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Making concrete decisions: Stevenson Group CEO Mark Franklin

Divina Paredes | May 2, 2014
Franklin shares insights from his varied experience as executive of companies on the supply and demand side of business and IT to lead the mining, concrete, engineering and agriculture group

From a group level, it is really about better reporting and business intelligence at the right levels. The business unit level is about productivity and cost/revenue.

The CEO and CIO working relationship

Mark Franklin: From a CEO perspective, one of the critical things is to at least try to stay on top of what is happening in trends in IT. If you don't, you miss out on so many areas.

I have my CIO on the executive team. We should be able to have a discussion at the executive level with somebody who is up to speed, saying, 'Listen, I can help you with that.' And that is the CIO. To me that is what it is all about and why it is critical for a CEO not to be a technical expert but to be open to what is going on in the world, what the trends are and getting advice all the time on that.

In a lot of companies IT is seen as a problem. People go to their computer and if does not work, it is an IT problem. So IT people get called up whenever there is a problem. If you have got a really good system that someone has implemented, people just use it.

CEO Mark Franklin and CIO Andries van der Westhuizen of Stevenson Group

I spend a lot of time with IT here. I tell them, "I want you to see yourself as a solution. So let us come up with stuff and not just because it might be interesting, but because it has a really good application."

Should we put automatic systems on trucks? Should we have GoPro (cameras) on the front of our trucks? Cars are cutting into our trucks on the motorway and are complaining. If we invested in some of this stuff that people might think are toys, they might actually save us a lot of time, energy and effort because we have got facts.

Most of the stuff we trial are things to do with mobile. What sort of information can we get on the mobile that we need? If I am down in Southland, and I need to know what is going on in Auckland, rather than checking my email or sending a text to my PA, what information would I like to have access to? Or, what has changed from yesterday to today? How do we put that in some sort of system? It is not just for me but everybody else can get access as well.

I don't think we are in any way near to trialling as many opportunities as we have got with existing technologies. We can move on and on. It is a bit like television, when do you buy the television? We have all this amazing amount of capability in our mobile device, I don't think we are in any way near to [maximising all of it].


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