Case Study

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After John Gemersall satisfied review of the company’s performance, Rod Burn knew that it had taken hard work to get the Kambuku process to this point and it would take even harder work to maintain and improve it.

Events leading to this point….
The situation was what Blackbeard described as a “burning platform”. The company had destroyed some serious shareholder value. After a series of board meetings and consultation with Deloitte and touché it was decided that value based management would be the heart beat of everything they did. John Blackbeard then set a target that within the next two years they would reach a cash flow return on investment (CFROI) of 8% (from current 4%). PPC management knew that it would serve no purpose to ask the organisation to improve the CFROI. Rather, it would have to translate the numbers into behaviours. Having agreed on the CFROI target, PPC embarked on a reverse engineering exercise to analyse exactly what would have to change in the way the company operated to achieve it.

A swot analysis was done in order to determine the factors that Rob Burn had to watch for and those he could build on to ensure that the process didn’t loose momentum.

In February 2000, the Kambuku team of Pretoria Portland Cement got together in the Kambuku 'war room' to plan the way forward for the project. Most of them were engineers by profession and some of them were factory managers.

Knowing very well that the VBM program sounded very seductive and seemed like a miracle cure it required a fundamental change in the organisational culture. The marketing and communications agency was assigned to conduct a survey amongst PPC employees to see how they saw management’s practices. In its presentations it was clear that the staff were willing to buy into the process if they understood how they could make a difference in the business.

Further discovery by the MCA revealed that there were 4 types of people in the organisation. ➢ Champions (29%) - People who were both will and able to give their best support ➢ Bystanders (5%) - Those who understood organisational gaols, but lacked the emotional drive to support them ➢ Loose cannons (21%) - Those who were highly motivated to support the organisation’s goals, but lacked a clear understanding of what these goals were and how to achieve them. ➢ Weak links (45%) - People who at best were waiting to be engaged by the organisation and its goals and at worst, had already completely switched off.


The MCA survey had paved the way for the roll out of the Kambuku project and the way forward.

Role of Kambuku:
The role of Kambuku was to investigate and define the issues constraining performance at each site and to be the architects and instigators of the new systems and processes required to institutionalise the value creation in the work place.

Communication findings:
➢ Overall communication was found to be poor and management effectiveness seemed ineffective.

One of the fundamental findings of the survey highlighted what the employees wanted and how they viewed PPC.

The employees wanted:
➢ Better teamwork
➢ More people orientation management
➢ The opportunity to show what they could do
➢ A better chance of promotion from within

Management said they wanted:
➢ Improved communication between managers and staff and between the different PPC sites. ➢ Better access to information to inform the management process ➢ More active participation in decision making, so that they could feel ownership of and commitment to the company ➢ Better succession planning

➢ Information from senior management on long term plans for the company, instead of short term plans they currently received.

At this point PPC had upgraded the company’s machinery and IT systems and the organisation could not get much more out of its operational systems. The survey had clear indications that employees...
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