40 www. bus- ex. com July 09 has a formal lean manufacturing, six sigma, or other business improvement programe in place- but that isn't the case. " We have no formalised programe except common sense and getting respected opinions, I suppose," Jordaan says. " We recognise the need to standardise operations, resolve quality- related issues and improve efficiency. Part of the company is ISO certified, and we definitely see value in pursuing that route. Within the organisation, we raise and manage ' non- conformance reports'. We measure frequency of occurrence and as a factor of direct cost or opportunity cost. Our improvement programe was developed in the last five years and is evolving continually. We have consulted various parties, internally and externally, considered the best practices and set improvement measurement parameters related to value creation in various forms in terms of safety, cost, availability and utilisation of resources." The company has already gained benefits in all those areas and expects improvement to continue. Despite the fact that it has not followed northern hemisphere competitors down the lean/ six sigma route, its effectiveness and competitiveness
future, despite the current economic conditions. " We have expanded our raiseboring fleet by 20 per cent during the last year and envision investment in expanding our slim- hole drilling capabilities," Jordaan says. " We are in the process of launching tunnel boring- related services as an alternative to mining haulage, and raised excavations as an alternative to conventional flat development by means of drill and blast. We are in the process of launching large- diameter reverse circulation/ percussion/ rotary drilling capacities and diversifying our core drilling services to other markets." Master Drilling is also researching alternative blind shaft drilling methods and is working with Wirth GmbH in developing a solution for establishing shafts of 11 metres diameter and up to two kilometers deep without bottom access, fully supported and explosive- free. " We are an innovative, reliable, integrated provider of products and services," says Jordaan. " Our lead time is quicker than others in our market. We differentiate ourselves through creating value for our clients and expanding our current competitive capabilities through capacity or innovation. We drive responsibility, accountability, efficiency and resourceful application of limited or lean resources and reward commitment, loyalty and innovation in our people." - Editorial research by Kevin Ellis has enabled it to win some important contracts outside South Africa. " A recent highlight was the completion of two ventilation shafts for Tara Mines in Ireland," says Jordaan. " Around 50 shipping containers of equipment were mobilised from South Africa, and we set a world record for the completion of the shaft, which was 850 metres deep and 4.1 metres in diameter, and finished within 90 days. There were no safety, environmental or social incidents recorded." Behind the achievement were some innovative solutions, such as the design of the world's most powerful raiseboring rig and drill rods and a soundproof enclosure that allowed operation 24 hours a day. Utilisation of remote support on part of the operation meant that no personnel had to enter the shaft during construction. Master Drilling is expanding strongly into international markets, including Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Zambia. Its diversification of services, into manufacturing and exploration drilling, single- project contracts and long- term projects, are leading to what it describes as sustainable growth within well- managed resources, both human and asset- based. Its responsible approach to corporate and social responsibility, safety, health, quality and environment is increasingly recognised and valued. It is investing in its Master Drilling ( Pty) Ltd July 09 www. bus- ex. com 41 " Owning our own fabrication facilities means that we are able to ensure that our equipment has more regular maintenance intervals and that we have better response times on unforeseen occurrences, such as breakdowns"