This success story is extracted from a chapter of my book "Performance through Learning", and describes how a Peer Assist at De Beers delivered a value of tens of millions of Rands
"Central Mines was one of the areas identified before the workshop as a potential pilot area for De Beers. Dieter Haage, the general manager at one of the larger mines, Finsch mine, already saw the potential of Knowledge Management but at that point did not have a clear idea of how he would implement it. That was partly why the December workshop had been so powerful; it had provided the mines with a toolkit and an implementation plan.
"Bruce Emerton had been identified as the potential knowledge manager for Finsch, and Bruce had attended the workshop. Bruce identified a couple of options for the application of KM, one of which was to hold a Peer Assist on the subject of earth-moving equipment. Finsch was about to invest heavily in earth-moving equipment, and wanted to draw on the knowledge and experience of the other mines first, and evolve the relationship with the chosen supplier through sharing knowledge to improve the outcome for mutual benefit. In some ways the peer assist was held later than would have been the ideal point, but the level of sharing was still very high, and some crucial knowledge and insights were exchanged during the breakout groups within the peer assist. The facilitator calculated that there were over 240 man years of knowledge and experience present in the room, all of which could be brought to bear on Finsch’s issues.
"Bruce believes that this knowledge has helped deliver R80 million in added value for Finsch mine. Again, this was a crucial early win for De Beers, and particularly valuable in that it delivered a hard monetary benefit in an area of strategic focus, namely underground mining. A similar peer assist for Premier mine proved equally successful in providing the Premier team with collective insight into how to improve current and future operational performance".