In 2018, South Deep embarked on a material restructuring of the business to support a strategy aimed at reconfiguring our organisational and operating model. This model set out to build a high performance organisation and culture, improve productivities, eliminate wastage, reduce unit costs and improve margin to meet our aspiration of becoming a safe, low grade, bulk, mechanised and profitable gold mine.
The many aspects of this strategy continue to be systematically entrenched across our business to support the long-term delivery of our strategy, aspirations and objectives. This is supported through culture creation workshops that encourage personal engagement between our people at all levels of the organisation, affording our people the opportunity to understand the strategy and their role in achieving it, but also to learn about the work being done in other departments of the mine.
2019 was the first full year of delivering on this strategy. Most noteworthy has been the significant improvement in employee engagement, as well as a marked increase in efficiencies and productivities. These positive results culminated in the business exceeding its gold production guidance and returning to profitability for the year. This is a sound base on which we are continuing the implementation of our strategy, notwithstanding the challenges of COVID-19.
We make use of Balanced Scorecards to set goals, objectives and measures for all employees and teams to support the effective and sustainable delivery of our strategy. Everything we do is underpinned by living our values and achieving our vision and purpose and ultimately our aspirations of becoming a) the beacon of pride for our people, our communities, our stakeholders and our shareholders, b) a safe, low grade, bulk mechanised and profitable gold mine and c) #550@750. The Balanced Scorecard focuses on four main areas of delivery:
The focus of our work in achieving this includes improving organisational culture, driving diversity and inclusion, building the capacity and capability of our people, modernising our operations, securing access to a reliable and cost-effective supply of water and power, and entrenching sound governance and compliance.
We are implementing and embedding processes, systems and measures that will improve our performance across the operation, including health and safety, the environment, mining, mobile equipment efficiency, operational compliance to plan, planning performance, the management of our fixed infrastructure and new mine development.
Our efforts are aimed at ensuring we go beyond compliance with environmental laws. We have a specific focus on areas such as water stewardship, mine closure and climate change. On mine closure, we ensure that our closure plan and liabilities are updated annually and externally assured to ensure they are comprehensive, accurate, and fully funded. In addition, we participate in various forums and industry bodies that strengthen our ability and delivery of community projects.
Our bonus systems and cost saving initiatives ensure that we focus on meeting our financial targets.