ISSUE No. 56 | www.bus-ex.com
Roads less travelled It is risky and sometimes scary to get involved in post-conflict economies
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6 6 leadership
The mistakes that leaders make during a recession
The strategies business leaders adopt during recessionary times.
Elevating Loyalty, Productivity and Innovation in your Workforce Treat your organization’s most valuable resource with care, says former Businessman of the Year.
16 ACCL International Roads less travelled
It is risky and sometimes scary to get involved in post-conflict economies and countries like Mongolia that are modernizing apace: the rewards make it worthwhile – and these are by no means just financial rewards.
4 | BE Weekly
26 26 Devex
Introducing tomorrow’s smart mine
Devex has rethought mine automation, taking it beyond the traditional fleet management mindset: it has developed the products its clients need and is taking them to the world.
36 Beier Envirotec
The technical textiles of choice
Operations Director, Warren Sachs, discusses the growth of Beier Envirotec and the company’s plans for future development, both in South Africa and further afield.
It’s in the bag
Managing director Jose Ignacio Arrate talks about Coresa’s range of plastic packaging solutions, and the company’s opportunities for expansion in South America.
54 NTT Communications Delivering seamless service
NTT Communications (Thailand) President, Tsuyoshi Kawashima, discusses the growing importance of Thailand to the South East Asian region and how the internet and other telecoms services are becoming ever more critical to people’s lives. BE Weekly
The mistakes that leaders make during a recession The strategies business leaders adopt during recessionary times Words by
e have a somewhat complex relationship with leadership in the UK. Whilst by nature we tend to be a largely compliant nation, rarely has public opinion of our constitutional leaders been lower - and criticism louder. Furthermore, resentment of the part played by financial leaders in the economic crisis has been exacerbated by media reports of the pay offs and bonuses handed to banking bosses. But, with the country still feeling the effects of a double dip recession, it is our business leaders who have the most promising opportunity to steer the country out of recession. It’s easy to blame those at the top when things go wrong – sometimes with good reason. Running a business, whether it’s a small family firm or a large multinational, is difficult when the economy is in recession. The temptation is to take the safest route – but this isn’t always conducive to survival or to growth. My experience as a business coach working with executives at a senior level, across a range of industries has shown that leaders, from owners and MDs through to department managers, have to take the ultimate responsibility for their company’s performance. Irrespective of the economic conditions and the industry that they operate in, some companies will fail whilst others thrive and flourish - and
“It’s easy to blame those at the top when things go wrong – sometimes with good reason” 8 |
it is the quality of leadership that makes the difference. Defining a leader Peter Northouse (2007) defines leadership as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal”. Ask almost any person what makes a good leader and they are likely to speak of competencies and attributes such as communication, vision, motivation and charisma. However, in his book Good to Great, Jim Collins asserts that many of the most successful leaders do not start out with a vision of where they want to go - they start out with the right people on board in the organisation. So why does it go wrong for some leaders and what common mistakes have been made during the last 5-6 years of recession? Over management Unfortunately, my experience has shown that during recessionary times, poor leadership often takes the form of excessive management, rather than getting those ‘right’ people that Collins mentions into your organisation and allowing them the freedom to take up leadership responsibilities within their own roles. Ineffective leaders often spend too much time trying to manage and retain the staff they already have, failing to recruit and engage with new connections in key positions that could help them. However, that isn’t to say that management is unimportant. In fact, it’s entirely necessary, forming the pivotal basis of any business and is often the bedrock of good leadership (w it hout which chaos would
inevitably ensue). However, it should not be to the detriment hof effective leadership. Executives and managers are always under pressure to perform – and this is multiplied many times over during difficult economic times. However, despite the pressure to cut costs and get quick results, a good leader should continue to communicate their vision, expectations and timescales, giving people the space to do their job rather than suppressing performance by an over reliance on detail and managing down the organisation. Taking the short term view With this demand for instant results, it is tempting to take the short-term view and neglect the essential strategy of longterm growth, which is more commonly
“Many executives retreat to the safety of their ‘bunker’, metaphorically digging themselves a hole where they sit and wait out the tough stuff ” favoured during times of prosperity. The result is that many executives are panicked into drastic cost cutting measures, looking for ways to increase short-term gains. Whilst this is all very well, it needs to be balanced with protracted concerted and focused planning for the future growth of the business. Ultimately, a strategy which is determined by narrow and short-termist decisions will almost certainly affect businesses adversely over time. To counter this, we encourage companies and their leaders to explore all the possibilities and potential in their business – as rarely have we come across a business that has done so. – to really stretch themselves, their people and their ideas beyond what they see as possible at present. The results of this ‘stretch’ thinking can often be both unexpected and amazing! The bunker mentality Great leadership becomes even more crucial during times of economic hardship, yet many executives retreat to the safety of their ‘bunker’, metaphorically digging themselves a hole where they sit and wait out the tough stuff. Proactive leadership tends to go out of the window. The ‘loud’
ideas of vision, strategic investment and long-term planning is passed over in the cut and thrust of survival, with the ‘quiet’ elements of leadership - getting the right people and making things happen in an often unassuming way also lost in mêlée. The great businesses that we work with focus on survival – but with a defined strategy for the future and postrecessionary times. Again, key to this is recruiting and keeping the right people. Ask yourself, what are you doing to attract new talent? What action are you taking now to ensure engagement so that your best people don’t walk away once the recession lifts and more attractive alternatives present themselves? Looking inwards Coming out of your bunker involves looking at what other great organisations are doing. Whilst it’s important to look inwards, this must be balanced by studying what competitors, industry leaders in your sector and leaders in the wider business community are doing. What can you learn from what they are (or are not) doing? Seek out success stories; study their foundations of strategy and leadership as well as what their people are doing. Insularity can lead to an over reliance on cost reduction exercises to drive business practice instead of vision and investment. In fact, many of the organisations that we work with spend significant amounts of money on teams who look at the negative and reactionary i.e. ways of improving efficiency, costcutting and headcount reductions. Whilst
“Coming out of your bunker involves looking at what other great organisations are doing” this may be a necessary evil brought about by the impact of the recession, at the very least it must be counterbalanced by identifying opportunities for investment in risk focused, margin generating strategies. Summary Challenging times call for nerve, selfbelief and a willingness to take calculated risks. During a recession, leaders need to guard against the natural desire to play it safe and stay true to the vision and qualities that propelled them to the top in the first place. Excessive retrenchment and insularity will almost certainly have a negative (possibly fatal) impact on your business. The most successful leaders trust in their own abilities and those of the people around them, making enrolment, engagement and investment a central part of the goal of long-term growth.
