Every two years the Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA) and Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia (CCAA) form a partnership to organise and deliver a Construction Materials Industry Conference (CMIC16). This year’s format was different from previous conferences, as it incorporated an Industry Innovation Day on the Wednesday and a Business Leaders Lunch Forum on the Friday.
By all accounts, the new format was a resounding success. The conference attracted almost 550 registrations, with the Industry Innovation Day attracting an additional 73 delegates.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the CMIC16 organising committee for its dedication and hard work to ensure that the conference was a success. Duncan Harris was the chairman and the committee included Ken Slattery, Brian Hauser, Aaron Johnston, John Stanton, Rodney Krins, Dru Oxley and Karen Redfern from International Conference Events.
I have had lots of positive comments on the quality of the papers delivered at the Innovation Day, the conference and the Business Leaders Lunch Forum. I attended all of the conference and some of the Innovation Day sessions and I have a greater understanding of how innovation drives economic growth and how our industry has embraced innovation and capability. The IQA is well placed to work with industry on capability and innovation with our professional development and educational programs.
The presentation by Hanson on its power-generating downhill conveyor project at its Hobart quarry is a great example of innovation where the quarry team opted to use conveyors to shift rock from new reserves at the top of a hill to an existing crushing and screening plant at the bottom (see page 9). The conveyors harness the power generated by variable speed drives to generate electricity; this helps to reduce electricity consumption by 48 per cent. In addition, the conveyor solution saves an estimated 170,000 litres of fuel per year, as well as improving dust and noise emissions from the site.
Another innovation idea that impressed me was the use of 3D and 4D printing technology for building a variety of structures including houses and bridges. Adapting ideas to deliver better outcomes for our industry is a cost-effective way to embrace innovation.
There were several key learnings I took away from the conference to help our industry innovate, eg:
- Innovation is about people first. We must bring together teams to come up with ideas and then follow up with actions to implement those ideas.
- The drivers for innovation are our front line supervisors and our approach to training and education to enhance their leadership skills is important.
- Innovation is not going to happen unless basic business management practices, including setting targets, tracking performance and meeting those targets, are in place.
- The learnings outlined above also apply to workplace health and safety (WHS). We are not going to achieve better performance in WHS without effective leadership at all levels, efficient work practices, strong workplace culture, employee involvement, effective risk management, and continuous improvement.
I would like to thank and acknowledge all our sponsors and exhibitors. Without their support it would have been very difficult to put on the CMIC16 conference.
I also invite all of you to attend the next IQA conference to be held in Toowoomba, Queensland from 4 to 6 October, 2017.
Best wishes for the season!