SA Mines and Energy Journal : February - March 2013
With many organisations reviewing their business plans due to the Olympic Dam announcement and falling commodity prices, smart companies will use this opportunity to assess current operations and identify ways to maximise profits. Dr David Pearce, Leader of SA Operations and Director of Momentum Partners, has assisted Australian and multi-national firms improve their business operations. "Improving business efficiency can sometimes be as effective as winning new work in terms of increasing company profits, especially during periods of low demand, " he said. "When times are good and the work is rolling in, it is easy for companies to think all is well and adopt the mentality of 'don't change something that isn't broken'. "However, business improvement is an activity that should be a continuous process, as it helps maximise profits during the good times and minimises impact on the organisation when times turn tough. " Momentum Partners has worked extensively in the mining, manufacturing, utilities and government sectors and Dr Pearce believes getting an outsider's perspective on a company's processes and operations can be beneficial. "Companies can be trapped by tradition, comfort zones or simply that their operations have fallen behind the industry standards. "The ideal time to make refinements is when things are going well. If companies wait for the bad times before reviewing their operations and implementing changes, then they are starting well behind the eight ball. " This approach can be highly lucrative in terms of outcomes, best demonstrated by a recent business improvement project undertaken by Momentum Partners with OZ Minerals. OZ Minerals commenced a business improvement process in July 2010 at the Prominent Hill Mine. The mine was not facing a cash crisis nor was it a mature operation in need of a 'shake-up'. The plant had just been successfully commissioned and OZ Minerals wanted to maintain the start-up culture and improvement trajectory. The business also wanted to develop capability to deal with the inevitable cyclical downturn that comes with the mining and resources sector. A program approach was designed and agreed by the management team and tailored to suit OZ Minerals' culture, capabilities, priorities and workload. Primarily focused on implementation of initiatives and delivery of financial value, the plan was committed to engaging the management team and workforce to create sustainability and ownership. The business improvement program was designed around six key steps including baseline and target setting; idea generation and harvesting; training and coaching; prioritisation; implementation; and sustaining principles. Throughout the program the team focused strongly on innovation by trying new things, testing the effectiveness of different approaches and incorporating the results to flexibly amend plans. Key outcomes saw raised levels of copper recovery at a reduced cost due to trials with alternative reagents; reduced downtime and failures due to modifications to the SAG Mill shell lifter bolts and liners; increased utilisation of the truck fleet due to improvements to haul road maintenance and construction; and reduced downtime at crew change due to modification of operator processes. "To date over 40 ideas or projects have been completed, delivering more than $65m of sustainable EBITDA improvements, with additional improvements identified for future implementation, "Dr Pearce outlined. "OZ Minerals now has an operation with the processes and structures in place to ensure business improvement continues within the organisation. " 39 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2013 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL BUSINESS Reassess to achieve success Momentum Partners designed a program to ensure OZ Mineral's workplace culture at Prominent Hill was sustained.
December 2012 - January 2013
April - May 2013