The VBKOM Industrial and Systems Engineering division is driven by its goal to optimise complex processes and systems. Our service offering includes:
It focusses on improving and integrating people, processes, technology and infrastructure on capital intensive projects as well as operations.
This is done within our industrial engineering service offering framework that is depicted in the following illustration:
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Within projects there are options that should be compared and selected against specific criteria. Making the right decisions without being able to envision the complete eco-system wherein the project will operate can prove challenging.
Some clients make use of pilot plants to test options and help make informed decisions which may be fairly expensive. VBKOM assists clients to make these difficult decisions with the use a set of decision support tools.
The tools provided are:
Simulation models allow clients to solve a specific problem or test specific assumptions. Others prefer to use the model as way of identifying new options and solutions to the project.
Once the environment/framework model is created, the simulation will show how interfacing departments and systems will react. Projects can test capacity assumptions and identify constraints with a low cost iterative process until an optimised solution is reached.
Using simulations therefore reduces the number of design rework cycles that traditionally plague projects which cause unplanned redesign costs and in some unfortunate cases rework costs of constructed infrastructure.
Capital-intensive projects are mostly driven by cost decisions. The cost inputs are normally provided by multiple disciplines and must be packaged into a financial model where different options can be tested.
VBKOM packages the cost models from various disciplines into standard cost templates. It then compiles the financial model with production and sales information as well as the specific country tax and royalty calculations in order to calculate the discounted cash flow as a result of the financial model. Once the discreet financial model is approved by the client, the uncertainties in key cost drivers are identified through facilitated work sessions.
The uncertainties are modeled through Monte Carlo simulations to establish the expected NPV and cost ranges, given the uncertainties as well as the sensitivities of the financial model to specific cost drivers.
This provides the client with a complete view of the expected worst, mean and best case scenario for different cost options on typical financial indicators such as net present value, investment return rate and payback periods. The cost per production unit is also evaluated against the price for a unit in order to establish viability of the project.
The risks associated with each option are evaluated through a qualitative risk assessment process whereby the uncertainties of achieving the project objectives are identified for each option through a set of specific facilitation techniques. They are then rated and the potential mitigation or treatment actions identified with its associated costs.
These risks, that can be seen as opportunities or threats, are then compared with each option to establish the risk profile of the different options in order to inform key decision makers on the risks that must be considered when making decisions.
Quantitative risk analysis is also performed on schedule and cost estimates through the use of Monte Carlo simulations where the uncertainties in durations, quantities and rates are simulated to determine the expected estimate ranges and the contingency required to obtain confidence in the final estimate values.
Options are modeled with probabilistic branch techniques and ‘what-if’ scenarios in order to compae the various options and obtain a quantitative view that is not only based on financial results, but also considers other intangible variables and risks.
Client data is analysed and structured in such a manner that business trends can be evaluated with the capability to drill down into the detailed causes for the trends.
In many projects the design engineer is required to do value engineering on their own designs. This is like asking a pupil to mark his own test. We also find that integration with all the end-state users (owners) of projects is often put on the “back burner”. This results in scenarios where operations are not ready or do not want to accept handover of new facilities.
The result is a long protracted handover and rework costs that companies cannot afford in today’s tough economic climate. VBKOM provides the following services that will assist clients to deal with these scenarios:
This is a discipline that represents the project owner interests and ensures that the project stakeholders are engaged at an early stage to make sure that a fit-for-purpose solution is put on the table and that the end-user requirements are built into the design from the start. Operational readiness deals with the so-called “soft” issues and plans for aspects such as:
The evaluation of existing or new logistic channels for product distribution and inbound material supplies with techniques to optimise the turn-around times and utilisation of existing infrastructure.
Assisting clients to properly manage expensive assets, by addressing asset configuration and maintenance management gaps, in their existing business practices.
With the pressure currently being felt with all commodity prices, it is imperative that the fat that has crept into operational processes over the past years is removed in order to run lean and cost effective processes. This is a core industrial engineering function and VBKOM can therefore deliver the following services to improve your operations:
Before you know where you want to go, it is important to know where you are currently. VBKOM therefore recommends that the as-is process and maturity level of a business is clearly understood before the to-be design is done. Depending on the complexity of the operation, the detail level of the process mapping can be tailored according to client needs.
A gap analysis with recommendations on the steps required to achieve the next maturity level will be a typical output. We use the IDEF methodology to ensure that all inputs, outputs, controls and mechanisms are addressed.
Once the business process is understood, the current performance must be measured in order to set improvement goals. VBKOM performs tried and tested time study methods to establish current cycle times, but also makes use of GPS tool kits to log equipment movement times and analyse historic dispatch data in order to establish baseline performance.
VBKOM combines ToC and simulation techniques to establish bottlenecks in the system and simulate the different options to alleviate bottlenecks and improve overall throughput . We therefore do not need to wait for real life implementation in order to test theories, but can already provide the client with expected results with the use of simulations.
We make use of the productivity improvement tools such as lean, 6 Sigma, benchmarking and many more techniques to optimise operational processes while ensuring sustainability.
Industrial Engineering Brochure
Industrial Engineering Brochure (French)
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Margariet was born in Pretoria, but her family moved around quite often to various mining towns, and she lived in Kathu, Durnacol, Rosh Pinah, and Thabazimbi.
Before venturing into Industrial Engineering, Margariet dreamt of becoming a fashion designer. She lives out her passion for fashion design at home, where she creates beautiful dance costumes for her daughter. Margariet jokingly shares, “I can really create art with fabric and a sewing machine.”
So when it came to deciding on her career path, Margariet says that her parents raised her to be brave, to pay attention, and to question the world around her. She really enjoyed High School Maths and Science, and she wanted to challenge herself by applying her mind to solving problems.
