as their analytics expectations mature, HHS are looking more toward predictive analytics techniques, which take an understanding of the past to predict future activities and model scenarios using simulation and forecasting. The report notes that Enterprise analytics, evidence-based medicine and clinical outcome analytics can all be supported by these more advanced capabilities. For example, analytics can enable the compilation of information about trends, patterns, deviations, anomalies and relationships and reveal key insights.Biarri Optimisation Software Banner

Some Hospital and Health Services are taking a proactive approach

Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) is one example of an Australian HHS organisation leading the way by embracing predictive analytics to improve demand for better service delivery and enhanced patient outcomes. Most recently Biarri Optimisation worked with GCUH to enhance their understanding of expected future demand and to develop insight into opportunities to better allocate resources. Through the application of customised predictive analytics and optimisation GCUH improved their knowledge of forecasted demands for the next Financial Year, allowing improved capacity planning requirements for physical resources and staffing resources equating to better workforce optimisation.

Biarri and GCUH demonstrated the value of quantitative analysis in forecasting patient admissions and QWAUs and used this to provide more efficient capacity and resource planning.

For most organisations today, data visualisation, historic trend analysis and forecasting, and standardized reporting are the analytics elements that provide the most value. However, that is likely to change. The research showed that while data visualisation will always be a critical element, increased emphasis will be placed on simulations and scenario development and analytics that are applied within various business processes.

Biarri Commercial Mathematics

To learn more about how Biarri can help your HHS organisation benefit from advanced analytics and optimisation go to www.biarri.com or contact

Sam Rowse: Email: sam.rowse@biarri.com, Mobile: +61 458 004 220

Biarri diagnosing Hospital and Health Services

A major part to the national health reform act 2011, was the implementation of national activity based funding (ABF) for Australian Public Hospitals. The model provides incentives to hospitals showing initiative and leadership in transparency in the delivery and funding of Hospital and Health Services across Australia.

The problem that many hospitals are now facing is that they use a limited form of descriptive analytics. Hospitals are typically using tools that aggregate and classify historical data however lack the rigor and skillset to predict future demand, trends or patterns.

The Gold Coast University Hospital approached Biarri to assist in forecasting demand for the next financial year. Being under external and internal pressure with new government rules and regulation around ABF, it was imperative that they could properly determine future demand and act on any issues or opportunities.

To optimise their capacity planning efforts, Biarri has developed a tool that allows GCUH understand their data through the application of customised predictive analytics and optimisation through our cloud based platform – Biarri Workbench.

If you feel as though Biarri could help you, feel free to get in touch

Tom Forbes, Chief Executive officer
E: tom.forbes@biarri.com PH: 0408 703 436
Sam Rowse, Chief Sales Officer
E: sam.rowse@biarri.com ph: 0458 004 220

Coal Train Crew Scheduling

An optimised approach to Coal Train Crew Scheduling

Rail is frequently used for moving coal between mines and ports, and interactions between train and crewing requirements can create highly complex problems.

Recently Matt Herbert, an optimisation consultant at Biarri Commercial Mathematics was invited to present an approach to Coal Train Crew Scheduling at the Queensland University of Technology, hosted by ASOR.

Matt provided insights into the problems many mining and rail companies face when scheduling their crews. His formulation considered many aspects of the real world problem, including restricting the number of crew changes on each service, and variable start times for crews.

This approach is able to produce weekly crew assignments with high utilisation in run times of around an hour, down from existing manual methods requiring a day or more.

Have a look at Matt’s Presentation

Dynamic scheduling in the face of uncertainty

Many businesses operate in uncertain environments, at the mercy of breakdowns, human error, traffic or the weather. The traditional approach is to build slack into a schedule, to survive some expected level of uncertainty, and then to hope this schedule can be executed in spite of whatever unforeseen events actually occur. In instances where the schedule cannot be implemented as expected, operational decisions are made to try to meet the business goals as much as possible. Under complexity and time pressure, decision makers must often resort to making short term, locally focused decisions without the time or tools to consider implications downstream.

In this blog post, optimisation consultant Dave Scerri describes how recent algorithmic advances and smart tools have enabled the best of both worlds: an operational scheduling approach that responds to changing circumstances while focusing on system wide efficiency.

Dealing with operational uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges facing many businesses today. The most well thought out plans and schedules rarely survive contact with the real world, and the consequences are often a loss of productivity and overall efficiency. Businesses should be endeavouring to make the best decision at any point in time given the current circumstances and the best information available to them. Operational scheduling, when done right, can allow businesses to make quality, timely decisions, maximising their productivity in the face of uncertainty.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry

– Robert Burns