About the author Alan Denton is MD of The Results Centre and regularly coaches newly appointed senior executives from a range of industries. Alan has created leadership and transformational programmes. He coaches and mentors at the highest levels in a variety of business scenarios, including international corporations. www.theresultscentre.com
Elevating loyalty and innovation
Treat your organizationâ€™s with care, says former B Words by
yÂ productivity n in your workforce
s most valuable resourceÂ Businessman of the Year
ry Kunath BE Weekly
hen a successful formula is discovered in the business world, it’s copied and becomes part of standard operating procedure throughout entire industries. The newest SOP trend among leading businesses? – Focusing on employee and family well-being, says Gary Kunath, who was honored nationally as Businessman of the Year and recognized with a dinner hosted by the President of the United States. “Many think that professional wellbeing drives personal well-being, but it’s the exact opposite,” says Kunath, a speaker at top business schools and businesses including Lockheed and Marriott, and author of Life...Don’t Miss It. I Almost Did: How I Learned To Live Life to Its Fullest. “The top companies know focusing on employee well-being is critical and serves as the conduit to increasing innovation, emotional loyalty, natural productivity and overall profitability, but they have exhausted the traditional vehicles inside their companies to do this, so they are focusing on impacting their employees lives ‘outside’ of the company.” Employee well-being is very smart business and everyone wins, he says; it’s the key to elevating associate engagement.
“People love that they are cared for just as much when leaving the building as they are when arriving” 14 |
According to the Aspen Institute, more than 70 percent of employees today would sacrifice promotions and pay increases for family well-being. Yet only 40 percent of employees feel their employers demonstrate that they care about them, says the American Psychology Association. Several major corporations have approached Kunath and asked him to build a program that shows their people how to master life balance and maximize the joy and contentment in their lives, he says. “The results have been tremendous,” he says. “People love that they are cared for just as much when leaving the building as they are when arriving.” Kunath’s newest three hour seminar for businesses centers on employee life balance and well-being; here he offers five things business owners and employees should consider in achieving life balance. Bring humanity back to the workplace There are simple truths about what motivates employees today and what they want and need from their employers. Employee well-being drives profits and is good for business, he points out. Employers need to allow employees to completely disconnect from work in their off hours – for instance, not expecting them to respond to emails or conference calls after hours. He also points out the “Life Balance Dilemmas” people face, including his own; a former workaholic lifestyle nearly ruined his family relationships before he learned how to develop balance.
The “Life … Don’t Miss It” approach According to a Harvard study, we all have the capability to maximize our happiness regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. A large part of how happy you are is determined through intentional activity. There are things you can do to maximize happiness in your life even in the worst of adversities. Giving people a way to elevate their family well-being is critical to top performance on the job. Applying Life-Balance secrets Kunath targets 10 points for Mastering Life Balance. Some of those points are: Money doesn’t make you rich; Express gratitude to others; the power of perspective; relationship refinement (thinning the herd); and Good goes around. “All of these points go to the overall perspective of total life balance and focusing on the areas, and the people, that really matter,” he says. Power of Perspective Why is it that people who have faced death often live the most? Why must we wait for adversity to teach us to get
“A large part of how happy you are is determined through intentional activity” the most out of life? The answer is that you don’t. Kunath emphasizes various perspectives on how you can live life to the fullest every day and what the keys are to maximizing employee and family well-being. The three greatest gifts you can give your family For all the importance and effort involved in mastering a worklife to fund a family’s well-being, the three greatest gifts you have to offer are actually free! They are time, memories and traditions. Time is our greatest resource, and it’s also our most scarce, which makes memories all the more important. They give you a place to go for all of your life. Traditions live on after you’re gone; they’re a legacy you leave for your loved ones.
