This report could not have been a success if it were not for the cooperation and encouragements of the following people. First and foremost, I would like to give thanks to the Almighty for granting me the wisdom and opportunity to do my work related learning at ZISCO and come up with this work related learning report. My family for their unwavering support and knowledge. I would also want to extend my heartfelt gratitude towards the Training department of ZISCO for the work related learning placement they offered me during my work related learning period and also my university supervisors, Miss Mugwenhi and Mrs Chivivi, .Mr Mafuka and the Work Related Learning Office. They were constantly available whenever I needed her assistance. Mr Dhege - Export Sales Manager, Mr. MpereriShipping Officer, Mr Phiri, ZISCO Marketing graduate trainees, all Export Sales Department members and Ziscosteel Customer Services Department. They were there to assist whenever I needed help.

To all I want to say, most sincerely, thank you.



0.1 Executive Summary ……………………………………………………………………………..3 0.2 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………. …..4 Chapter1 - Nature of industry and industry requirements ………………………………………...8 1.1 Michael Porter’s 5 forces.. …………………………………………………….8 1.2 SWOT Analysis………………………. ………………………………………9 1.3 Developments in the industry………………………………………………...13 Chapter 2 Product and product markets ……………………. ……………………………………15 2.1 Products Offered……………………………………………………………….15 2.2 Product Markets………………………………………………………………18 Chapter 3-Corporate culture……………………………………………………………………….22 Chapter 4-Company and Society Connection…. …………………………………………………25 Chapter 5- Expectations and Industrial reality… ………………………………………………..27 Chapter 6 – Work Related Learning Assignments and relevance to degree programme………………………………………………………………..28 6.1 Export Sales Department………………………. ……………………………28 6.2 Customer Services Department…………………………. …………………..30 Chapter 7 Personal and professional development ……………………. ………………………32 7.1 Formal Learning Courses………………… …………………………………32 7.2 Key Skills Development……………………………………………………...33 7.3 Personal Development………………………………………………………34 7.4 Handling conflict between personal and organisational objectives…………37 Chapter 8 – Conclusions and recommendations………………………………………………..38 8.1 Recommendations……………………………………………………………38 8.2 Conclusions…………………………………………………………………..39 Chapter 9 – Re-entry………………………………………………………………………………40



The Work Related Learning programme is superb as it bridges the gap between the theoretical part of Business Management learnt in class and the practical part of it. This work related learning report has been prepared to outline how I gained practical experience at ZISCO Marketing department that covers Export Sales and Customer Services during the period of my work related learning. It shall discuss the general company profile and historical background spanning from the time the plant was established in Bulawayo. The subsidiaries of the company, its products and product markets are also included. Michael Porter’s five forces, SWOT analysis and developments in the steel industry also constitute the report showing the nature of steel industry and its requirement. Characteristics of ZISCO in terms of dress code, working hours, easy and frequency of internal communication among other things that depict ZISCO corporate culture are well explained in this report. The report also explains why ZISCO has positive relationships with the wider society. Furthermore, it is going to highlight my experience during the work related learning. Highlighted also are my expectations before entering the industry and what I actually encountered. The report shall also highlight the assignments I did and their relevance to the Business Management degree. It will explain how I was developed professionally and personally. The recommendations and conclusions shall constitute the final part of the report.



Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) is a parastatal company located in Redcliff along the Harare – Bulawayo road. It is one of the biggest steel producers in the Southern region of Africa.It is a large-scale producer of hot rolled and semi-finished steel products from a fully integrated iron and steel works. ZISCO plays a significant and vital role in the Zimbabwean economy. It supports a wide spectrum of strategic industries namely, construction, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fabrication.

The steel company started operations in Bulawayo in 1938 having been formed by private members and it was subsequently taken over by Rhodesian Iron and Steel Commission (RISCOM), a statutory body in 1942. It also acquired the Kwekwe Lime Works and adjacent Limestone deposits. In 1957 Rhodesian Iron and Steel Company (RISCO) was formed and a massive expansion programme was undertaken including the commissioning of a modern blast furnace and the installation of the first battery of the Coke Oven. Over the years the company has continued to grow to a capacity of one million metric tonnes of molten steel making it one of the largest integrated steel works in Southern Africa. After independence the company was renamed ZISCO. It has continued to grow with the growth of local regional and international markets. ZISCO became the pillar of Zimbabwe. It was one of the largest foreign currency earners in Zimbabwe operating above 50% in production. However, the steel company started to face some difficulties due the introduction of the Economic Structural adjustment Programme. In 2001 the plants became disintegrated and mills stopped functioning. Apart from what was taking place in – house, national railway services were of poor quality as well as unreliable supply of coal from Hwange. These companies were also going through economic hardships mainly emanating from shortage of foreign currency.



