Competence. Innovation. Solutions in Mining.

Sudbury Mining Solutions

Commentary

Business systems enhance competencies

September 1, 2007
by Dick DeStefano
In: Commentary, Dick DeStefano with 0 Comments
In the last few years, the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) has been focused on expanding its membership and building international and domestic relationships within the mining sector.

SAMSSA’s web portal has proven to be a valuable tool for attracting visitors globally. Since its inception, the site has received more than 6.1 million hits. Mining people from every continent are visiting our site for the expertise we offer.

A majority of our 90 SAMSSA suppliers (soon to be 100) have existed, gained the respect and worked with mining companies for more than 50 years and have proven track records for providing the appropriate tools and technology that work in the field.

SAMSSA is launching another initiative to expand the excellence of the existing membership by adding a new dimension not seen in normal association activities of our type.

A recent survey conducted by the Institute of Northern Ontario Research and Development at Laurentian University for FedNor and SAMSSA found that the Sudbury area mining supply and service sector in Northern Ontario is approximately twice as innovative as those in a given sample. The study revealed that 83 out of 90 firms surveyed indicated they were upgrading products and services and 72 out of 93 had introduced a new product or service in the preceding three years. We are innovative but we need more sophisticated business management systems to make us even better.

SAMSSA has taken the initiative to develop for its members a new Directory of Business Management Software that will add another level of excellence to their operations and increase their competencies within a competitive global market. Solution packages will be reviewed for their quality and impact and SAMSSA will act as an agent and source for a multitude of applications, including content management systems, databases, enterprise resource planning systems, web based directories, customer relations management systems, document management applications, secure e-mail encryption software, shared information systems, integration services, custom applications and eCommerce applications. to name a few.

This new service emanates from the belief that excellent companies have customer-focused processes and that continuous improvement plays a far more important role than innovation in organizational success. This was a clear finding in Build To Last by Collins and Porras (1997).

In his book, Agenda (2001), Michael Hammer also found that good processes are the “must have” platform for success.

Many of SAMSSA’s companies, like others, have developed some of the organizational processes that work, but the competitive nature of the business means we always have to strive for the next best platform. Many smaller companies do not have IT specialists and rely on reaction to problems rather than being proactive and looking for the best management systems that keep them competitive. SAMSSA is offering the next step in moving mining supply and service companies forward.

Most large companies rely exclusively on top down improvement approaches such as re-engineering and Six Sigma, which are planned approaches that address mostly issues big enough to be noticed by management. While top down approaches are necessary and good, they are inherently limited because they miss the far larger set of less visible improvement opportunities that employees spot in their daily work.  Organized systems are dependent on tools that allow for daily assessments, evaluation and implementation before a problem arises and many of those ideas come from front line workers.

SAMSSA is on a mission to find the appropriate business management tools for its membership and then sell these products to wider audiences.

My thanks to Isaac Getz and Alan G. Robinson for their insights and stimulation in their excellent article, Innovate or Die: Is That a Fact? published by Creativity and Innovation Management, in September 2003.

www.samssa.ca

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About Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano is Executive Director of SAMSSA destefan@isys.ca

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