About the author Gary Kunath is the founder of The Summit Group, whichis ranked among the top sales-training companies in the world by Selling Power magazine. His value-creation approach received the “Innovative Practice of the Year Award” by 3M worldwide. He was named Businessman of the Year and was recognized at a dinner hosted by the president of the United States. He has lectured extensively at prominent business schools, and is currently an adjunct professor at The Citadel’s Sports Marketing graduate program. Kunath is an owner of several professional minor league baseball teams along with his partners, Bill Murray, Jimmy Buffet and Mike Veeck. The group is famous for managing its teams around the “Fun is Good” approach. www.lifedontmissitbook.com
It is risky and sometimes scary to get and countries like Mongolia that ar make it worthwhile â€“ and these are b
written by: John Oâ€™Hanlon 16 | be weekly
t involved in post-conflict economies re modernizing apace: the rewards by no means just financial rewards
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Camp Lonestar, a 500 man facility located in the â€œTora Boraâ€? region of Eastern Afghanistan
n March 1 this year ACCL Internationalâ€™s President, Haji Habibullah Pirzada, opened the companyâ€™s newly built headquarters in Kabul. ACCL is an Afghanistan-based company that makes use of its unique approach to partnership in a variety of post-conflict or underdeveloped regions worldwide to create wealth. It is a sign of the success of this unusual company that it had grown out of the premises it occupied since it was established in 2003. Commercial success in Afghanistan is counter-intuitive to say the least, and itâ€™s no place to take a risk avoidance strategy. But the opportunities for people of vision are huge. Pirzada was accompanied at the opening by his co-founder Sargon Heinrich, a cosmopolitan and multilingual former Bechtel executive whose experience included managing the provision of logistical support to the international initiative to put out the oil well fires Saddam Hussein left behind when he was chased out of Kuwait at the end of the first Gulf war. That experience must have given him a taste for unstable, challenging post-conflict, what he calls austere environments because he headed over to Afghanistan where he met Pirzada, who led a construction and dry-walling company in Kabul. Together they set about the task of building training facilities for the future development of Afghanistan, some of them based on former US military establishments. The pair started with small refurbishment projects, gradually taking on larger assignments till today ACCL is one of the largest employers in Afghanistan, with 3,000
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3,000 People employed in Afghanistan by ACCL International
ACCL provides full life support services including catering
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staff. And this growth has been organic – these are local staff, explains Paul Stukel, a co-director of ACCL International. “That has been a key part of our philosophy in Afghanistan and elsewhere, summed up in our tagline Afghans Building Afghanistan. A lot of the large players bring in their own people, do their thing and then leave. There is no legacy, no local development.” That is a sound business model and it works in the short term. But sustainable business calls for a different approach. “If you are going to do business in Afghanistan, Mongolia, Kenya, UAE you really ought to help the local economy so that when and if you leave something of value remains.” It is this approach that worked so well in Afghanistan, allowing ACCL to be much more effective than arms-length companies. “We know the locals – because we are the locals!” says Stukel. This is the model ACCL International has exported to Mongolia among other places. Just over a year ago ACCL moved into another office, in one of Dubai’s outstanding buildings, the Reef Tower. Dubai, the company’s strategic hub since 2005, is something of a contrast to the operational locations, but it is ideal for the company,
ACCL International construction staff
says Stukel. “Dubai is the Hong Kong of the Middle East! It’s politically stable, tolerant and very business-friendly. Given our global expansion plans, we thought it was ideally suited as our international headquarters from which to support all our international operations from a procurement, logistical and financial perspective.” Apart from Kabul and Dubai, ACCL now has offices in Nairobi Kenya, Entebbe Uganda and Chicago USA – and crucially in Ulaan Baatar Mongolia. Mongolia is every bit as challenging as
Afghanistan. The remoteness of the mine sites, which are a primary market for ACCL, is only matched by the extremes of the weather. But that is an attraction rather than a deterrent for a company that has proven itself in Afghanistan, a country that is a war zone to all intents and purposes. “You are dealing with IEDs, local insurgency, and having to be careful who you hire because they might pose a security risk.” Mongolia is more secure politically but it has some parallels in other areas. In
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Afghanistan ACCL learned to manage people with vastly differing levels of education with basic literacy a problem in some cases. “To produce first world quality in a very difficult environment is something we have shown we can do. That impresses the mining industry because they tend to work in places that are remote and not the kind of place you take the family on vacation!” Once again, ACCL Mongolia is a local company incorporated in Ulaan Bataar. “We are a Mongolian company that plans to stay there, using as much Mongolian labour and resources as humanly possible. Again we work very closely with the officials there, establishing our bona fides on the basis that we are there for the long term. This is not a project to us, it is a commitment to Mongolia!” Mongolia is a treasure trove of resources, he continues, wide open to extraction projects of every kind. A single mine, Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi project, is expected to earn a third of the country’s GDP. But the activity is all exploration so far. Mining has yet to begin on the numerous sites that are under development in the Gobi Desert but when it does the activity will be frenetic. Building a mining camp, and supplying it, is very similar to building a training establishment or an academy, and there is certain to be strong demand for
ACCL’s services from this sector – it is currently developing independent camp operations in support of a number of south Gobi mines. Typically, this might include 300-500 man accommodation blocks, shopping and dining facilities; vehicle and heavy equipment repair facilities as well as entertainment and healthcare options. Meanwhile there is no dearth of projects to keep the local team busy
“We are a Mongolian company that plans to stay there, using as much Mongolian labour and resources as humanly possible” 22 | be weekly