On January 19 2008 blast furnace number 4 stopped functioning due to load shading of December 2007, which affected the batteries therefore leading to the collapse of Coke Ovens. The political situation in the country also affected this company. ZISCO is one of Zimbabwean companies mentioned on the July 25 2008 Executive Order of the US sanctions to be under the US sanctions. World economic crisis of November 27 2008 affected ZISCO as its major customer, Reclamation stopped dispatching from ZISCO. All these challenges affected ZISCO to a greater extent as most of its employees failed to acquire one of Maslow’s suggested needs –Job security. This was clearly seen through the excessive skilled labour turnover especially Artisans. It also led to the loss of its market share to rivals – Steelmakers, Headlane and Panolink. Ziscosteel subsidiaries • • • • • • • • BIMCO (Buchwa Iron Mining Company) – Owns and operates the Iron ore mines and a limestone quarry. Lancashire Steel - Produces rod and wire products Ziscosteel Distribution Center (ZDC) South Africa Pvt Ltd – Distributes ZISCO products in South Africa. Kabwe Steel Distributors – Distributes ZISCO products in Zambia, DRC, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Monarch steel – Produces geysers, window frames, wheelbarrows and doorframes. Tswana/Ramotswa steel – Produces medium and light steel sections. Has distribution centers in Gaborone and Namibia. Zimchem Refineries – Is an associate company, which refines ZISCO by- products for sale. Zisco holds a 45% stake in the company. These subsidiaries were meant for widening up of the market and the diversification of risks.



Figure 1. Shows the Organisational Structure Of ZISCO

Board of Directors Company Secretary Managing Director

Marketing Executive

Finance Executive

Works Executive

Projects and Development Senior Projects Engineer

Human Resources Manager

Export Sales Manager

Marketing Manager

Training Manager

National Sales Manager Technical Services Manager Finance Manager Management Accountant

Iron Making Divisional Manager

Steel Plant Divisional Manager

Rolling Mills Divisional Manager

Chief Engineer

Blast Furnace Manager

Coke Ovens Manager

Burden Preparation Manager Manager

Steel Plant Manger

Casting Manager

Bar Rod Mill Manager Heavy Mills Manager

Section Mills Manager

Foundry Manager

Chief Chemist

Works Metallurgist

Safety, Health and Environment Manager

Quality Services Manager

Refractories Manager



The above organisational structure clearly shows that ZISCO has a functional based organisational structure. This is seen by the marketing executive, finance executive, works executive, production manager, export sales manager, finance manager, customer services manager only to mention a few. It is also a tall organisational structure as seen by many levels of management supervision and a long “ chain of command” running from the top. This structure has an advantage of a narrow span of control hence closer supervision. There is also a clear management structure and distinctive layer functions. There are also clear lines of responsibility and control. However, this structure results in most decisions being made by top management at ZISCO and this has led to lack of freedom and responsibility of subordinates. Also it took a lot of time to reach final decisions at ZISCO, as approval may be needed by each of the layers of authority.




The steel industry used to be less competitive with ZISCO holding the largest market share for local sales. Although switching costs are high for local customers, lack of production in the organisation has seen the company failing to meet customer demands. This has led to loss of customers to a few Chinese and Indian companies that are performing well. These include Steelmakers, Headlane and Panolink. In the international market Mital Steel (South Africa) is a large manufacturer of steel products. Mittal Steel’s market share has collapsed in the steel industry but there are high hopes that after rehabilitation of Blast Furnace Number 4, the company will have a leading market share.

Buyer Power
The Iron and Steel industry is to a greater extent influenced by the buyer power to bargain when it comes to prices. The demand for steel influences its prices. Therefore steel demand is directly proportional to steel prices. On the international arena steel prices are influenced by the steel giants, which are China and India. This influence also determines local prices.

Threats of substitutes
The production cost for steel is very high, therefore steel prices are very high compared to prices of its substitute – timber, PVC (plastic). Steel products that can be substituted are fencing poles and rounds. It is expensive for some people especially rural people, to buy steel products, therefore they switch to timber products. Also unreliable supply by Ziscosteel due to zero production and limited stock has forced most customers to switch to substitutes, which are readily available.