Within the VBKOM setting, Margariet gets to transform something strong into something superb alongside a team of individuals who collectively strive for excellence.
Margariet shares that the most satisfying part of her career is “being able to create something original of great quality and value which really makes a difference in a client’s world.”
Margariet is the proud mother of two boys and one girl, and she and her husband like taking the family rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking where they can appreciate the beauty of nature.
Suzaan is one VBKOM’s more reserved team members, and she feels quite strongly about keeping her private life private. That said, she still makes time for a good laugh every now and again, and she is an excellent conversationalist.
The Tzaneen-raised Suzaan did not have a clear career path cut out for her until she visited the University of Pretoria’s EBIT (Engineering, Built Environment & IT) Week for high school students. She shares that Industrial Engineering stood out the most and that they saw some interesting projects relating to the different engineering disciplines.
Suzaan enjoys working with numbers and data, especially translating it into useful information for her clients. She has created many customised dashboards and database solutions and especially welcomes working with software tools that enable such work.
She would also like to travel the world, and her bucket list of countries she really would like to visit include Europe, the United States, and Australia.
Suzaan is a very loyal person, and once you have made a friend in her, you will have a friend for life. She likes spending time with friends, family, and her three baby cats as much as she can.
Pretoria born and bred Jako has always known that he wants to venture into the engineering field. His brother has been the most influential when it came to making the decision on Industrial Engineering.
He is a big believer in measuring twice, and only cutting once, and he shares, “Never take short cuts, because that just leads to problems later on. Rather do something right the first time.”
In the near future, Jako looks forward to starting his Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and growing his knowledge and skills even further within this space.
Jako has a great drive to ensure client satisfaction, and to add value to each project he takes on.
Outside of the office, Jako is the proud father of an 18-month old son with his beautiful wife Sune. They share their home with two golden retrievers, which form an integral part of his immediate family.
He has a great passion for woodworking, gardening, fishing, and hiking, and will challenge anyone who is willing to a Ping Pong match or Clay Pigeon Shooting.
I am led by my future view of having a meaningful impact on businesses' viability and sustainability and finding new opportunity and business potential. My focus and involvement take place on multiple levels of the functional layered model, from the development and alignment of strategy within the environment being operated in, down to the functional level where productivity, optimisation, innovation, quality and human capital sits at the core of product delivery.
My passion and areas of motivation cover innovation, process management and optimisation, human capital productivity and development. This is expanded into business improvement, business rescue, capital excellence, conceptualisation and business case development. I have a profound enthusiasm for project and functional team relationships and team symbiosis, business fundamentals, risk/value design and decision making, concept, pre-feasibility, feasibility studies (FEL1,2,3), and facility planning.
I build understanding of real and sustainable value creation vs short term advancement destroying long term value. This I look for in evaluating a total system in contrast to the improvement of individual parts.
My industry operating space is diverse through business and technical acumen, industrial engineering intuition, managerial insight, project thinking, applying fundamental system approaches to problems and solutions. I am comfortable operating in areas such as mining, mineral to market value chain, iron making, manufacturing, logistics, transport, technology, facility layout, aerospace, engineering, asset management, management consulting, small business and information technology.
I am a confident communicator with strong interpersonal and analytical skills who thrives on team interaction and shared purpose. I am an adaptable, relentless and articulate project manager with a broad knowledge base, comfortable in interacting with all professional disciplines, across different industries.
Strauss was born in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal but grew up in Polokwane, Limpopo. His childhood dreams have always been to become an engineer, or if all else failed, a doctor.
Engineering is such a diverse field of study and when Strauss had to make decisions on his career path, he relied on what comes naturally to him, and shares, “my passion is to instill structure and optimize any environment in which I may find myself.” This led him to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Pretoria, where improvement of processes is key.
Strauss has a ‘never quit' attitude to any problem he is faced with, and one of the lessons he learned at a young age was that with tenacity and determination, anything can be achieved by breaking it down into achievable steps.
Strauss is a family man, and he says, “I believe that balance is the fuel that drives my engine, and I, therefore, place my family as my first priority.” Strauss enjoys spending time with his wife and two beautiful children as often as he can.
He is very passionate about sport, and he appreciates watching a game of rugby. When taking some time out, he also likes to play a bit of tennis and golf and has taken part in a few of the VBKOM 4-ball golf games that he has been invited to.
Tiaan visited the University of Pretoria during an open day, knowing he wanted to venture into engineering, but not yet sure in which field. A presentation on Statistics and Business by Professor Paul Kruger was the final tip of the scale for Tiaan to pursue a career in Industrial Engineering.
He joined the VBKOM-family in 2014, and shares, “I am utterly euphoric about the work I do as an Industrial Engineer because it allows me to support and improve businesses.” One of the most satisfying aspects of Tiaan’s career is being able to work with inspirational people using simplistic tools, like Excel, to solve complex problems.
Apart from being a solution finder, Tiaan loves the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. He has the ability to rally excitement and enthusiasm in others with the ideas he has for a better future.
At home, Tiaan is husband to his lovely wife, Andrea, and father to his precious little girl, Adeleine. Becoming a father has been one of the most joyous moments in his life. Tiaan’s family welcomed another bundle of joy, a son Edrich, in 2020.
Tiaan is a self-confessed ‘Foodie’ who enjoys tasting the cuisines from places he travels to and appreciates events where food and wine are paired that enhance the dining experience.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | Gideon van Zyl
We at Sehlare Sa Meetlwa partner locally with mining houses in the Northern Cape and offer our clients full EPCM services for their capital management requirements.
Friday, July 10, 2020 | Chantelle van der Walt
The Industrial Engineering team that focuses on improving and integrating people, processes, technology and infrastructure in capital intensive projects and operations.