Company President, Habibullah Pirzada reviews the construction plans at Bagram, just outside of Kabul
under its local operations manager Richard Tisdale. ACCL has built and is operating a coal storage facility in the Zamyn Uud free zone on the China/Mongolia border in partnership with Global Mongolian Holdings. Additionally it is in the process of developing a low cost housing feasibility study for the Mongolian government and mining company local resettlement and community development initiatives. Over the years ACCL has developed considerable expertise in the application of Steel Arch Formed Structures (K-Span) to building projects. One of the more cost effective construction methods available, this has proved a low cost way of providing durable commercial buildings in difficult
terrain, and has been approved by the United States military. The systemâ€™s primary application is for warehousing and multiuse structures required to comply with a range of national and local specifications, and the characteristic round arched roofs of these buildings can be seen at ACCL projects throughout Afghanistan. The Mongolia subsidiary is now building ten K-Span warehouses for an agribusiness conglomerate in north-eastern Mongolia. As the Mongolia business grows the country can expect to benefit from some imaginative interventions on the CSR front, though as yet nobody knows what they will be. In Afghanistan the company built orphanages, though its highest-profile project was its
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ACCL helped support Skateistan, a co-ed skateboarding school in Afghanistan
ACCL International support of Skateistan, the worldâ€™s first co-ed skateboarding school which takes Afghan boys and girls of all ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds, teaching them not only skateboarding skills and skateboarding instruction, but also healthy habits, civic responsibility, information technology, the arts, and languages. ACCL built at its own expense the largest indoor skateboarding facility in Asia for the internationally known project. â€œWhen boys and girls spend their one day a week at Skateistan it is sometimes the only square meal they get.â€? Another very imaginative project initiated in Afghanistan by ACCL founder Sargon Heinrich is a clothing design business that turns traditional Afghan materials and dress styles into high fashion, and sells it in New York, Paris or London, creating much needed local employment for women in the process. Thinking this way, Paul Stukel suggests, embeds the business in the minds and hearts of the people and differentiates it from the fly-in-fly-out, high security operations that typify service contracts in dangerous or demanding territory. The company has never had a confrontational situation with any of its employees, he says, largely because it has always consulted the traditional leaders when setting up a project. In a highly diverse tribal country like Afghanistan where not everyone gets along, this is the prudent approach. For more information about ACCL International visit: www.acclinternational.com
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Introducing tomorrowâ€™s smart mine Devex has rethought mine automation, taking it beyond the traditional fleet management mindset: it has developed the products its clients need and is taking them to the world
written by: John Oâ€™Hanlon research by: Jeff Abbott
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Operating SmartMine|UG system - Map
t the moment, though Devex has opened a few offices in other countries where clients have adopted its systems, it is firmly a Brazilian company, with 85 percent of its $35 million annual revenue generated domestically. However there is no better seed-bed for new technology than Brazil, and forward thinking global mining groups are now taking notice of Brazil not just as a country with huge resources to extract but as a developer of smart ways of doing that. Devex was founnded in 1997 by Guilherme Bastos Alvarenga. Dr Alvarenga was employed by Brazil’s biggest integrated steel company Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) with responsibility for introducing new technology at its Casa de Pedra mine. “It was while working at Casa de Pedra, at that time the third largest iron ore mine in Brazil, that I realised the extent of the need for far greater mine automation,” he says. At the same time he was completing his masters degree at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG). At the university he had developed an in-house open pit solution for his employer, and on the award of his masters, with the agreement of CSN and in partnership with two other researchers from UFMG he took the IP into a spin-off company that is now Devex. His first clients were CSN itself, and Minerações Brasileiras Reunidas (MBR), another large iron ore producer now owned by Vale. Over the following nine years he combined academic work with growing the company, joining the Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA) as a professor, and serving as head of its computer science department for the
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System integration above and below ground! A large open pit mine in Minas Gerais counted on the aid of more than 30 systems in its operations, each with specific goals and almost all from different suppliers How to integrate dispatch and the other mining systems into one single platform capable of providing a complete view of operations in the mine? Though the mine in question has excellent automation specialists, the team had no experience in applying these concepts, so it looked to Devex as a partner to add value and knowledge to the mining processes. Extreme, which can monitor and manage all the fixed and mobile assets in the mine, including people, started to run full time at the location on 12 December 2012,
serving a 90–strong auxiliary fleet. The implementation of all the modules chosen will be finalised in August 2013. It is precisely this concept of having integrated production, maintenance, operation, operators and equipment information that Devex’s customer was looking for. In the opinion of Devex CEO Guilherme Bastos Alvarenga, the product reached the mine at just the right moment. “Extreme represents a major step in accessing information, with variables related to mobile and fixed assets all centralised in a single online environment for viewing on the screen of the operating control room or on an iPad,” he explained. “The gains should be much larger than projected.”
Complete control of open pit mine activity, in real time.
We will be with our partner Bailac at EXPONOR 2013. Come and get to know our products. Booth 30B June 17th to 21th - Antofagasta, Chile.
Integrate all mining system operations in one single platform. With Extreme, you can monitor and manage all mining systems, equipment - whether fixed or mobile, auxiliary or production, mining faces, and even people and their activities. Extreme, complete automation of the mining process.
