Sunday, 14 August 2016

Money Talks

Good morning fellow bloggers and hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday.  I promised to start blogging a bit more and thought I would sit down for a few minutes today and post something about the business I'm in.

I going to share a secret to success with you today.  No - this is not one of those motivational or insparational speeches where someone talks you into signing up to some or other pyramid scheme or promises to send you a book via email if you enter in your credit card information.  But a shared lesson on how we managed to motivate our staff and increase production.

I am involved with re-screening old gold dumps for a living.  We extract the fines (sand) and send it
to a gold processing plant where they actually exract the gold.  Anyway......  We have been doing this for around 6 months and we have struggled to get our old screening plant to run for more than 6 or 7 hours a day.  Loads of breakdowns and temperamental staff have been one of the major causes.

Our production was poor and we were not making targets.  At first we thought we would pay our staff a production bonus.  But the reality is they had no control over the grade or the amount of fines in the dump and the weather played a major role.  There is very little sand that falls though when the dump is wet for instance as it sticks to the rock.

We were forced to think of another way to motivate our staff and reward them for working hard and working as a team.  So we introduced a bonus system whereby they get rewarded for the number of hours our screening plant works in a day.

Typically our staff work a 12 hour shift, 6 days a week.  They get paid overtime as per statutory obligations of course.  So we drew up the following bonus system in addition to their salary and overtime:

They get:

  • R50 in cash if the plant works for 9 hours a day
  • R100 for 10 hours
  • R200 for 11 hours

Then an additional

  • R500 if the plant works for 54 hours a week and
  • R1000 for 60 hours a week.

They get this in cash the day after so the reward is instantaneous.  And everyone in the team gets it - even the lowest paid.

So within 3 weeks, we have gone from our plant working 6-7 hours a day with an average of 18 days a months to our plant working 11 hours a day, every day and for the first time ever this week we managed 66 hours for the week - 100% uptime.

Our staff are motivated and now work as a team.  There are no petty dramas.  There has not been any requests for any advances or loans.   Our plant is being well maintained and they make sure all breakdowns are attended to immediately.  Our client is happy and of course although our bank balance suffers in the short term, we will see major rewards in the long term.  And to top it all, one of our staff told us the other day we didnt need to come in everyday - they have it covered and know what they are doing.

I know this probably doesnt sound very exciting to you all but I LOVE what I do and it makes me really happy to see my staff being rewarded for their efforts.

I'd love to know what motivates you or what you enjoy about your job.

Lanthie Ransom

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Lucky in Life and Lucky in Love

Decided to look at  my blog today.  Not done this for awhile.  Needless to say it brought back all sorts of memories.  Not only of a life gone by but also of all you fellow bloggers.

I have had a few messages from a few of you asking me how I am and why I don't blog anymore.

So the answer is, I am great.  In fact I am more than great.  I have a fulfilling life.  I am lucky in life and lucky in love.  Life has been good to me and the universe looks after me.  I have a life partner who makes me feel like a woman and who makes me happy. Not a day goes by where I don't smile or have a reason to laugh and most of this is due to him.   And who knows, maybe one day he will find me worth making a committment to.

There are a lot of people who judged me for some of the decisions I made.  I spent some time recently thinking about these decisions as I have a friend who needed some advice about her life.  I have no regrets about any of the decisions I made.  I don't know where I found the courage to take some of the steps I took.  But I do know they were the right decisions.  I am just dissapointed in some of those who I thought would stand by me and didn't.  True colours were revealed!

I don't blog anymore because a) I don't have the time and b) there are still sensitive issues in my life which need time.  I will get back to blogging in the near future when life becomes a little more stable and I don't have to worry about writing about sensitive issues.

Please drop me a message and let me know how you all are.  Miss you all !

Lanthie Ransom

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Born Free

I have been doing quite a bit of driving around our beautiful country lately and I have been shocked at some of the images I have seen over the last week.  This first pic is an indication of how beautiful our country is, but is unfortunately not the pretty picture I have been seeing just recently.

We are nearing our elections in South Africa, taking place on the 7th of May and we are celebrating 20 years of democracy.  This is the first election taking place where those who are "born free" (those whose lives began after apartheid) are eligible to vote for the very first time. One would think this is a major milestone for every young adult.

