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SUPPLIERS/REFINERIES/CUSTOMERS: VERTICALLY INTEGRATED TEAMS

Clafin, J.K.

Alumina quality - how to achieve it. Good quality alumina - that product which customers want and are willing to pay for - is not simply processed bauxite. Rather it is bauxite processed carefully using both internal and external resources to produce alumina to meet the customers' needs.

The key resources are people. Many work for the refineries, others work for the customer, still others are associated with the suppliers of equipment, materials and/or technology. If one of these groups of people are not focused on nor trying to achieve good quality alumina, then the task of making good quality alumina becomes much more difficult or even impossible.

The use of "vertically integrated teams" ensures that suppliers, refineries and customers are informed of the objectives and work in a co-ordinated fashion to achieve those objectives. Despite being employed by different companies the goals are shared as are responsibilities and authorities to reach these goals.

Because of the relatively large diverse nature of this type of team the use of a "driver" and a administrator/facilitator are important. The driver maintains project momentum and the focus on 'the end goal. The administrator/facilitator maintains the quality systems and the coordination of resources. The result is a Total Quality Management approach with high quality quick results.

This paper presents how these teams operate, how to manage and train the members and what benefits can be expected by all participants. Some of the concepts may already be written into existing project procedures. This paper demonstrates how to obtain timely practical results.