Central Room project
three years to 2008. However Devex has standalone, ring fenced solutions based on been on a growth track since 2002 when it modules within existing ERP platforms: abandoned its work as an IBM reseller and “Right from the outset we approached the focused 100 percent on developing its own market in a more flexible and integrated way, products, notably SmartMine, its solution and that appealed to the market. During the for mine operation control and optimisation last decade everybody was looking for a fleet in matters such as quality control, freight- management system that would integrate use optimisation, maintenance control and with their legacy systems. That was our telemetry. The many companies that have USP at that time and doing that gave us a very deep knowledge and SmartMine include Vale, expertise in understanding CSN, Kinross, Mineração the realities of mining in Rio do Norte, V&M and AngloGold Ashanti. remote environments.” There have been several However today the market has entered a different reasons for Devex’s success phase, he says. “You must since 2002, Alvarenga Mines in Brazil using understand that in mine sites explains. The mines had Devex solutions they have systems that control become used to adopting
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processes such as flotation circuits, crushers, and the like. But these are linked to many very complex process in the pit, where we find high value capital assets like excavators, trucks, dozers, drillers, blasting equipment, and so on - and there is no automation system for this part of the pit. Fleet management is not the final solution!” Devex accordingly developed Extreme, which he describes as a more complete process solution where fleet management is just one building block among many. Extreme is a complete solution for mine automation that monitors and manages all the systems and equipment, fixed or mobile, auxiliary or core production, and even the activities of people. With Extreme, he says, it is at last possible to plan any type of activity in the mine, monitor it on a single system and follow it to its conclusion in a realistic 3D environment. “Extreme approaches the mine by trying to understand the whole process and control each task from start to finish. We really understand these processes: this is our approach to the market and where we score over the competition.” You can either migrate to Extreme across the board or bolt it on to the legacy system. Its open and extensible architecture represents a completely new approach to mine automation,
he confides – and it has a great future. Devex also has a mine process automation solution developed for underground mine, SmartMine|UG). SmartMine|UG, already installed in two underground mines and Extreme, installed in one open pit mine, are the most exciting things to have happened in mining for many years – this level of automation cuts costs, improves safety, makes the whole operation faster and more efficient
“It was while working at Casa de Pedra that I realised the extent of the need for far greater mine automation” 32 | be weekly
SmartMine|UG system screen
and takes the guesswork out of mineral production. “I really feel we have brought into the 21st century by enabling these systems to work on iPads, tablet devices and iPhones if needed. There is no known form of technology from any other provider who can take it to this level, and few of our competitors have our ‘collaborative approach’. For us that is one of the many keys to helping our clients.” The HSE agenda is something companies are belatedly waking up to, and employee protection is an area that could be improved on in many mining jurisdictions. To keep people safe you need to know where they are. The lateral thinking that produced SmartMine and Extreme led Devex to question the effectiveness of current RFIDbased systems. “RFID signals do not work
reliably in underground mines,” Dr Alvarenga explains, “partly because of their low power output, partly because of competition from other equipment. We developed SafetYou which is a wireless system based on a small device on the operator’s belt and which is very reliable in tracking people and mapping their location individually or in groups At last you can be certain exactly where people are in the mine, in real time.” Among the other highly effective products Devex has developed for underground mines is eControl to manage the electric equipment in equipment such as fans, water pumps and substations. SmartMine and its family of satellite products meanwhile cater for those clients who are not ready to go for fully blown automation.
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The Exacta family is a high precision element within SmartMine that is installed on the onboard computer of individual key equipment like dozers and loaders and the like giving the operator total control. When any action does not go according to plan, alarms go off and the operator instantly receives all the information needed to fix the error. The company has grown in a fairly complex way, organically, by acquisition and by entering
strategic partnerships. Early in 2011 it bought MineInside, a software development and data integration company as well as SmartCargo, a program that optimises equipment utilisation. In 2010 Devex became the exclusive supplier in Brazil of SafeMine, a traffic management and specifically a collision avoidance system proved in the industry since 2003. Having cracked the Brazilian market, and to a large having expanded in South America
â€œExtreme approaches the mine by trying to understand the whole process and control each task from start to finishâ€?
The Extreme system allows users to monitor all workplaces in a unique screen
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Extreme system screen
with considerable success in Chile, Devex is now ready to take on the world. It recently announced a strategic partnership with CAE Mining under which CAE will distribute Devex products in Canada, Russia, and a group of CIS countries including Kazakhstan. “Devex does not plan to do absolutely everything but Extreme is going to be the platform because it is an open architecture system that can work independently or integrate with third party products. We are here to sell our services but at the same time we want to bring in OEMs and large automation companies as collaborators in this system.” The company opened an office in Brisbane in 2011following Vale’s decision to develop a massive nickel complex in New Caledonia, is currently setting up a new office in Mexico.
