Arrie and Hendrik have been working together since 2009 in using principles from the Theory of Constraints, Narrative Inquiry and Visual Management to achieve breakthrough results. In 2013 they decided to partner in delivering improved Production Flow to the mining industry in Southern Africa. As a result of this association, they achieved exceptional results and jointly developed the Productivity Platform for mining.
In 2016 they were joined by D Robert Flynn to expand their focus from delivering purely operational interventions to helping mines become sustainable. The Productivity Platform is now delivered internationally.
They have discovered that the most powerful lever to achieve business success is to create a platform (not a change program) from where employees can deliver to their maximum potential while providing full visibility to senior management. They confirmed this conclusion over more than 80 successful interventions, in South America, Africa and Asia. Output increases of 10-50% were achieved, typically within 3-5 months.
Not only does Stratflow deliver exceptional operational and financial results in a very short period, but it also dramatically improves employee engagement. Ensuring continued success (once the consultants have left) requires maintaining good operational results through having highly engaged and energised employees. To achieve this the hard and soft aspects of the business need to be addressed simultaneously and in a synergistic manner.
The Stratflow PP intervention delivers on all of these requirements.
Arrie van Niekerk
Arrie van Niekerk is a specialist facilitator on Theory of Constraints and has been specialising in the Mining Industry for 15 years. During this journey, he has developed ways to improve both the physical Production Flow and the required People Behavior to enable significant results.
His approach, which he calls Production Flow, challenges regular cost and efficiency based thinking and replaces it with Flow and Holistic thinking.
He is recognised for a unique way to set up a daily Productivity Platform meeting to manage the short-term direction of operations and assists companies to structure a regular meetings framework that reduces the time spent in meetings as well as increasing its effectiveness.
He is a skilled Dialogue Facilitator and assists teams to develop clarity, accountability and attention to results.
Arrie was a Senior Executive at Iscor Limited & Iscor Mining in various settings, including Operations Management, R&D, Welding Technology and Engineering application of metals.
He is a Metallurgical Engineer and was trained in TOC early in the 1990’s.
In 2015 Arrie was a keynote speaker at the TOCICO world conference. The link displayed here is a 5 minute summary of his talk “A TOC Practitioner’s Story of 15 Years of TOC Applications in the Mining Industry“ which was rated by many as one of the best presentations ever. He is also known for the three bottle experiment which demonstrates the flow aspects of the Productivity Platform in mining.
Arrie van Niekerk
Hendrik completed his undergraduate studies with physics as one of his majors. Like most physicists, he tries to find the inherent simplicity or leverage points in systems.
By directing activities to these leverage points the average employee and team become capable of delivering outstanding results. He has dedicated his career to enabling companies to achieve organisational renewal and breakthrough performance.
Hendrik has extensive manufacturing experience working with industry leaders such as Sasol and Nampak, as well as in technical and operations roles at director level in medium sized companies. Later in his career, he became a business coach and and applied principles from the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to turn businesses around. Hendrik has a thorough understanding of the application of TOC as well as the various types of complexity one would encounter in the world of business. He has a keen eye for leadership and can identify the real challenges of a business and the business environment and then bring powerful solutions to the table. Many of these ideas are captured in his book titled “Drawing a new map: Doing the right things well through strategic learning and strategic alignment”, He also published a case study in the Goldratt (TOC) Journal “Leading people through change”.
He has lectured on complexity, production flow in mining, productivity and leadership at Universities, been interviewed by mining publications and published numerous articles. The last article was published in Australian Mining May 2017. Hendrik has an MSc Polymer Science(Cum Laude), MBA (distinction) Heriot Watt University and Mantoc certification in most areas of TOC. He is the former director of a manufacturing and distribution company.
Gary is a Canadian professional engineer with a Masters of Business Administration degree.
He has over 45 years of experience which began in the electric utility industry working in engineering, line operations, corporate consulting and training roles. He later joined Ernst & Young Consulting (now Capgemini Consulting) as a Senior Manager in Strategy & Transformation. Gary has operated his own independent consulting practice over the past decade focusing on complexity thinking and safety.
He is a training associate with Cognitive-Edge Inc. and co-authors and delivers complexity courses and workshops. Gary is a regular contributor on the safetydifferently.com website. Past notable facilitator certifications include FranklinCovey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Edward de Bono Six Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking, and Aubrey Daniels Advanced Performance Management. Gary has been a Stratflow Associate since 2019.
Following original training in economics and organisational psychology, Robert worked for ten years in a variety of both OD and line management roles in multinational corporations. He left corporate employment in 1990, joining with others to form a boutique strategy consulting firm. After seven years of consulting to a wide range of public and private sector enterprises, he realised he needed further professional development to prepare for the next stage of his career.
He began mature-age study in philosophy, going on to complete a PhD in critical thinking. This work, in turn, led to a developing interest in the arena of complexity, and more specifically into the challenges facing decision-makers working under conditions of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. He resumed his consulting work in 2001 as an independent contractor, concentrating on projects that required specialist input on the unravelling of social, political, geo-political and cultural complexity.
Since then most of his assignments have involved problem-solving and knowledge management across five sectors: oil & gas, mining, energy, construction, and government. Besides Australia, he worked on projects in the US, Canada, UK, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, PRC, UAE, Chile and NZ.
Recurring themes in his work include:
The identification and elimination of systemic risk exposure
The design and implementation of strategies to resolve so-called ‘wicked problem’ conditions
The design and implementation of strategies to achieve HRO capability (High Reliability Operation)
Cultural transformation planning for both the pre and post corporate merger environments
Reconciling and aligning the expectations and aspirations of diverse stakeholders in both trans-national and trans-cultural contexts
The creation, management and retention of ‘mission-critical’ knowledge, for both operational and succession purposes
The re-calibration of business models to fit the demands of a more volatile and uncertain business environment
Robert did his economics and psychology studies at Trinity College Dublin, and his philosophy work at the State University of New York and the University of Tasmania. He holds both EU and Australian passports and can converse proficiently in Spanish and German. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, where they are close to their adult children and grandchildren.