What quality guys
Human capital is a company’s greatest asset – and investing in “quality” individuals has other positive spin-offs for one’s business. With a rather different take on the issue of quality, SHEQ MANAGEMENT explores how this has proven true for two companies.
To survive in today’s competitive business climate, quality must be inherent in everything a business entity does. Whether it is a product or service, customers expect to get what they pay for – this can mean anything from an offering that will satisfy their fleeting, immediate needs, to something that is more long lasting and will fulfil the desired application in a manner that far outweighs its monetary value.
However, a good product or service is only as good as those who stand behind it – a company’s reputation depends as much on the quality of its offerings as it does on the quality of its people.
Skyriders, a leader in the South African rope access industry, and Redpath, a global contract mining service provider, are two companies that deal in rather different industries. Of course, while the former has made its name scaling the country’s concrete peaks, the latter has done so by venturing into the deepest recesses of our planet. Yet, they have one thing in common that makes them stand out in the business world … the fact that they both attribute their relative success to the quality of their human capital.
According to Mike Zinn, Skyriders marketing manager, the company has developed a reputation for being a market leader in the provision of rope access aided inspection, non-destructive testing (NDT) and working-at-height maintenance solutions by developing the full potential of its team of fall arrest technicians.
A shining example is Jansen Madike, who has been senior project manager for boiler inspection, NDT and maintenance at Eskom’s Medupi power station since 2011. Since joining Skyriders five years ago, Madike has continuously developed himself with the assistance of the company. He acquired his Level three rope access qualification after racking up a total of 1 000 hours of on-site experience and, in 2009, gained a BSc degree in mathematics and physics.
“In the near future, I would like to study short management courses to further develop my potential. I am in the fortunate position of being provided with comprehensive and dedicated support by my employers at Skyriders,” he says.
Over at Redpath, the situation is much the same. The company’s global president and CEO, George Flumerfelt, said in a recent message about the company’s 50th anniversary: “The hard work invested by all employees over the years has enabled Redpath to evolve from a single project company in 1962 to the competitor that it is today. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that our success is still driven by our greatest strength – our people.” Today, the Redpath group is Canada’s longest-operating mining contractor.
In addition to favourable market conditions, Flumerfelt attributes this unprecedented success to the high calibre of Redpath’s 6 200 staff members. But, as with Skyriders, the company knows that its employees – and by extension, the company itself – can only shine for as long as it supports them.
There are numerous key factors in this regard – the first of which is safety. “There is simply nothing more important than ensuring the safety of all Redpath employees and sub-contractors each and every day that they are on site,” he says. Another factor is that the company has developed a reputation for maintaining the highest standards of quality on a consistent basis; its high quality of goods and services going hand-in-hand with safety in the workplace.
“A number of clients select Redpath as their mining contractor of choice based on our strong industry reputation for undertaking excellent quality work that is always completed safely and within the deadlines and budgets that have been agreed upon. This forms part of Redpath’s overall corporate philosophy and sets the framework for sustained success,” he says.
It just goes to show, investing in one’s employees is the best service a company can give to itself.