Guilherme Alvarenga is as flexible in his approach to geographical expansion as to software development, and will do whatever it takes, opening up offices and hiring local experts, or going into partnership with like minded partners as seems most appropriate. His aspirations are realistic though they are nothing if not broad. “I don’t think our new approach leaves room for many competitors. We think Devex has a very big opportunity ahead. Today I have 85 percent of my revenue in Brazil – as we expand I am confident we’ll grow 20 times bigger than we are today.” For more information about Devex visit: www.smartmine.com.br
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The technical textiles of choice Operations Director, Warren Sachs, discusses the growth of Beier Envirotec and the companyâ€™s plans for future development, both in South Africa and further afield
written by: Will Daynes research by: Paul Bradley be weekly | 37
t was in 1929 that O. T. H. Beier, a young everything we do here is related to engineered pioneer living in Germany, made a life- textiles and solutions in some form,” explains changing decision, going against the Operations Director, Warren Sachs. “What wishes of his family by leaving his home makes us unique is that our philosophy and travelling to Durban to establish involves targeting niche, speciality markets himself as a wool merchant. Little could Beier and those that require specific development. and his family have realised that with this Our entire business model revolves around decision he would be sowing the seeds for developing new products that are focused what would become a business legacy that on markets such as filtration, engineering continues in 2013. textiles, geo textiles, medical textiles and a Two years after his arrival in South Africa range of synthetic media.” Beier received an offer from Storm and Beier Envirotec’s combination of expertise Company to manage their new scouring plant. and experience in the Southern African Beier took on this new challenge with relish subcontinent ensures that it is able to offer and within two years not its customers the latest only was the plant exporting technology and world class to Europe but Beier himself service, while constant reached agreement to take investment in equipment and over the plant from Storms. people enables it to guarantee In essence this represented product quality of the highest The year that Beier the true birth of Beier standard and industry Envirotec can trace its leading performance. Industries, a business that history back to “Our core aim as a expanded rapidly as Beier business,” Sachs continues, capitalised on the vast potential for industrial development in South “is to be recognised by both our internal and Africa. What followed was the adoption of a external customers as the designer and supplier policy for diversification and expansion that of choice when it comes to engineered textile solutions and services. To put this into context, continues to this day. It was this policy that helped give rise what we are doing is not only supplying the to Beier Envirotec. Operating from the filtration products to help power stations and headquarters of Beier Industries in Pinetown, other facilities to meet emissions requirements, Beier Envirotec is recognised as being one of but also providing a team of people who the foremost producers of technical textiles, visit the plant in question and maintain the specialised media and filtration products in filtration equipment. There they perform tasks such as changing out filter bags, or measuring Southern Africa. “Under the leadership of our Managing plant performance and proposing changes, Director, Wolfgang Beier, who represents all of which allows us to provide a complete, the third generation of the Beier family, technically based turnkey solution.”
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STANDERTON MILLS (PTY) LTD Standerton Mills (Pty) Ltd have been operating in South Africa for over 50 years, as spinners and weavers of industrial textile products. During this time, the company has developed close links with the mining and filtration industries and is well positioned at the forefront of textile materials for these industries, as well as servicing other markets closely associated with the company’s core activities. The company offers a broad range of products to suit virtually every textile need required by the mining and filtration industries, such products include • Scrims • Hose reinforcing • Release cloths
Proud suppliers of technical yarns and fabrics to Beier Envirotech.
Products include: • High temperature yarns. • Cotton yarns. • Spun polyester yarns. Scrims. Contact us for all your textile requirements…. www.standertonmills.co.za
• All types of industrial yarns and twines • Conveyor belt reinforcing • Household and apparel textiles Contact us for all your industrial textile requirements... www.standertonmills.co.za
Beier strive to use the latest technical equipment
In addition to the imbedded strengths of the business there are also several external factors that are helping to drive the growth of the company today. One is the uptake throughout the developed world, particularly in core markets like Europe and China, of tighter environmental legislation regulating emissions from factories. South Africa meanwhile continues to grow at a steady pace with the constant demand for
power resulting in the construction of a new generation of power stations. “In recent times we have also shifted our focus towards the medical side of the business,” Sachs highlights. “This side of the company has grown in line with the increasing population of the country.” Another facet of Beier Envirotec, and indeed Beier Industries as a whole, is its commitment to social responsibility. “One of the things we have done for some time now,” Sachs states,
“Beier Envirotec is recognised as being one of the foremost producers of technical textiles, specialised media and filtration products in Southern Africa” be weekly | 41
Beier products on site
“Our core aim as a business is to be recognised by both our internal and external customers as the designer and supplier of choice” “is sponsor an underprivileged school in the local vicinity. From here we strive to take at least one learner from their final year into university. We then look to employ these graduates at the end of their studies.” Beier Industries has also adopted a novel way of boosting skills development in the local area by employing a chess tutor. “It is the shared view of the board of directors that one of things we should assist with in
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the community is the development of young people who have the ability to problem solve and chess is the perfect tool for that,” Sachs says. “In addition to chess we also run additional maths lessons for students on weekends. We do this in partnership with an Indian firm who have developed a form of teaching that encourages the use of tablets and other technology devices.” The last year and a half has seen the
