Transition From Haulage Technicians to Autonomous Controllers at Vale

Published: March 03,2021


Role and Skill Requirements

•The role being transitioned was the Haulage Technician who would no longer be part of the new team organizational structure due to the introduction of the autonomous haulage system. The new role wasAutonomous Controller, operating the system from the command centre.

Key Stakeholders
They key stakeholders were the Operations Manager and Supervisor. With the implementation of an autonomous haulage system, the Autonomous Controller position was upskilled from a previous role of Haulage Technician. While learned skills from the previous Haulage Technician position were transferrable and needed for the new role, a variety of
completely new skills also had to be acquired and learned.

Change Management
First, several one-on-one interviews were completed to determine who was able and willing to be part of the upskilling and role changes. Following this, a change management consultant team helped to design and roll-out the new program. Feedback from Vale’s personnel was provided throughout the process, and the final model is now in place and being applied to new projects.

Education and Training
For training, traditional methods were primarily used, but simulators were used to train the new elements of the role. Best results were found by using a combination of one-to-one theory followed by simulators, and—most importantly—on-site training.

Most of the trainers for the new role were from the system supplier but included lots of input from Vale personnel throughout the process allowed us to create a very particular role adapted to our conditions and operational culture.

Vale has a very well-established internal educational platform which includes a lot of lectures, courses, and procedures trainings that were used during this transition.

At this time, we do not use an external education system. A plan for next year is to involve the community schools and colleges—especially those near operational sites—with the technology topics. We are planning the format of this approach.

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