Quarry Southern Africa May 2019 - Page 39

INSIGHT COMMUNICATION MAKES QUALITY WORK Saartjie Duvenhage is a member of the Aspasa technical committee. By Saartjie Duvenhage In a weaker economy, it is quality that separates the wheat from the chaff. When money is scarce, quality becomes the deciding factor. No one can afford to redo anything. U nfortunately, quality is not something that happens at the snap of a finger. And no one person can make quality work on their own. To move from being a mediocre quarry to a quality quarry, takes a culture change and a team effort. John C. Maxwell lists communication as one of the 17 indisputable laws of teamwork in his book of the same name. The subtitle of the chapter on communication states, Interaction Fuels Action. In other words, when people start talking to one another, they start doing. This is true of every aspect of running a mine, whether production targets, health and safety, or environmental targets. It is also true of quality management. If communication is so important and plays such a vital role in quality management, it is important that we should understand what it is. A look at the definition of communication from the Google Dictionary tells us that communication is “the imparting www.quarryonline.co.za  or exchanging of information by” various means. Let’s just think about the “imparting” bit of this definition. Have you ever dialled one of those 086 numbers because your Internet service isn’t working, or your car is broken, or there is a problem with your medical aid, and you end up at the call centre? And then you have to hold and hold and hold and hold and hold … and hold and hold and hold … But think objectively about it: they are communicating — they are imparting information. Now, think about the classes that you enjoyed most during your formative years, whether school, college, or university. Which were the classes that you enjoyed the most? The interactive classes. Those classes where there was an exchange of information; where you could contribute to what was happening, whether it was just a joke or even some insight in the lecture. Please keep this in mind: communication is much more effective when there is an exchange of information and not just an impartation. Communication must be in place both to the inside (internally) and to the outside (externally) of the quarry for the quality management system to work. Let’s first look at internal communication. Internal communication The foundation for communication in any organisation lies with management. Management should define their vision for quality. The first step in realising a vision is to talk about it and to tell others about it. This is where the exchange of information should start. Get others’ input to help you refine the vision. The best suggestions often come from unexpected sources. Although talking is the first step in bringing a vision to fruition, management cannot stop at talking. The road must be mapped out. This is another instance where consultation is important. Too often management descends on their people with an idea to implement and then there are small practical things that were never taken into consideration that turn into stumbling QUARRY SA | MAY/JUNE 2019_37