Employee group photo
company undergo what can be best described as a complete manufacturing reorganisation. This undertaking has seen Beier Envirotec streamline its processes, install new equipment in a number of manufacturing areas and broaden its skills set by employing new people in both its testing and quality areas. At the same time the company has made a few changes to its management structure across various departments in order to improve efficiency across the business. This is an exciting time for the company with it working on at least five new, highly novel products. This falls very much into line with Beier Envirotec’s core focus going forward and that is to achieve growth through new developments. “We were one of the first textile plants to
Textile manufacturing equipment
receive ISO:9001 and ISO:14001 accreditation, and are now pushing forward with gaining ISO:13485,” Sachs concludes. “Furthermore, we are looking at expanding our export operations. We are well aware that a large portion of our future growth will come from exports and thus we want to significantly grow this part of our business over the next three to five years. At the same time however we continue to ensure that as a company we continue to ensure that our business is correctly structured in terms of current legislation to drive growth in South Africa.” For more information about Beier Envirotec visit: www.beierenvirotec.co.za
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It’s in the bag
Managing director Jose Ignacio Arrate talks about Coresa’s range of plastic packaging solutions, and the company’s opportunities for expansion in South America
written by: Martin Ashcroft research by: Abi Abagun
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Coresa storage silos allow for the temporary storage of cereals, pulses, fertilizers, pastures, feed, among others
ackaging specialist Coresa was the world, but to be clear on what we mean established in Chile in 1966. here, it is also known in Latin America as a “We started making flexible ‘maxi saco’, and in English speaking countries containers from polypropylene in as a ‘bulk bag’. I’m sure you know what I the 1980s and also some fabrics mean. It’s the bag that your local building for specific applications,” says managing merchant uses to deliver a ton of sand, or the director Jose Ignacio Arrate, “so we’ve been agricultural merchant a ton of animal feed. making these products now for thirty years, It’s an essential product for bulk deliveries, and the company has been in existence for and Coresa has a consolidated capacity of nearly fifty years altogether.” more than 150,000 a month from its three The products he refers to are predominantly manufacturing facilities, one in Chile, one in bags and sacks for the packaging and Argentina, and one in Peru. transportation of commodities in a variety The Chilean factory is the heart of the of industries including fisheries and food, organisation, with 550 employees. The Coresa plant in Peru employs animal feed, mining and construction, although there 180 and Argentina 150. is also strong demand from The number of employees agriculture, in particular, in each facility reflects the for woven polypropylene or production capacity of each polyethylene fabric sheeting plant. “In Chile we have the The year that Coresa was used in containers, perimeter capacity for 100,000 tons of established fences, curtains, tents and extrusion per month, enough blankets, among other things. for seven million bags a It’s too easy to describe them as “bags and month,” says Arrate. “In Peru we have an sacks,” however, as this fails to convey the extrusion capacity of 400 tons a month, but multitude of different product lines Coresa we don’t produce fabrics in Argentina, we produces for individual customers and ship them in from Chile and produce bigbags applications. “Our product range uses over and sacks from the imported material.” a hundred different fabric specifications in Raw materials purchasing is centralised in terms of their properties, thickness and weight Chile, as also are the finance function and per square metre,” explains Arrate. “We have the ingredient ‘recipes’ for each product. different bags with different designs for the With three manufacturing facilities in three top and the bottom, for different sizes and different countries, however, and a reputation weights, which are all customised for each for quality to protect, consistent processes are client and each application.” essential across the board, so the plants are One of Coresa’s most successful products is integrated using the same ERP system. “We the ‘bigbag’, as Arrate refers to it. It probably have SAP R/3 in all our plants so we have has a different name in different parts of standardised processes for manufacturing,
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management, accounting, buying, selling, accounts receivable, etc, in all three facilities,” says Arrate. “Everything is managed using SAP—the same platform in all three plants.” A major benefit from the close integration is that it allows Coresa to operate with a very lean management hierarchy at each plant. “We have the same machines in each plant,
we have a lean operation to avoid duplication and waste, and we have a really ultra-light back office in all of our plants,” says Arrate. “Our goal in manufacturing is to increase our productivity based on three pillars; efficiency, quality and safety. We set productivity goals for each machine and we monitor these shift by shift and day by day.”
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Coresa bags are manufactured to withstand industrial transportation
The machines themselves are top of the range, from one of the world’s most respected equipment manufacturers. “Almost all our machinery is Starlinger,” says Arrate, “the Austrian specialist manufacturer of sack making machinery.” Starlinger is famous for developing the patented Adstar bag for carrying cement, which is now one of Coresa’s core products. “We have two machines in Chile producing Adstar sacks for cement,” says Arrate. “They are paper sacks, but without any sewing. We have the capacity to manufacture two million of these bags every month in Chile, but we are also planning to start producing them in Argentina soon. We were the first company
in Latin America to make this bag when we introduced it in 1998.” In the thirty years that Coresa has been manufacturing bags and sacks, customer requirements have continued to evolve, so research and development has been an ongoing process. Innovation has been a constant preoccupation, and the company has successfully converted many new ideas into solutions for its customers. One of these is a type of tent used by cherry farmers to cover the trees when the fruit is maturing. Another solution has been developed to cover blueberry plants. “We also have new developments in sewing techniques for some of our customers.”
