Cultivating a culture of innovation

By Greg Lane

3 min read

Chief Technical Officer, Greg Lane’s experience leading innovative practice.

Ausenco is a world leader in the cost-effective design and delivery of copper. We have successfully delivered cost effective projects at Gibraltar in Canada, Constancia in Peru, Lumwana in Zambia and Phu Kham in Laos.

We’re currently delivering OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena Project in South Australia and a copper concentrator as part of Marcobre’s Mina Justa Project in Peru.

Ausenco has always aspired to be a disruptor in the delivery of smart copper concentrator design. We seek entrepreneurial clients and commit to be a project delivery partner that works collaboratively to break paradigms and challenge what’s possible. Our repeated success provides compelling evidence that we can deliver on that commitment.

The most influential factor underpinning this success is ‘culture’. In my experience, it’s all about people, their knowledge and attitude. Where others find constraints imposed by attitudes to project development, our project teams are actively encouraged to challenge paradigms and protocols. Moreover, they:

  • Align with our client’s drivers
  • Challenge the scope at the right time
  • Address issues early
  • Reduce interfaces and complexity
  • Make decisions quickly
  • Have clear lines of accountability.

To be effective ‘disruptors’, our people need two things:

  1. Knowledge and
  2. Confidence.

If our people hope to take a minority opinion and convince the majority, they need to know what they’re talking about and back themselves with facts.

Our willingness to participate in open, honest and collaborative conversations and challenge each other helps build knowledge internally, but at the end of the day, confidence only comes with experience.

Graduate Electrical Engineer, Jason Bullock’s experience on the Carrapateena Project.

In joint venture with Downer, Ausenco is currently delivering OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena project on a fixed price EPC basis. As a member of the project’s electrical team, I share a responsibility to find innovative approaches that foster efficiency.

The way we use SmartPlant is a great example. This software integrates instrumentation and electrical design with other engineering disciplines and can save time and reduce implementation costs. We are integrating data from other engineering disciplines to identify electrical deliverables. This encourages collaboration, reduces silos and increases cooperation to ensure we can work with other disciplines and see easily how the different elements interact. For example, our systems provide me with immediate feedback if a change has been made that will affect electrical design.

We’re creating efficiency in other ways. For example, we have:

  • Integrated SmartPlant with other software to generate information about cable routes and lengths, providing accurate cable schedules that were previously produced by manual material take offs
  • Automated monotonous tasks such as creating wiring numbers and cross-referencing drawings
  • Obtained real time material take offs for cableway and conduits with more accurate data
  • Tracked all electrical quantities, providing us with valuable estimating data for future work
  • Established one source of truth. All drawings reference the same source data which reduces errors and rework.

Our approach also creates efficiencies for our joint venture construction partner on site. For example, we can produce construction drawings that automatically generate a full bill of materials required for delivery.

What’s most exciting for me is knowing that innovations on this project will be used to make our next project that much better. The systems and templates we develop for Carrapateena will be assessed and optimised based on project experience. Improvements will then be incorporated on the next project and taking part in that process builds knowledge and confidence.

Recent graduates seeking an opportunity to work with Ausenco can find out more here.