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Paul Sturzaker is one of sixteen students undertaking Lean Management at Graduate Certificate level through the University of Tasmania (UTAS). Units forming the certificate are: Lean Thinking and Practice; Leading Value Stream Transformation and Change; Process Engineering, Improvement and Innovations; and Workplace Project.

The certificate has been developed in response to Mapping the Connections research, jointly undertaken on the North West Coast of Tasmania by Enterprise Connect and UTAS, during 2012/2013. In the research workplaces identified that future growth necessitated: skill development and training; greater collaboration; and process improvement.

Productivity Improvers Directors, Clynton Jaffray and Michael Bonney are part of the lecturing team delivering these units. Paul is the Manager of Downstream Processing at Grange Resources, Port Latta and we thank him for sharing his thoughts with Alana Jaffray, Business Development Manager at Productivity Improvers.

Alana: What made you decide to do the Lean Management Graduate Certificate course?

Paul: I wanted to add to my management toolkit, especially in regard to managing the effectiveness of my workplace and employees. I was looking for something really meaningful, effective and applicable to our workplace. I had previously heard of Lean Tools through networking and friends from industry that apply Lean. I wanted to know how Mining and Mineral Processing could leverage these tools in our industry.

Alana: In your current job role how has the course helped you with your work?

Paul: It has helped: to make us more cost effective and drive waste out of our business; to deliver a product that is of value to customers, both internally and externally;  to engage our workforce in  continuous improvement and positive culture; most importantly to provide the ability, vision and tools to take and make that journey work.

Alana: Has the course helped you outside of work?

Paul: It has, the outlook and mindset it has given me has changed how I set out the layout of my house, the appliances I choose and how I manage them. How I approach and teach my children things has also changed, even how we feed the dog has changed to be quicker and more efficient as we see opportunity.

Alana: What is the most important thing that you have learnt from doing the course?

Paul: To defy complacency and look for opportunity for improvement with passion.

Alana: Have there been any challenging moments during the certificate, if so, how have you overcome them?

Paul: I have struggled a little with work/life/study balance and would suggest for anyone that’s been away from study for some time, to perhaps seek advice or do an assignment writing course through UTAS. Clynton and Clayton have been very supportive on that basis too though.

Alana: What do you understand by the term “process improvement” and how is this related to the certificate?

Paul: I think we all take for granted as we conduct our roles on a daily basis, that things are the way they are and may have always been that way. But, whatever processes you have in your business, be it large or small, they can be improved. Improvements could be in: cost efficiency, better time management, improvement of parts and consumables, quality of your product, or meeting your customers’ expectations. Improving is now a constant cycle. It allows organisations to remain competitive in a world market whilst at the same time providing a better return to stakeholders and making sure our customers get what they want, every time.

Alana: Have there been networking opportunities from doing the course, if so explain.

Paul: There have, just yesterday four colleagues and I visited Southern Prospect after meeting the Managing Director and General Manager Operations through this course. The same group will visit HaulMax in the coming months. There is a real opportunity through this course and group to see Lean applied in different businesses and industries. The opportunity to share the journeys of other businesses is invaluable.

Alana: Who would you recommend enroll in the course for next year?

Paul: I’d recommend this course to anyone in upper and middle management level. It will open your eyes in so many ways: customer requirements; work place efficiencies, on so many levels; and how you teach, engage and prosper with a workforce all working towards a common goal.

If you would like to find out more about the certificate please contact the course coordinator, Clayton Hawkins, email