Article by: Simone Liedtke – www.miningweekly.com
There is a major need in Southern Africa, and around the world, for more effective and efficient supervisors, says business management consultancy OIM Consulting, which is focused on making supervisors more capable and more competent.
OIM Consulting MD Arjen de Bruin discusses the need for efficient supervisors in more detail at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba, currently being held in Cape Town. Video: Creamer Media’s Nicholas Booyd. Editing: Creamer Media’s Shadwyn Dickinson.
MD Arjen de Bruin says the supervisor is “the person that makes everything happen”, and that, at a baseline, only about 19% of supervisors have the required competencies for their job, and that 78% of them have an “unstructured approach” to their work.
“With supervisors being such a critical component in meeting daily targets, our whole move is to show supervisors that if they plan their day better, and if they had a more effective team meeting, used visual and shift management books correctly, they would then be able to manage their teams much more effectively,” he explains.
The company has found that planning and organizing are among the least developed competencies of supervisors, alongside the ability to lead and develop their teams, and the inability to analyse and problem-solve.
“We therefore coach the supervisors on-site, and show them how to do their work in a more effective and organized way for a more consistent benefit,” De Bruin explains.
This on-the-floor coaching framework is called “Coaching to Performance”, and essentially looks at implementing a few development aspects and measuring them.
“We implement the framework, and then we measure to see if success happens, because without measurement, you don’t know if things have improved,” De Bruin comments.
At first, OIM Consulting baselines performance such as the competency of the individual through a development needs assessment, as well as role assessment and team targets.
“We look at the key performance indicators to get a picture of the individual’s targets. Once the baselining has been completed, we know how competent the individual is, how they execute tasks and what their targets are and whether these are achieved consistently.”
OIM also provides focused training of between three and five days through either a classroom or line-as-coach training. For classroom, the bulk of the training centres on management and safety training.
The line-as-coach training is often directed at direct managers of supervisors to continue the operational coaching conducted by OIM, which includes training them on how to be successful coaches, what to look for and how to measure individuals.
Following the coaching, OIM compiles an individual coaching plan and conducts on-the-floor coaching for 16 weeks.
During this coaching framework, the consultancy measures if the operational key performance indicators, role execution and the effectiveness of operational tools improve.
Benefits at a site level are also measured through a Benefits Realisation Model, following which a post-assessment on competencies takes place at the end of the training period.
The consultancy’s biggest success story is its involvement in Gold Fields’ South Deep mine, where it managed to assist in turning the mine around and make it more effective.
Additionally, with the trend towards modernisation and automation, De Bruin says OIM can link this to its on-the-floor coaching framework, as automation “still needs human intervention”, which means successful supervisory capabilities will still be required to ensure effective work.
“Big data”, however, remains one of the company’s biggest challenges, as the amount of data and data analysis capabilities are not on equal footing.
“Our whole view here is if you can automate you can digitise. But if you don’t take the people with you, you will find there is resistance and people will still continue to work the same way they are used to, even though they have automated information,” De Bruin concludes.