Business

Mich`ele Hall: Enabling digital manufacturing

Mich`ele Hall, CIO of Nampak Management Services, isn't a typical IT professional. A chemist by profession, she started her career in the explosives industry, where she worked for ten years. She began her IT career at EDS, and has also worked at what's now BCX for 14 years.

Upon joining Nampak, she learned that there had been serious under-investment in IT - IT had been outsourced to an extensive degree and left in maintenance mode.

"I believe that just as an army marches on its stomach, a company marches on its IT, and its IM (information management). Without technology, you can do very little. You can't even talk about efficiencies, or automation, or digital."

Her first project was to get everything working, as systems weren't available, and the company had integrity issues with its ERP system, and an under-utilised BI system. "All I could do was promise to fix it, I couldn't turn back the clock. It took a year to stabilise, and we changed the entire strategy from outsourcing to selective insourcing."

Subsequently, Hall revamped infrastructure and architecture, implemented a new BI system and is now busy conducting an ERP upgrade, one of 40 big projects she's currently overseeing.

"We've built the car - the IT systems can run, the engine is there - now we need a 'road' to the many sites in SA, Africa and the UK. Only then can we properly maximise the use and benefits of IT."

The vision is to turn Nampak into a digital manufacturing organisation. "Where better to do IoT than in manufacturing? However, this isn't a five-year journey, it's more like a 10-year one."

Speaking of what drives her, Hall says: "I'm passionate about doing the right thing for the long term, and about people. The culture in our team is that information is available to everyone, information must flow, conversations must be robust and people need to be allowed to make mistakes."

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