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Articles from EDUCATION & TRAINING (291 Articles)











Rodney Kazem (centre) with the coveted samurai sword, presented by Trimble Loadrite’s Dale Cameron (left) and Simon Rush (right).
Rodney Kazem (centre) with the coveted samurai sword, presented by Trimble Loadrite’s Dale Cameron (left) and Simon Rush (right).

Award winner searches for new ideas over the ‘ditch’

The winner of an IQA award that highlights ways of making operations more efficient recently undertook a study tour of New Zealand quarries. Rodney Kazem spoke to Lewis Dyson about how he has applied LEAN principles to quarrying and the insights he gained from his trip across the Tasman.

Rodney Kazem has applied for a number of awards over the years but he had his heart set on one in particular.

“I really wanted the sword!” he joked. “I thought it would look good on the wall!”

Whereas most recipients at the Institute of Quarrying Australia’s annual awards last October were handed a framed certificate, the winner of the Trimble Loadrite LEAN Principles Award was given an engraved samurai sword.

“It’s probably symbolic of cutting the inefficiencies and cutting down waste in processes,” Kazem suggested.

It might also have something to do with the Japanese origins of the “LEAN” methodology the awards champion - the management philosophy can trace its roots back to Toyota.

LEAN PHILOSOPHY

Although the link with the manufacturing industry has endured, Kazem won the award by demonstrating the successful use of a number of LEAN principles at Boral’s Linwood Quarry in South Australia when he was the quarry manager at the site.

In the space of 12 months, changes he and his team implemented, based on evaluations about whether plant was being operated in the most efficient manner, led to a 30 per cent rise in overall equipment effectiveness.

Other benefits included increased plant availability, reduction in costs, decreasing production defects, optimising product quality, as well as maximising fixed and mobile asset efficiency and utilisation.

The name plate on the original Barmac crusher, as designed by Jim MacDonald and Bryan Bartley.
The name plate on the original Barmac crusher, as designed by Jim MacDonald and Bryan Bartley.

“LEAN tools – or LEAN methodologies – have always been associated with high level manufacturing and not so much in quarrying,” Kazem said. “But if you look at quarrying, it is actually no different to manufacturing. Instead of manufacturing cars or components at high volume we are manufacturing aggregates.

Aggregates are made through large crushing plants and all operations are chasing high volume, high efficiency and high quality.

“So applying for the award was more about sharing the experiences of the LEAN journey with the quarrying industry. It was about making people aware that embracing and using LEAN tools in a quarrying operation can significantly increase the performance of the site and reduce your costs.”

There are a number of “LEAN tools”, such as the 5S mantra – loosely translated from Japanese into sort, set in order, shine, standardise and sustain. Not all of the tools can be applied to quarrying, Kazem said, but simple practices like measuring where you are versus where you should be or want to be and trying to “close the gaps” can be effective.

Kazem’s job involves leading and supporting his team towards their goal of “being number one” in safety, quality, customer service and efficiency.

“To achieve our goal, ‘being number one in everything we do’, obviously you need a good team which I’m lucky enough to have but you always have to continually improve,” he said. “You can’t sit still and we always need to ask ourselves what we can do better, compared to yesterday. My team and I are always researching new technology and ideas to make tasks a lot easier, safer and more efficient.”

STAFF ENGAGEMENT

In his submission, Kazem highlighted the importance of listening to employee suggestions and keeping all members of staff involved in finding ways of making operations more efficient, something he said has always been important to him.

“Continuous improvement projects and innovation actually play a very important part in the future performance of the organisation,” Kazem said. “By having staff involved, they are able to improve their own work processes, make their roles safer, easier and more efficient.

“Also keeping them engaged increases morale, increases job satisfaction and creates a sense of ownership. Employees feel they’re positively influencing the organisation and this leads to stronger performing business in all areas.”

As part of the NZ study tour, Rodney Kazem visited Holcim’s Kiwi Point Quarry, in Wellington, where the original Barmac crusher (rear) is on permanent display.
As part of the NZ study tour, Rodney Kazem visited Holcim’s Kiwi Point Quarry, in Wellington, where the original Barmac crusher (rear) is on permanent display.