However, unlike the 1994 elections which took place when we had our first democratic election and everyone went to cast their vote for the very first time, we now unfortunately have a new generation who do not want to cast their vote at all.

Our own Archbishop Desmond Tutu has welcomed the "Vote No" campaign - a campaign started by our former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and other ex-ANC members encouraging "South Africans to be aware of the value and consequences of their vote."

This new generation has no memory of the apartheid era and have no loyalties to the ANC.  They feel they have been let down by their own government.  Most are well educated and despite this are unable to find suitable jobs.  Instead they are witness to the corruption taking place and the inability of our government to identify with its people.

They feel betrayed.

There are many protests taking place on a daily basis due to poor service delivery. I must admit there is no excuse for poor service delivery.  We have one of the most efficient tax collection departments in the world so the Goverenment has no excuse for under delievering.

I am in support of those who make the effort to protest against poor service delivery but I am shocked at the total lack of respect my fellow South Africans have for other people's property.  Driving back from one of our mines yesterday, we were diverted and had to use an alternative route and we were witness to the destruction caused by one of these protests.

We were left with a picture of total destruction in our path - vehicles being stoned and trucks being burnt.    Our roads marked by black residue from burnt tires.

Are we perhaps heading for a civil war?  Do I Want to sit back and let this beautiful country be destroyed by those who should be protecting it?

Some interesting readining:

Lanthie Ransom

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Are you too smart to engage?

I don't typically talk about politics on my blog.  The main reason is that my blog is supposed to be about me and my journey in finding myself and the challenges I face.  And I have always felt that writing about politics and matters of the state make it about everyone else.  But this is where I have come to the realisation that talking about politics is very much about me too - not only does politics and legislation have a huge impact on my life, it is my opinion that counts too.  So it is time I started being a little more verbal about some of these issues.

I would like to quote Plato here and this forms the theme of this post and many more just like it:
“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by their inferiors.”

Now where to start.  Quite honestly this could turn out to be a long post but I will try to keep it short and keep to the facts as I see them and perhaps it will be the first of many such posts.

The first issue I want to address is our new toll roads - or eTolls as they are called here.  This has been a
very controversial subject here since we hosted the World Cup in 2010.  Besides the white elephant stadiums that we are left with (another legacy of the World Cup), we are also left with having to fund the upgrading of our national highways in Gauteng.

Now I know you are probably thinking why are we bitching about the upgrading of our national highways.  It is not the upgrading of our national highways that we are bitching about - we are bitching about the fact the tax payer has to pay a toll to drive on these roads.  These are roads we have always driven on at no cost (or direct costs as the case may be).  They didn't build new ones, they merely fixed existing ones and added a new lane here and there.  We, the tax payer has already paid for the capital costs of these roads.  And it is due to neglect and the lack of maintenance that these upgrades were required in the first place.   Not to mention the fact that we pay a small fortune for petrol in our country which is loaded with various taxes and levies which are supposed to cover the cost of maintaining and improving our roads.  I'm not sure what you all pay for petrol but we currently pay over R14 a litre for ours (about US$1.5 per litre) (Refer to Worldwide Retail Prices of Gasoline  here (US cents per litre)

I have also been told that part of the agreement with FIFA was that we were required to provide highways with a minimum of 4 lanes to the stadiums and the airport and other such relevant routes if we were to host the World Cup.  They didn't care what the cost of this was or if we actually needed more lanes.

So SANRAL (our national roads agency) put out a tender for the upgrading of these roads.  Another huge controversial issue as the tender and subsequent business plan is flawed in many ways.  The tender was awarded to a non-resident company, so much of the money raised actually finds its way out of the country.  But besides that, the installation consists of elaborate gantries and inefficient means of collecting the tolls.  I'm not going to quote facts a figures here as these are freely available on the web and I will post a few links at the end of this post for those of you who want more information.

We do not have a public transport system and there are also no viable alternative routes so we are forced to use the tolled highways now.   This has put huge financial pressure on the average tax payer who has to get to work or get around on a day to day basis.

