Elena Pleshkova, Director of Integrated Management System Implementation, has been with Polyus for around ten years. Before this, Elena spent 15 years working in accountancy for a number of private companies, law enforcement agencies and government organizations. Elena recently gave the following interview to Women in Mining Russia.
Everything fell into place
After graduating from the Northern International University with a degree in Construction Economics and Management, Polyus gave me my first professional opportunity in this area. I had previously worked in accounting for some smaller construction projects and by chance heard that Polyus Magadan was hiring., I thought that it sounded interesting and applied. Polyus hired me as a senior accountant for capital construction and I worked on Natalka, a major construction project. This was one of the biggest and most interesting projects I have worked on. I set up and supervised the accounts from the start of construction to the launch of the processing plant, and I was involved in developing the accounting methodology for the entire group. In 2015, I was promoted to Head Accountant, a role I held for three years. By this time, the Company was starting to centralize its accounting units under the «Shared Service Center». The Company considered moving them to the Shared Service Center or the SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) project once they were released from other projects. I chose the SAP ERP because I saw interesting opportunities there.
Polyus has supported me at all stages
I have always found my work at Polyus interesting. The Company is constantly developing and places an emphasis on professional development. Employees at Polyus Magadan receive a unique level of exposure and experience, seeing how different areas of the organization operate. I am a perfect example: I joined the Company as an accountant, was promoted and was then offered the opportunity to work in digital transformation.
Experiences working at a production site
As an accountant, you can quantify every business unit’s performance, every stage of production and the Company as a whole. From a digital transformation perspective, there’s so much to analyze. Even when an idea is conceived, we need to understand exactly what it is that we want to improve and what the benefits would be for the Company before it can be implemented. Sometimes even the smallest, seemingly insignificant, changes can lead to major economic benefits.
What I find interesting about working for a major gold mining company is the fact that that there are multiple internal processes constantly interacting with one another.
When I see a haul truck moving in an open pit, I know what on-board computer it has, what data it is processing, where this data goes and how it is used. I also understand how data is collected into a single flowchart at each stage of production, going from one system to another and eventually incorporated into the Company’s accounts. I know who is monitoring the technical conditions of the equipment and how they do it, as well as how much work is involved. Everything is interconnected.
Another thing I like about working for a mining company is that you meet lots of highly trained professionals who have gained experience in various local and foreign companies, making for an interesting workplace.
The Director’s role in implementing the management system
Since 2018, our main project has been deploying the SAP ERP system. This is an important step towards creating a shared information system within Polyus, the central component of which is an advanced ERP system, connecting all of the Polyus Group.
This is the biggest digital transformation in Polyus’ history, and includes a range of state-of-the-art technologies. A lot of the projects that would have been implemented as standalone IT projects are now being introduced as components of the ERP system, such as the Warehouse Management system, the Equipment Repairs and Maintenance System, and the Environmental, Health, and Safety Management module.
In terms of implementing the project, we have designed the system and deployed a prototype, which was trialled in 2020 at Natalka along with Polyus Logistics. Since January 2021, this has also been piloted at Krasnoyarsk and we are now preparing to deploy this at Magadan. We will also have deployed the Information Technology System and the automated mine surveyor by the end of the year. We are also in the process of carrying out a project to create records for and manage all repair and maintenance activities, compiled into one database. The process to standardize data within the existing systems for subsequent integration is underway and the project team are working with Polyus Magadan to prepare the operation for the introduction of the ERP system.
Our department is not limited to implementing the SAP ERP. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we introduced a QR code system at Natalka to support track-and-trace of our employees. This helped us to improve the speed and quality of our medical and social support, as well as calculating whether we would have enough staff in a to meet our production targets, considering current attendance rates, sick leave, two-week quarantine periods, holidays and personal agreements with employees.
Enjoying a social life at Polyus
While corporate activities are ongoing, Polyus organizes additional events for our employees. I recently learned about the Company’s volunteering program and have since taken part in some of the events. It is always good to help other employees and support anyone that needs it. At the events I have met some really interesting people, some of whom work in tourism and I have since joined a travel club. I now spend some of my time off work hiking and white-water-rafting along some of the most spectacular routes Magadan has to offer. I attend lots of Polyus running club events in the summer and a the skiing club in winter, but my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family.