Siecap’s ‘Productivity’ Plan To Boost Embattled Mining Industry

Australia’s ailing $128 billion resources sector can be revived via improved productivity, says project management and advisory firm Siecap.

Siecap’s current clients in the infrastructure and retail sectors include: Transport for New South Wales, AGL Energy, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Super Retail Group, Fletcher Insulation, Super Amart, Staples and Caltex Australia.

The firm is now turning its gaze to the resources sector, where increased employee productivity and efficiency is crucial in light of the recent mining downturn, says Siecap advisory board member, former BHP Billiton and Hancock Prospecting senior executive Tim Crossley.

“If you think about how a law or an accountancy firm works, they require their staff to be able to demonstrate billable hours as a percentage of total hours, so it’s really applying that sort of hard-nosed commerciality to enterprises like mine sites and heads offices in the resources sector, which are under significant commodity pricing pressure and revenue and profit squeeze,” Mr Crossley says.

“Siecap can help mining companies ensure their employees are there adding value to their business by eliminating waste and doing value-adding activities.

“Where we come in, is to set base-lines for improvement by undertaking time-in-motion studies. This involves us going around at an operating site and identifying what people are doing and how they are utilising their paid hours. .

“We would then provide extensive information and data to executive management to help them work on a strategy to eliminate waste and further enhance their productivity.”

Mr Crossley concedes this level of scrutiny does cause unease among some employees, but the vast majority of people understand company efficiency is in all their best interests.

“If their organisation is successful, that success flows back through to them. And any sort of business improvement will aid the industry at this current time,” he says.

“While some organisations have already done some work over the last two-to-three years as we’ve seen declining commodity prices – there has generally been good focus on equipment utilisation and head count – I would suggest there’s always room for improvement with worker productivity through focusing on tool time, which is where we come in.”

Mr Crossley says typical causes of poor productivity include: inadequate supervision; ineffective planning; cumbersome safety/quality sign-off; inaccurate inventory control; wrong or inappropriate tooling for the job, below-par parts management; wrong parts; substandard work instructions and unsatisfactory standardisation of components; just to name a few.

“Siecap’s consultants’ vast, collective experience has shown us tool time in the maintenance and capital spend areas can be very low and in some cases lower than 50 per cent – this is a huge unnoticed inefficiency, Mr Crossley says.

“When you look at why a person is starting their shift, but not actually working for two-to-three hours, you have to look at these poor admin, planning and organisational inefficiencies which all cause time delays and a great reduction in productivity.”

Mr Crossley is joined on Siecap’s advisory board by another top executive with a strong mining background: former New Hope Group MD Rob Neale, who has just picked up the annual Queensland Resources Council Medal. Both senior businessmen are highly experienced at running very cost-focused organisations.

Siecap is a thriving, growing business which is focusing on project development, project delivery, supply chain and logistics, cost and performance optimisation and project management. For more information, visit www.siecap.dev.cc.au.