Tarmac's functions - working together towards its mission statement
A Tarmac case study

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Page 2: Important functions within Tarmac

Operations

In general, Tarmac's operations are:

  • managing the utilisation of raw materials and the production process
  • aligning production to market and customer needs
  • gathering ideas to share across the company thus improving efficiency
  • managing Health, Safety and the environment
  • implementing sustainable projects e.g. restoring quarries after use
  • supply chain management including transport and logistics.

Tarmac's 'operations' can be split into two groups:

  1. Production operation and operations management staff are involved with producing the wide product range that Tarmac offers its clients, for projects such as road construction, and sports pitches.
  2. Engineering Department - this department is concerned with developing and maintaining the plant and infrastructure needed to make the products. It is its aim to continue to produce the products more effectively at a lower cost.

Tarmac invested £110 million in its cement plant in Buxton (Derbyshire) trebling its output. This site now produces 43% more than expected when the new operation was first planned.

Operating improvements and growth do not happen by accident. Tarmac encourages employees to come up with good ideas, so these can be discussed, adapted and implemented throughout the business. Because of this:

  • last year 92% of sites were free from time lost through injuries
  • in 2005 Tarmac won the Quarry Products Association's Best Practice Award for Occupational Health.

Tarmac is aware of the long-term effects of quarrying sand and gravel. Working with organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) it has restored reed beds so the Bittern can return to the area. 'Working with the RSPB, we restore and prepare previously excavated land ready for the planting of reeds. The RSPB then manages and monitors the land and the wildlife it attracts.'

Tarmac has earned international environmental certification for 73% of its industrial sites and aims to push that to 100% by 2007. By working in a responsible way, Tarmac is making itself and its environment more sustainable.

Technical

Technical people:

  • solve technical issues raised by operations and commercial departments
  • liaise with technical support functions and customers
  • ensure that the products sold to customers meet national and international standards interms of quality.

For example an individual from operations could find a way to reduce the size of the average grain of sand before it goes into a concrete mixer. Technical operators, scientists, engineers and systems engineers would all work together so that the process could be used company-wide.

It is not unusual to find that technical staff earn patents for their organisations.  For example, the Tarmac Porous Pavement technology to be used in housing developments, retail and business parks, and car parks is ´the first to the UK market after successful trials in Wolverhampton and Bristol, working with the Transport Research Laboratory´.  In order for Tarmac to achieve such results, it needs to look at safety, health and the environment.

Commercial

The commercial aspect of Tarmac's organisation is part of the tertiary sector work it does. This includes:

  • dealing with customers 'Customer First' programme
  • feeding into the marketing department
  • liaising with suppliers.

Tarmac regards good service as vital. Tarmac deals with businesses, non-profit-making organisations and government bodies. Service is just as important to these customers as it is to high street consumers.

Customer service

However, Tarmac regards good service as vital. It asks its customers what they think of the ways in which it works for them. It strives to improve by:

  • understanding customer needs
  • providing on-time deliveries
  • giving timely notification of delivery delays
  • effectively handling complaints.

This process is more efficient if the company and its customers communicate well because then customers will inform Tarmac of their needs.

One way of communicating the 'Customer First' approach is through the marketing team. Representatives constantly meet customers. They learn useful information while getting sales orders. It might be gossip for the customer but it is business intelligence for Tarmac.

Working with suppliers

Suppliers are now seen as strategic partners. Tarmac is concerned, therefore, with building long-term relationships with organisations which are important to its future success. Working with suppliers needs as much effort as working with customers because their input is vital to the efficient delivery of a product.

Tarmac has high standards and expects the same from its suppliers. These include:

  • regarding safety as paramount
  • competitive prices and terms of supply
  • innovation and research
  • ethical working practices.

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