One of the big issues for me is that you have to register to use these roads and you are offered "reduced rates" if you register and pre-pay for the usage of these roads.  I feel this is discrimination at it's best and I am so fed up with being discriminated against in various ways (a topic for another post).  I will have to register to take advantage of special rates and I have to have a little electronic device in my vehicle.  

According to various articles I have read recently, up to 90% of people who use these tolled roads have a) not registered and b) not paid after receiving a bill in the post.  I am not quite sure how they intend to recover this money as they cannot prosecute everyone concerned.  I am currently part of the 90%.

I have not registered either and have received many bills in the mail.  I am very sensitive to my information being shared and would like to know how the administration company knows where to send the bills to if I have not registered.  I have certainly not given the licensing department permission to share my information with any third party companies and I feel strongly about my rights being compromised here.

Please read some of the articles below and share your thoughts on this issue.  I would be interested to know what you all think.

Lanthie Ransom

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I Joined The Mile High Club

Just kidding!  Also not possible to do in a Cessna c172.  Well at least not comfortably anyway.

If you all read my previous post What Would I Do With R5Million, I mention that I would love to learn to fly.  I gave my list of things to do some serious thought and realised that some of these things were possible without having loads of money.  So in true Lanthie style, I decided to take up the challenge and try to do some of the things on my list.

I did some research on Saturday, reached out to some friends and then actually called a pilot training centre and made a booking to go on my first test flight.  The booking was made for today at 4pm.  I suddenly realised yesterday morning that this would conflict with my belly dance class and as we are well into rehearsing for our next show, I could not miss a class and would have to reschedule my flight.

So I called them and my flight was rescheduled for yesterday afternoon at 4pm.  They called me mid-afternoon and told me the weather was not being very accommodating and it was recommended that I postpone my flight.  So we rescheduled for Sunday at 2pm.  I was a little disappointed as I was really looking forward to my first flight.

I was on my way to the office at 7.30 this morning, stuck in traffic when my phone rang.  It was my instructor asking if I was free this morning and he could take me up at 11am.  So I made a few phone calls and rescheduled my meetings and went for my very first flying lesson.

I must admit I was a little nervous when I arrived.  I have been on loads of planes and travelled the world,
but I had never been on a small aircraft before.  I walked into the hanger and made my way up the stairs to the reception.  I was greeted by a very friendly young man behind the counter.  He introduced himself as my instructor.

I had to fill in some paperwork and then we headed downstairs to the plane.

I knew what a Cessna c172 looked like but didn't realise how small it is.  My car is bigger - Okay I admit I drive a big 4x4 but I still expected it to be a lot bigger.

The instructor gave me a set of headphones.  He explained some safety checks to me and explained what to do in case of emergency.  Landing with the door open / unlatched being one of them - not something I want to envision doing any time soon!

I had to pretend to be a contortionist to get into the plane and finally found myself sitting in the pilot seat.  My instructor then explained various dials and switches to me while he went through his safety check.

We then taxied towards the runway and he let me take control.  It was a little tricky using my 2 feet to steer rather than my hands on a steering wheel but I quickly got the hang of it.  Apparently you only use the stick when flying.

We were parked while he went though various safety checks again and waited for the tower to give us clearance.

Eventually we were given the go ahead and finally I was in the air.  It went a lot slower than I thought and I couldn't believe that we could fly at this speed.

We were up for about 5 minutes when the instructor handed control over to me.  WOW!  I could not believe I was in control of a plane in less than 5 minutes!  This is seriously stuff that dreams are made up of.

Alright, I must admit it is not rocket science stuff and piloting this plan is a whole load easier than driving my car.  But still - I WAS FLYING!

We headed out towards the Hartebeestpoort Dam.  The instructor was very patient with me and obliged me by answering the gazilion questions I had about the various instruments and what each one did.  I could not have wished for a more patient man.

We were up in the air for about an hour and before I knew it, we were landing.  I took over control once again when we were on the ground.

I definitely want to get my PPL license (Private Pilot Licence) and will make every effort to get it.  The only hurdle here is money to pay for it all.  So all donations are welcome - please feel free to leave me a comment if you would like to sponsor me (And Yes, I am being dead serious!)

A friend went up with me and took loads of photographs - hope you like them.  There is some amazing scenery.

Hope to be posting loads more pics of my flying in the near future.

Lanthie Ransom


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