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“Environmental awareness is an issue all over the world, but with plastic, it’s more about final disposal than manufacturing”
Coresa container bags are designed to hold loads from 300-2500 kg
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Coresa The company sells all over North and South America, and continues to look for opportunities to expand. “We are interested in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil,” says Arrate. “We are one the biggest in our industry in South America, we have a lot of experience, a recognised quality in the market and a flexible capacity to answer anything that is asked of us in terms of productivity and quality. We also have a capacity in Chile that could be redirected to produce a final product somewhere else. It’s easy for us nowadays to start a factory anywhere, using our SAP platform. We have a lot of strengths which we can use to start a new business from scratch.” Environmental awareness is an issue all over the world, but with plastic, it’s more about final disposal than manufacturing. “The manufacturing process from the extruder to the assembly of the product is actually a very clean process,” says Arrate. “We only need electricity to do it, and there’s a minimal amount of scrap that can’t be used again in another product. “There is a lack of public perception in South America about plastics recycling, however,” he continues. “It’s not as far advanced as it is in North America or Europe. We are just beginning to think about it here. You could not imagine
modern life without plastic products, so I think we will soon see better technology for recycling plastics, and also more education to teach people how to handle plastic packaging after it has been used. That is a big opportunity in Latin America.” On the social side of corporate social responsibility, Coresa is active in the areas in which it operates. “In San Antonio we have experience running soccer tournaments and other sporting activities, says Arrate, “and in Argentina the Christmas party for the whole town was held in our factory.” For more information about Coresa visit: www.coresa.cl
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seamless service written by: Will Daynes | research by: David Brogan
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NTT Communications (Thailand) President, Tsuyoshi Kawashima, discusses the growing importance of Thailand to the South East Asian region and how the internet and other telecoms services are becoming ever more critical to peopleâ€™s lives
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NTT senior management team
ith the internet age in full swing and very much a part of everyday life in the Western world and developed nations, it is in the fast-developing nations across the world that the expansion of the digital sector is most prevalent today. One such country that is currently experiencing a rapid expansion in internet usage is Thailand, where access to the technology has become an increasing necessity, not only in business, but also in personal life. NTT Communications (Thailand) is as aware as anyone else of the importance of the network that connects Thailand to other countries and the role this network will play when it comes to companies looking to expand their global business in Thailand. NTT Communications (Thailand) is a subsidiary of NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), itself a division of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. Founded in 1999, NTT Com specialises in delivering high-quality voice, data and IP services to its customers around the world. Renowned for its diverse information and communication services, expertise in managed networks, hosting and IP networking services as well as industry leadership in IPv6 technology, NTT Com currently has over 17,800 employees working from subsidiaries and offices in 87 cities in 31 countries and regions around the world. “Here in Thailand,” explains NTT Communications (Thailand) President, Tsuyoshi Kawashima, “there is a great deal
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of evidence that highlights and today has key systems i nteg r at ion , net work the growing importance of the internet and IT solutions integration and application as a whole, not least the i nteg rat ion p r oj e c t s running with over 600 key recently completed 3G NTT Com employees customer clients. frequency auction. It goes worldwide In response to the evolving without saying therefore that for many large telecoms nature of the industry the operators, Thailand has become a market of company plans to increase the number of staff it employs, while also developing more particular interest.â€? Indeed this interest has led to a number detailed services such as consultation, system of multi-national companies, particularly provisioning and support. Furthermore, those based in Japan, beginning to it promises its customers with end-to-end invest increasing amounts of capital into support while connecting with international operations in Thailand. For its part NTT branches of NTT Communications in order to Communications (Thailand) has been a key support their specific needs. player in launching the Enterprise Cloud â€œThrough a combination of our existing Services Platform into South-East Asia, services, including security services, system
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integration, enterprise cloud service and has dissuaded major multi-national players in enterprise co-location services, and new the vein of Microsoft or Google from turning solutions, I believe we are extremely well their attentions to the country, as well as placed to expand our customer reach on focusing their efforts on markets such as both a domestic and international scale,” Hong Kong and Singapore. “With the number of 3G users in the Kawashima continues. “Our strategy for the short and long-term future calls for us country growing, and with this in turn having to meet the growing demands of both Thai a significant positive impact on internet and international customers. In terms of the usage, now appears to be the perfect time former, one of the primary to capitalise on the business ways we intend to do this is opportunities that a new through the construction and state-of-the-art data centre opening of a new data centre could bring,” Kawashima here in Thailand.” enthuses. This view is Until now Thailand has clearly one that is shared When NTT’s new lacked such infrastructure, by those in government, Thailand data centre is a fact that many, including with the Thailand Board expected to open Kawashima himself, believe of Investment announcing
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NTT Communications (Thailand) President, Tsuyoshi Kawashima
“While we will continue to pursue geographic expansion, we will also remain true to our commitment to increasing our local presence” in 2011 that said data centre would in fact be larger than first imagined, occupying some 5,000 square metres of space. With construction now in its advanced stages, the data centre is set to come online by the end of the second quarter of 2014. “There are three core aims that we have when it comes to the development of our business in the coming months and years,” Kawashima states. “The first revolves around bringing in new services, such as the NTT Enterprise Cloud service, which are tailored directly towards the ever-changing needs of both our existing and future customer. The second meanwhile is focused on bringing our data centre into operation as a means of attracting investment into Thailand from abroad, while the third aim has been dubbed ‘Thailand+1’, which is all about expanding our geographic footprint outside of our home nation into other countries within the Mekong region.” Key projects recently undertaken include the launching of NTT Communications offices in Yangon, Myanmar, Vientienne, Laos, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in the last few years, as well as bringing ISP services into the said countries. “These are among the countries that we anticipate becoming more important in attracting Thai business in the years to come,” Kawashima says. “We want to create
something of a synergy between our country and those in the Mekong region and thus it is very much part of our strategy to introduce IT services across it, particularly in Myanmar, where we have had some very positive talks with Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) about future opportunities.” Clearly Kawashima has huge confidence that Thailand and the Great Mekong region will continue to go from strength to strength. “We are extremely excited about what is going on in this part of the world,” he concludes. “It is in part because of our confidence in the market that we have been able to carefully and clearly set out our ambitions for the future. These clearly focus on increasing our capacity through the creation of the new data centre, improving our product range and introducing new services such as storage and data migration offerings. While we will continue to pursue geographic expansion, we will also remain true to our commitment to increasing our local presence and reach in the fast growing market that is Thailand.” For more information about NTT Communications visit: www.th.ntt.com
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