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|Investments in new technology are often intended to improve the production or cost performance of existing operations. The economics used to justify these projects can be flawed, however, if they do not adequately consider the potential benefits of the alternative: the fully optimized use of the facility's present equipment and personnel. While new technology can be effective, dramatic improvements in production performance can also be achieved through the rigorous application of standard industrial engineering and operations management practices. An intermediate approach may also be effective: many basic improvements in the mine or plant necessary to support new technology will be equally effective when implemented for the facility's present operators. Firms that optimize their present operations are able to save the capital and avoid the risk associated with new technology. These firms will also be able to capitalize more quickly on new technology when it is implemented.|