DICE, a 4 Step Process to get Maximum CSD Production

There is a simple system to always get the maximum production for your CSD. On any project and any soil.

The DICE system. This is a 4-step process that I developed. You can read all about in my book Cutting Edge: How to systematically increase CSD production. You can buy the book on Amazon here. Or look here if you want to find out more.

The 4 steps of the DICE system are the topics of today’s Knowledge Update.

Step 1: Determine

The first step in the DICE process is determining the limiting process. The dredging process of a CSD can be split into four sub-processes:

  • Gathering
  • Cutting
  • Suction
  • Discharge

You need to determine which of these four sub-processes is limiting the production of the CSD. Once you have done that you also need to determine why that sub-process is limiting. The clearer you determine the reason why, the easier it is to find a solution. Which is the next thing to do, determine a solution that you expect would increase the production of that sub-process and thus of the CSD.

Step 2: Implement

The next step in the DICE process is the implementation of the best solution of Step 1. I say best, because you need to implement only one change to the dredging process at a time. The reason is that if you do multiple changes at a time you can’t determine which change actually caused the production change. In fact, one of the changes might even lower the production. But you will never know if you don’t try that solution by itself.

So always implement one solution at a time. Once the implementation is done it is time for the next step.

Step 3: Calculate

Calculate the effect of the solution you implemented. You do this by looking at the production figures before and after the solution. Ideally you would compare against the unit rate, but might be difficult to establish for shorter time periods.

Calculating the production can be done in various manners. Using the onboard sensors, using hand-soundings or using survey-data.

The survey is the most accurate, but it takes time to get the results. A combination of onboard sensors and hand-soundings is usually best. Onboard sensors for quick feedback. And the hand-soundings for the increased accuracy.

Once you have calculated the result of the implemented solution you know whether to keep the change or revert back to how things were.

Step 4: Enforce

Once you know the implemented solution indeed increases the production it is required that you enforce that solution.

You won’t be onboard all the time, so the (other) operators need to be aware of the changes that have been made. Otherwise the production increase will not be maintained.

Ideally the crew doesn’t only know what needs to be changed, but also why. You achieve this by providing a bit of training and coaching while you are onboard.

Subsequently the results must also be recorded for future use, for example for future production estimates. This requires that you write a report where all the implement solutions and their results are described.


These are the four steps of the system, however it is an iterative system. This means the DICE system needs to be applied again and again and again, what I call a cycle.

Each cycle you will increase the production a bit or find out more about the dredging process that will show the way to higher productions.


If you like the DICE system and want to know more about it, buy my book: Cutting Edge: How to systematically increase CSD production.
In it the DICE system will be covered in much more detail and you will learn about how to identify the limiting process, several solutions to common production limitations and much more.
The price is only USD 49,95 and it will teach you ways to increase the production of any CSD on any project which you can use for the rest of your career.
Click here to buy the book.


To your succes,
Timon Vinke

4 thoughts on “DICE, a 4 Step Process to get Maximum CSD Production

  1. Great post, Thanks Timon!

    What would be your sub-processes for a TSHD? Do you think Dredge Time, Travel Time, and Discharge Time would be sufficient?

    1. Hi Josh, Thanks.

      For a TSHD we don’t really talk about sub-processes, but about a cycle. So the activities you describe are part of that cycle.

      Each trip or cycle consists of:
      – Sailing Empty
      – Loading (Dredging typically)
      – Sailing Full
      – Unloading (Dumping, Shore Discharging or Rainbowing)
      Some other activities might be included, depending on the project.

      When you want to optimize the process you need to focus on either the Loading or the Unloading. That part of the cycle can be optimized the easiest.

      Are you looking to optimize the production of one of your TSHDs?

      1. Hi Timon, thanks for your prompt response.

        Yes, we are looking at ways to increase production of our vessel. We think the main issue with dredge times at the moment is due to the material available in the borrow area.

        Dredging times in the recent months have almost doubled to what they were 3 months ago and we are still dredging in the same borrow area, even though material PSD results are fairly similar.

        In your experience can a higher silt/rock/shell content drastically extend the dredge times by this much? And what would your main suggestions be for optimising loading and unloading times?

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