Aspasa has found that quality should be placed at the forefront of divisional managers’ key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to avoid conflict. To achieve the consistency that modern construction sites require, aggregate producers need to embrace quality across all areas of their quarrying operations, says Saartjie Duvenhage, chairperson of Aspasa’s (Architectural Packages Africa) technical committee on Quality Management.

“Cooperation and communication are the key ingredients to delivering aggregates that conform to standards. Authority should also be vested in those responsible for maintaining quality at every step of the process – from the pit, to production, transport and ultimately sales and delivery of the product,” says Saartjie.

Inferior products could be the result of a slip at any one of the stages, thereby undermining efforts to achieve consistent quality. The ultimate responsibility should therefore be with the managers of these departments who should have the authority to halt the process at any stage if there is a deviation from the set requirements.

“It is easy to see how conflict can arise when you look at a typical operation. Production staff are often preoccupied with pushing production, sales staff with pushing sales and logistics staff making arrangements to store and transport the aggregates. On the other end, you have the quality inspectors and laboratories ‘slowing’ down the process and getting in the way of reaching targets,” says Saartjie.

Aspasa has found that quality should be placed at the forefront of divisional managers’ key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to avoid conflict. Quality aggregates benefit the entire company – they offer marketers something unique to sell and give the brand a good reputation.

“It does not help to have lots of product if your market is diminishing because you are losing clients through quality concerns. Nowadays, buyers in construction firms are increasingly being tasked with finding quality rather than the cheapest materials. The aggregates industry is now being judged on quality as much as it is on price. Therefore, the channels of communication between seller and buyer need to be clear to ensure the right product is delivered at the right price. If for whatever reason there is a variation in quality, this also needs to be communicated to the client who may either make allowance for the variation or not use the product until the situation is remedied,” says Saartjie.

Quality inspectors and laboratory staff tasked with the monitoring of aggregates must be empowered to act and communicate directly with managers to make well informed decisions.

“Ultimately, if quality can be improved it will influence the entire operation positively in terms improved income and better long term relationships,” concludes Saartjie.

For more information, contact Aspasa on +27 (11) 791 3327 or via www.aspasa.co.za.