Page 3: The operations function
The Operations function brings together raw materials with the production process to make products that customers need. It also shares ideas across the company about how to improve processes and achieve cost savings.
The benefits include increased efficiency and more effective management of health and safety and environmental issues. For example, Tarmac is implementing sustainable projects such as restoring quarries after use.
This commitment is important not only commercially but also as part of Tarmac's corporate and social responsibility programme as some of its quarries are within the boundaries of National Parks. In 2008, its work supporting biodiversity was recognised with an award from The Wildlife Trusts.
Tarmac has a typically hierarchical structure with seven levels:
It is essential for Tarmac to have the right people in place in order to achieve competitive advantage. It recruits apprentices and graduates into key roles across the business and specifically within Operations:
- An apprentice would join Tarmac as an Operator and would gain the relevant job skills and experience during their four-year apprenticeship.
- Similarly, a graduate trainee would learn through “shadowing” a Section Leader during their training period.
Once qualified, progression within the business is steady ensuring that the employee has acquired the right skills and knowledge before moving to the next challenge or role.
A Zone Manager's role is critical and includes managing operational performance across several levels and within a large geographical area. A Zone Manager needs to understand all aspects of the business in order to meet and improve targets for cost, quality, delivery, safety and business integrity shown in agreed key performance indicators (KPIs).
All staff in the zone need to understand their roles in helping to meet these KPIs. It is the Zone Manager's job to help get the best performance from the team by:
- motivating the team through coaching and leadership
- identifying priorities for continuous improvement
- encouraging and rewarding staff who contribute improvement ideas and actions
- emphasising the importance of developing skills and capabilities.
Tarmac's long-term aim is to develop high performance teams who work within a culture of quality and continuous improvement. Tarmac employees have the opportunity to contribute their ideas on how to achieve results. They can do this through the employee suggestion scheme or by presenting ideas to managers to discuss within development teams. This helps individuals feel part of the wider team, allows them to gain a greater understanding of the business and strengthens employee engagement and commitment to the organisation.
Claire Leggat - Plant Manager - 'I joined Tarmac because I wanted a practical and varied role and one where I could see results. I have responsibility for three quarries. This is potentially a high-risk environment so a key part of my job is to manage health & safety and operational performance for the sites. There are always new things to learn, which is very satisfying. Tarmac has a policy of getting involved with the communities in which it operates, so, for example, I have responsibility for monitoring impacts on the local environment and am an accredited Great Crested Newt handler!'