Designed to train customer-facing Weir Minerals Africa employees, the company’s Mill Circuit University (MCU) equips its learners with the fundamental knowledge to better understand the end-users’ processes and to switch employees’ mindsets from selling products, to focusing on selling solutions.
“This innovative initiative is ensuring that customer-facing personnel are well-equipped with the basic knowledge and fundamentals. The MCU has changed the way we do things,” says Weir Minerals Africa principal process engineer Teddy Malunga, who has been heading up the MCU for the past three years.
In conversation with Mining Weekly, he explains that the MCU course – which was established in 2016 – is designed to focus on neurolinguistic programming, sales techniques, and includes an introduction to minerals processing.
The minerals processing component of the course is accredited by the University of Pretoria (UP), says Malunga, who adds that it is worth two continuing professional development points. Candidates are, however, expected to sit an exam at the end of the minerals processing lectures to qualify for this accreditation.
“So far, everyone who has attended the MCU, has passed it, with some candidates passing with distinction, which gives us the assurance that we’re focusing on the right areas,” Malunga comments.
Through this approach, the MCU aims to bridge the gap between different Weir Minerals Africa departments to try and assist employees in understanding “how each department’s roles and responsibilities affect other departments and, overall, our customers”.
With regard to its learners, regional directors, and general/branch and product managers at the company are required to nominate candidates to attend the MCU.
A maximum of 30 candidates can be accommodated during one course, which is offered up to three times a year over a five-day period.
The course is also designed to accommodate at least 70% of customer-facing personnel and 30% administrative personnel.
However, in an effort to enhance networking between colleagues and departments, the course is held at a secure venue and all candidates are expected to stay at the venue for the duration of the course, Malunga says.
Candidates are invited from the Africa and Middle East region, and presenters are from both within and outside the company.
In addition, an awards dinner with the Weir Minerals Africa management team is held on the fourth day of the programme and certificates are issued out to the candidates. The course also includes surprise team-building activities during the week and all attendees are expected to participate.
A visit to the UP Material Science and Metallurgical Engineering Department on the last day completes the activities, as the engineering department helps candidates to visualise what they learnt during the MCU and understand the integration of all discussed aspects and the linkages, on a practical basis.
As a prerequisite for attending the MCU, candidates need to complete 15 courses across a variety of specialties, such as crushing equipment, minerals processing, high-pressure grinding roller, slurry transportation and applied minerals.
“If you don’t do any one of these courses, you’re automatically disqualified from attending the course,” Malunga says.