Operations Excellence

Point of View: Metal Accounting

Numerous examples exist of Mining & Metals companies having to write off metal losses due to inaccurate, unreliable and poorly executed metal balance processes and procedures and subsequent metal accounting problems.

To address the issue, Let’s start by refraining from dealing with the 10 principles coming from Amira on metal accounting. There is nothing inherently wrong with these principles but critiquing them is like discussing motherhood and apple pie.

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Your Most Precious Business Resource 

Many business leaders believe that their greatest asset is their people. Perhaps so, when the business has the “right” people. But even under the best of circumstances, talented people often aren’t enough.

Assets aside, whether it is people, natural resources or even capital; what is a business’ most important resource under all circumstances?

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Lean in the Public Sector

Public organizations face at least five key challenges:

  • Creating a truly transformational government
  • Meeting heightened constituent expectations
  • Managing workforce transitions
  • Minimizing the risks of implementing new technologies, and,
  • Monetary issues, which are much more of operating realities that color all decisions, are the fifth challenge.

Lean manufacturing processes have emerged as a means to help break the politicized cycle and short term pressures.

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Rapid Operations Assessment

It’s easy to say that shareholder value is important. It’s not as easy to make it influence the decisions that are made every day: where to spend time and resources, how best to get things done, and ultimately, how to win in the marketplace.

The complexity of business has increased dramatically over the past decade. More products. Higher service expectations. Faster cycle times. Tighter financial management. Globalization.

We all appreciate that improving the performance of a company’s operations can significantly boost revenue, profitability and cash flow. We also know that it can improve customer loyalty by ensuring that customers get the products they need, when they need them, at a cost that’s reasonable. But the links between increasing shareholder value and driving those increases through “Operations Excellence” are not always obvious. For the investor, financial institution, or company itself, the question often becomes ”Where do we start?”

KCB answers this and several complementary questions in this article.

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Taking Lean Manufacturing Beyond the Shop Floor

Manufacturers tend to spend a great deal of time looking at the concepts of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma and how they can apply on the shop floor. But on the whole, they’ve given far less thought to how they can benefit by applying lean principles in corporate “white spaces” — their business process environments, which include such functions as engineering, product development, order to cash, procure to pay and sales.

According to Karl Kelton, a consultant who specializes in the manufacturing industry, organizations need to educate themselves about how to apply lean in non-traditional areas. “The traditional thinking out there is, ‘I’m familiar with lean. It’s the Toyota Production System, and it applies to the shop floor and discrete manufacturing processes,’” says Kelton. Taking lean principles into organizations’ business process environments can help in myriad ways, Kelton stresses, but only if those organizations stop looking at lean as simply cost or waste reduction, and start looking at it as a way to create value.

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Our Clients Say…

I engaged KCB to help me develop a better understanding of our supplier and plant relationships and how we could enhance those relationships to our mutual benefit. The reason I selected KCB was because of their senior level resources, their clear commitment to act in our best interests and the additional value that I perceived they’d bring to the table. They were a pleasure to work with and –most importantly – delivered on all counts.Greg Courts, Manager Strategic Sourcing, Alcan Primary Metals Group
We retained KCB to perform an operational review covering a substantial part of our processing plant. In the past several years we had achieved significant productivity improvements and felt that another set of eyes would be beneficial in moving to the next level of performance. It was key for us, from a sustainability perspective, that our people be intimately involved in all aspects of the review. KCB brought an objective, disciplined approach to this assignment and worked effectively to engage and develop our people. We are now well down the path to achieving a 10% improvement in the efficiency of the converter aisle.Smelter General Manager
I worked with Karl during a business re-engineering project and I found him to be a very open, honest, direct and “to the point” kind of person. I enjoyed our work immensely. Rather than being a consultant, he became a colleague, shared the frustrations and the achievements we achieved during the project. His knowledge in operations, especially in Lean Manufacturing was quite extensive, but he could also provide input regarding strategic issues. Altogether a well rounded, likable, approachable, humorous, and non-intimidating type of consultant, which is a rare trait nowadays. I would have him on my side anytime and recommend him to anybody looking for an ally for their business. You will not be sorry.Celestica
I had the experience of working with several different consulting outfits. What distinguishes the KCB consultants from the others I have worked with is that they bring a disciplined, well thought out process to the task at hand and they continuously conduct themselves in a practical manner. It’s clear to me that KCB, more so than other firms, has a results-oriented focus and makes it their priority to make the client successful in his/her endeavours.Laurence, Corporate Comptroller, Major Global Base Metals Company