An example of staff involvement at Linwood came when a number of employees devised the idea of relocating and reducing the number of stockpiles to limit the number of vehicle movements within the quarry operation.

To assist them with their idea, the operators used a “spaghetti chart” to map and understand the process flow – another LEAN tool – to trace the movements of trucks and loaders around the site. The team was able to identify ways of cutting down on the number of vehicle and equipment journeys.

NZ EXCURSION

Another of the prizes for winning Trimble Loadrite’s LEAN Principles Award was a $5000 grant towards a study tour to further the recipient’s knowledge and experience of LEAN principles, preferably related to load and haul, processing or reporting.

The New Zealand-based weighing equipment manufacturer has a strong presence in quarries across Australia.

Kazem opted to spend his prize money to join other IQA members on a study tour of quarry sites in New Zealand from 5 to 13 July this year.

The excursion included visiting a number of quarry operations, quarry suppliers and manufacturing plants, including Winstone Aggregates’ Hunua Quarry, McDonald’s Lime Quarry, Holcim’s Kiwi Point and Belmont quarries as well as the Real Steel manufacturing plant and the RedBull Powder explosives plant.

“We’re proud to support Rodney’s recent visit to New Zealand with the IQA tour,” Dale Cameron, the regional sales manager for Trimble Australia, said. “Rodney was able to use the prize from the 2015 Trimble Loadrite LEAN Principles Award to fund his visit to local quarry operations. While in NZ, he was provided with opportunities to pick up operations and productivity ideas that only being on site offers.

“Trimble invites IQA members to enter their LEAN principles’ submission in 2017.”

Kazem said he gained “excellent” professional development from the trip. “There was a lot I took on board and just to be allowed to visit the sites, liaise with the site operation personnel and to learn about international quarry operations was invaluable,” he said.

Kazem is committed to leading and supporting his team towards their goal of “being number one” in safety, quality, customer service and efficiency.
Kazem is committed to leading and supporting his team towards their goal of “being number one” in safety, quality, customer service and efficiency.

“Understanding how the sites are operated, different products, plant set-ups and site challenges was very valuable, obviously there were some similiarities.”

He was particularly impressed at how the Kiwis made the most out of all the products made on-site, such as maximising the use of manufactured sand in concrete and asphalt production.

“In every quarry that we went to, we didn’t see huge stockpiles of by-product materials. They’ve worked very closely with their customers, eg asphalt and concrete plants to maximise the use of all products that they’ve made on-site,” he commented.

During the visit to RedBull Powder, the tour group had the opportunity to see how bulk and packaged explosives are manufactured and the science and testing that goes into the finished product.

At the Real Steel site, the supplier demonstrated how it designs and manufactures various wear parts for fixed and mobile plants and the engineering behind improving the longevity of the products while ensuring they still perform well in service.

Kazem said he was able to pick up some new ideas with regards to crushing plant set-up, automation, quarry planning and some of the key challenges New Zealand’s sites face, including groundwater, silt dams, residential encroachment, blasting impacts and tight development challenges.

“All in all, I thought they were very similar to us in Australia, but there’s always opportunities or ideas that you can take on board,” he said.

IDEAS EXCHANGE

Kazem is grateful for the opportunity to go on the study tour and thanked Trimble Loadrite and his team at Boral, saying, “The award was amazing. I really want to encourage everyone in the future to apply for these awards because they actually share some of the good ideas within the quarrying industry.

“Just the opportunity to have a look at international quarries gives you a good perspective of how you are actually performing and not many people have that opportunity. If we all continue to apply for these awards, the learnings are available to everyone and you probably don’t need to go overseas to see them.”

Now that he is back with his team in South Australia looking for new ways to improve operations using LEAN principles, the big question is: what happened to the samurai sword?

“I have the sword hanging up on the wall now!” he laughed. “It just reminds me of what we’ve achieved.”



















Sunday, 21 October, 2018 12:26am
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