ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT–Nova Scotia Destination of Choice forCreditek A newly established business process outsourcing operation islooking to hire more than 100 financial and accounting employeesfor its Halifax location over the course of the next year. NewJersey-based Creditek Corporation manages receivables for anumber of Fortune 1500 companies that include leaders in theconsumer packaged goods and health-care sectors. Creditek’s Halifax location marks the company’s first Canadianoperations. “We are pleased that Creditek has made Nova Scotiatheir first Canadian choice for growth, and it speaks well of thebusiness advantages that exist in our province,” said EconomicDevelopment Minister Ernie Fage. “Creditek places a high value onthe education level of our workforce and, by choosing NovaScotia, they are helping us send a strong message to theinternational business community that we’re an excellent locationfor business.” “We are extremely pleased with the talent we are attracting inHalifax,” said Regina Paolillo, president and CEO of Creditek.”Our planned growth requires a workforce that is well educated,experienced, energetic, innovative and customer focused. That’swhy we chose Halifax as a partner and location for our firstoffshore service centre and we couldn’t be happier with theresults.” Creditek has signed a four-year payroll rebate agreement withNova Scotia Business Inc. that will see the company set upinitial operations in Halifax and explore another expansionoutside of Halifax in year two of the agreement. Should thecompany meet all of its obligations, and create up to 240 jobs inthe process, it will be eligible to receive $1.7 million over thecourse of the agreement. “Business process outsourcing companies like Creditek present amajor opportunity for us because outsourcing has become the normfor many U.S.-based businesses,” said Stephen Lund, president andCEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc. “Our province is well positionedas an outsourcing alternative to locations in India and Chinabecause we lack the geopolitical risks, we share the same cultureas the United States, and our workforce measures up with anylocation in the world.” Creditek staff require a college diploma or university degree inbusiness or accounting, or several years of experience in theindustry. The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) providedinitial workplace training for staff in Creditek’s appliedcustomer service training. “NSCC believes it’s important to be proactive in businessdevelopment activity that impacts the economic progress of NovaScotia,” said Ken Jones, dean, customized training and part-timeStudies, NSCC. “We can provide various levels of trainingincluding curriculum development and delivery, which we customizeto meet the needs of individual business operations –telecommunications, customer service and management are threespecific areas of focus.” For more information on employment opportunities with Creditek,contact Sharon Ayres at 1-800-216-4000 ext. 333 or via e-mail [email protected] . Nova Scotia Business Inc. is the province’s business developmentagency, an organization that works with companies to providebusiness solutions. The private sector-led agency works toattract new businesses to the province and help those already inNova Scotia expand through services such as export developmentand financing.
Semafo is partnering with the government of Burkina Faso to undertake a prefeasibility study to construct a 20 MW solar power station to generate electricity. Semafo is a Canadian-based mining company with gold production and exploration activities in West Africa. It currently operates three gold mines in Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea. The first phase of this endeavour in Mali will be carried out as part of Semafo’s ongoing corporate responsibility program in close collaboration with the government of Burkina Faso. This important partnership is aimed at stimulating and sustaining the country’s socio-economic development, by increasing the national electrical production capacity, thereby availing the population to a more adequate, low cost electricity supply.“On behalf of the president and government of the country, Burkina Faso’s Minister for the Mines and Energy, Mr.Abdoulaye Abdoulkader CISSE, and Mr. Lucien Marie Noël Bembamba, Minister of Economic and Financial Affairs expressed great confidence in our company,” said Elie Justin Ouedraogo, Semafo’s National director, Burkina Faso. “The company has always striven to be a good corporate citizen and remains committed to making a significant contribution and improving the quality of life in the communities in which we operate.” Under this agreement, the government of Burkina Faso in collaboration with Semafo will undertake the necessary studies to move forward toward the realisation of this important project.
“Safety is not a ‘bolt-on’ – it’s an integral, vital part of the entire business management process and the personal responsibility of each individual.” This statement by Koos Oosthuizen, Risk Executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation, helps explain how the company has achieved its impressive safety record of three million fatality-free shifts at Kroondal platinum mine. Don’t forget the big safety fature in IM’s June issue.Almost unheard-of in the mining industry, this exceptional feat has been attained in just under three years. “Safety and associated safety systems should never be stand-alones,” Oosthuizen continues. “Safety is embedded in every aspect of the organisation and a natural part of production. It is implicit in our entire business management system and infuses every activity from procurement to rockface and final production.”A number of tightly interwoven factors have led to this shift to a culture and mentality of safety, not only for the individual himself, but for his colleagues and team mates. The ‘Care’ philosophy lies at the foundation of the approach. “Care stands for Contribute, Add Value, Respect and Energise,” Schalk Kruger, Risk Co-ordinator, explains. “It might sound quite abstract, but in essence it focuses on recognising the value and importance of each individual and his role in the work process.”“We’ve moved away from the remote impartial authority concept to more personalised behaviour that is integrated into our three-sided ‘procedures/training/coaching’ principle,” Oosthuizen adds. “Underlying this is the importance of knowing the individuals who work with and for you, knowing something about their lives and what is precious to them, knowing them by name and making yourself approachable and available to them. This encourages everyone to become more personally involved in the lives and safety of others.”Complementing the drive to implement the best procedures and systems and to empower each individual to do his job are the pre-shift meetings where participation is strongly encouraged. “Communication is key to promoting and sustaining the safety ethic,” Kruger stresses. “Through regular ‘Safety flash’ briefs, cartoon illustrations and considerable informal monitoring, every person is engaged at a personal level. This recognition of the individual and the importance of his contribution builds solid self-respect and respect for others. In turn, this enhances pride in personal performance and incentivises people to strive for the maximum.”Murray & Roberts’ Stop.Think campaign, based on the principle “think before you act”, birthed the perspective of “Do the right work right the first time” slogan, which applies from the highest echelons to the lowliest worker.“The active participation of management and the labour force in the Stop.Think safety campaign, coupled with the active implementation of the Cardinal Rules resulted in the entrenchment of our ultimate goal of ‘Zero Harm’,” Kruger says.He says the Stop.Think campaign is continually revived through personal two-way communication and interaction throughout the organisation, and is supported by an open door policy. “This is further strengthened through our policy of personal identification where each individual in the company wears a name tag, removing the age old barrier of management and worker.”In addition, the close involvement and interaction between Aquarius Platinum, organised labour and Murray & Roberts Cementation, and the clear understanding of each role player’s responsibility and accountability towards the strive for ‘Zero Harm’ has played a major role in achieving this remarkable milestone.“We also lay great score on learning from the mistakes of others,” continues Kruger. “Information sharing is a crucial part of our process, analysing accidents that have occurred not only in our operations, but in those of other companies at home and abroad, assessing the risks and putting measures in place to ensure that we can prevent them.”“We need to understand that this milestone is one of many that must still be met on the road eliminating all injuries,” Freddie Geldenhuys, Project Executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation, says. “We are, however, very proud that going home safely has become the norm and not an achievement at Kroondal and Marikana.”