Page 2: Reviewing operations
A company should continually review its processes to ensure they are as efficient as they can be. Every aspect of what a business does needs to be subject to a review process. An effective review process can secure business improvement. Making improvements then helps the business to maximise its efficiency, competitiveness and profitability.
To achieve improvements Anglo American employees continually question and challenge existing ways of doing things to identify more efficient methods. This involves improving procedures and processes. Procedures are a series of actions or operations that need to be performed in set ways. A process is the act of implementing these procedures. Once improvement opportunities have been identified, such as a more efficient method of extracting a raw material, they are shared across the Group.
Operation Reviews (ORs) are identified by Anglo American as an important process to improve performance. The ORs apply a structured evaluation process in three functional areas:
- Operational improvement (revenue enhancement and cost reduction)
- Technical assessment (technical risk and adherence to technical standards)
- Safety and sustainable development assessment (S&SD risks and value opportunities).
The OR process assists managers at particular sites as well as business unit managers. It provides a framework against which identified value opportunities can be realised while putting in place value enabling processes to identify further possibilities for business improvement.
Operations consist of all of the activities that the company carries out associated with its business. Operations range from the process of mining the raw materials to dealing with customers and building relationships in the communities in which it operates. Operational Reviews take place at selected Anglo American sites. Any improvements that are identified will be shared across the whole of the organisation.
The illustration shows Anglo American’s eight step operation review process. Kick-off is the start of the process at a particular site, such as one of Anglo American’s coal mines. This is followed by the diagnosis stage where problems and areas for improvement are identified.
The team is then able to identify the scope of the process change to be implemented (e.g. how to cut coal more quickly and efficiently). The team then works together on site for a week to detail the business case for making real improvements in working practice. Creating the business case will include deciding what resources will be needed to secure the improvement (e.g. employing new cutting technologies). Once this has been agreed the project is approved and implemented. The improvement opportunity is then shared across the organisation to become best practice.