Neven Matthews Contingency Plan
Our Oxylance tube and Wirepak thermic lance tubes are strategic and safety critical products.
This note summarizes the plans we have in place to respond to situations that affect our ability to produce and deliver what our customers require.
Hot-Rolled Steel Coil is sourced from Arcelor Mittal South Africa. It is also available in the open market from many sources. Neven Matthews keeps buffer stock holding of mother coil, finished slit coil and finished product for 2 months usage. Coil is slit to the required widths on site so we can make many different products using one input material. A supply interruption at Mittal will directly threaten our ability to produce. Two months should be sufficient time to locate alternative sources. If a customer needs a longer buffer stock arrangement this can easily be arranged but carries a holding and financial cost.
Manufacturing induction-welded steel tube is power-intensive with each line needing 300 kW. Power is sourced via Emalahleni Municipality who buy it from Eskom. We have experienced outages due to load-shedding by Eskom and also due to failure of the local distribution network. 2 x 850 kVA Of diesel-powered generator for back-up has been installed which can operate our plant at 100% capacity or alternatively and more importantly operate all three lance tube mills at 100% capacity. If an extended power outage of many months occurs we can run longer hours.
2 x 850 kVA Standby diesel generator can run 100% of our facilities or alternatively 3 lance tube mills at 100 % capacity.
We source water from the local council. Lack of water will stop production. We have storage tanks sufficient for one week of usage and a bore-hole to provide back-up. We have experienced contamination in the municipal water supply which can cause serious illness. Young children and the elderly are particularly threatened by bacteria in water. We installed a water purifier system and all employees are encouraged to take purified and safe water home for their families.
Our labour relationships involve NUMSA and SEIFSA, and we fall under a National Agreement. We have been affected by strike action in the past. Our drivers have been assaulted at customer premises and trucks damaged. The only effective way we know to manage these unpredictable situations safely is to plan ahead to avoid placing our people in harm’s way. We have made arrangements with customers to deliver product ahead of time when periods of unrest are possible. It is fortunate that our products can be stored for long periods under cover and with customer agreement plans can be made to mitigate the consequences of an extended labour dispute.
Historically our people have specific areas of work which align with the wage agreements that we fall under. We are inviting our people to cross-train to achieve the skills to do a variety of activities, and hope that this will allow us to respond better to customer needs.
Data and Finance
Data is stored off-site and backed up daily. Loss of our computers and server will be an inconvenience but not a threat. Our auditors’ offices are remote from our plant and could be used for administration if our offices have a disaster.
Our employee-owned business is normally internally funded by the parent company and would not be threatened by withdrawal of overdraft facilities. We have used one bank for 35 years and they have handled banking services safely for that period. They have contingency plans in place. Our funding allows us to hold stock of finished product in excess of the normal 45 days expected by our customers.
Plant and Equipment
Our process includes receiving material, slitting, tube-mills, warehousing and delivery. We have one 20-ton slitter and one 10-ton slitter. Coil slitting can be out sourced if any of the slitting lines go down unexpectedly. Lance tube is made on 3 dedicated lines, each of which can make the popular sizes. Our transport fleet of 6 trucks has a combined load capacity of approximately 100 tons. Our contingency plan for equipment is to have spare capacity, or to be able to outsource the activity.
Security and Material Control
Theft and fraud threaten all businesses. We attempt to manage these threats by using third party security surveillance, multiple cameras throughout the plant and surroundings, high voltage perimeter fencing and walls, canine patrols and armed response at night. To better track and check material entering and leaving the premises a 50 ton 20 meter long weighbridge was installed in June 2015.
Wall of Honour
“Sense of Place” and ownership is the objective of a memorial garden in the factory grounds. Over 50 people who contributed their skills to making tube in Witbank are no longer alive. This wall gives us a place to pay our respects to them.
It is hoped that security and safety will be improved through a better sense of connection to “work”.