KGHM – Finding experts among 30 000 employees
KGHM | Customer Stories

KGHM – Finding experts among 30 000 employees

KGHM Polish Copper is a global leader when it comes to the production of copper and silver. It employs 30,000 people on three continents: Europe, North, and South America. The capital group has about 30 companies and tens of locations in Poland alone - Lubin, Rudna, Polkowice, Głogów, Legnica, Wrocław, and Warsaw.

Knowledge and cooperation - these are the business pillars on which KGHM has been building a position of a leader for years, as the conditions for the mining and processing of ore, as well as the unique knowledge of the engineers. Hovewer, this knowledge is acquired over the years and scattered across many locations.

KGHM’s challenge

A huge challenge of KGHM is mining ore from deeper deposits. The deposits closer to the surface are running out. But the deeper into the ground, the harder the working conditions for people. Miners are already working below 1200 meters underground, which is associated with such difficult working conditions that the help of robots becomes a necessary lifesaver.

Automation of processes and the presence of robots are becoming more and more challenging. A challenge that can be faced mainly by engineers of KGHM who have unique knowledge about the mining conditions. How to find engineers with expertise in intelligent mining projects in a company with over 30,000 employees?

We knew we had 20 Intelligent Mine Experts

Agata Juzyk, Director of the Research and Innovation Department in KGHM

KGHM wanted to find experts in the intelligent mining field - people who have been working for years to make KGHM go deeper. All the people working on the automation of each stage of the production line were needed. This included people from across the organization and every location of the company.

This was associated with the management of tacit knowledge, which was in the minds of engineers and employees of the company. About 40% of knowledge in corporations is a tacit knowledge. The challenge for KGHM was to find it in the organization and increase access to it to accelerate the process of automation processes and reduce their costs.

Network Perspective @ KGHM

In the Network Perspective, KGHM has built a Network of Experts. It was not only about finding the best people, but also many smaller specialists in a particular expertise. Networks are extremely effective when it comes to this.

The snowball sampling method makes it possible to find hard-to-reach people quickly. Knowing the initial group of experts and asking them about work with other experts, KGHM scanned the entire organization and found several hundred experts in the field of intelligent mining.

Data about the cooperation of experts allowed for a quick assessment in which mines and departments knowledge flows and where there are no connections. In the app, the experts specified their work areas, competencies, and projects they were working on. With one click, you could reach all the people who are working on improvements towards an intelligent mine at every point of the ore mining and processing and learn their skills and projects.

On this basis, it was also possible to search and view groups of experts from each stage of the technological process with particular skills (communities of practice). For example, deposit recognition, horizontal transport, or ore processing.

The R&D department and each employee could quickly find people with knowledge about the automation of mining processes from each mine and company plant and see what they do to seek advice, decide on actions, or join a project team.

Effects

The initial group of experts known to the organization had 20 people. After 2 weeks, over 300 experts were known (1% of the employees of the company).

Each of the invited experts indicated his mentors and the people he cooperates with, thanks to which the network has grown significantly to over 300 experts who are connected by over 1,700 relations

Agata Juzyk, Director of the Research and Innovation Department in KGHM

They are engineers and specialists whose knowledge is priceless to the company. Many of them were going to retire in the coming years, so they began to pass on knowledge to younger employees so that the company would not lose their knowledge.

The network map can be filtered in any way, looking for experts with specific competences, working on particular projects, and verifying how communication between departments works. Both managers and employees have access to it

Agata Juzyk, Director of the Research and Innovation Department in KGHM

Data about the cooperation of experts allowed to find branches and locations where information flows and where it is missing. People who could improve the flow of knowledge were found in the app. Meetings for sharing knowledge were arranged, and joint projects between key department experts and experts already working inter-departmentally were established.

Access of experts to profiles of people from the same specialization but different locations made it easier for them to make contact and establish actions. Experts began to share knowledge - both at meetings and online. For most projects, it was known who to share knowledge about current activities and determine the points of work.

Sitting behind one table, precisely selected experts could quickly determine which technology projects are duplicated and which activities are mutually exclusive

Agata Juzyk, Director of the Research and Innovation Department in KGHM

Experts discovered many similar activities and projects that were carried out locally in different locations. Conversations allowed the resignation of some of the work and the engagement of people from various departments of the company into the remaining projects.

It was also found that expensive projects related to change of technology at one stage of the production line were mutually exclusive, with technology being introduced at another stage of production. These activities were unified at an early stage.

These and similar savings associated with changes in research and implementation projects were estimated at millions of PLN.

June 27, 2021

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