Barriers to entry
Capital is the major barrier to enter the steel industry. Heavy machinery and a lot of expertise required in establishing a steel plant creates a barrier to enter the steel industry. Also the steel industry has a high Most Cost Efficient Level of Production (MCEP). This is the point at which unit cost of production is at minimum. So the steel industry deters entry of start up business because of high MCEP. The steel industry has high exit cost because it has many specialised assets. Many potential entrants therefore fear such an industry because of the high risk associated when the business fails to prosper. Few players therefore make it into the steel industry. These are small Chinese and Indian mills, which however cannot be equated to ZISCO in terms of size.

Supplier power
To a greater extent, ZISCO has power over its suppliers. It integrated backwards with BIMCO, which supplies limestone and iron ore (some of the major raw materials in steel production). Also it is strategically located nearer to its source of labour. It obtains recruits from MSU and colleges in Kwekwe and Gweru. However Wankie Colliery company, our sole supplier of coal has power over ZISCO. Coal is one of our major raw materials and Wankie sets prices for us. Although we are one of the major buyers it won’t be affected greatly because it has some major customers for example ZESA.

Produces virgin steel
ZISCO has got a high comparative advantage when it comes to raw materials. It produces steel from original raw materials not from steel scrap like other companies do. Therefore ZISCO has the capacity to produce high quality steel that competes well in the market. There are only two companies in this country that have such plants, ZISCO being the bigger one thus a greater competitive advantage.



Strategic location
ZISCO is located near raw materials, human resources, the main road, the railway line as well as a reliable water supply. It is located near Cactus dam, Kwekwe river and Dutchman Pools therefore abundance of water which is used for cooling during steel production. The company is just a few metres away from the limestone and iron ore supplier – BIMCO. It is also located near Rutendo, Redcliff and Torwood residential areas therefore closer to labour supply. It also is only 13km away from the city of Kwekwe where it obtains human resources from Mbizo, Amaveni and Masasa residential areas. The company is accessibly located only 7km from the Harare – Bulawayo highway. Its location has resulted in it being one of the first priorities for nearby universities and colleges. It is accessibly linked through a railway network and thus facilitates the transportation of coal – a major driver of its operations.

Backward Integration
ZISCO integrated backwards with BIMCO, a company located a few metres from away, which supplies limestone and iron ore. It installed a 17km conveyor belt, which transports iron ore to its plants from Ripple Creek. This integration has enabled the company to have control over its raw material supplies whilst at the same time obtaining them at lower cost thereby enabling the company to enjoy low cost producer advantages.

Forward Integration
ZISCO owns companies that add value to its products. It owns Lancashire steel, a company that produces rod and wire products from steel and Ziscosteel Agricultural Implements Manufacturing Company (ZAIM), a company that produces agricultural implements from steel. These companies add value to ZISCO products. ZISCO also owns strategically positioned distribution centres (ZDCs) in Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Kwekwe, Harare, Kadoma and Bulawayo, the last four being in Zimbabwe. These companies widen up ZISCO’s market. This integration has enabled ZISCO to have an edge over its competing suppliers, have greater ability to reach its customers and have better access to information on end customers.



Adequate facilities to produce technical staff
ZISCO recruits approximately 150 apprentices yearly. It trains many fields which include, Electronics, Mechanical engineering, Motor mechanics, Carpentry, Fitting and turning, Boiler making, to mention, but a few. It has a training department that recruits such students and has adequate facilities to undertake the training. Currently it is training approximately 600 apprentices. This facility has given the company a positive image throughout the country because it is a significant role to the country. It is also a competitive advantage in itself because after completion, the trainees are recruited as full time artisans thereby obtaining a pool of skilled labour easily and cheaply.

Zero production
ZISCO is currently not producing, since November 2007 and is relying on products in stock and by-products. This has resulted in loss of its market share to competitors due to failure to meet customer demand.

Poor safety at the workplace
The company no longer provides safety clothing to its workers. This is further worsened by the inability of workers to procure such on their own. Some plant workers work with worn out work suits, shoes. The aging plant of ZISCO has hanging roof sheets that pose as a health hazard to its employees.

Uncompetitive incentives
ZISCOSTEEL offers less non-monetary incentives to its employees. There are no remuneration packages at ZISCO. The workers were only given very few basic commodities once since 2007, regardless of it being the major worker motivator especially in 2008 when most Zimbabwean people where struggling to buy basic commodities. This has resulted in a negative corporate image of ZISCO. This is the main reason why there is a massive exodus of skilled and experienced manpower at this company.

Poor financial status, Undercapitalisation and Aging plants
The company has a poor financial status. This has resulted in the company facing difficulties in rehabilitating its aging plants including the blast furnace number 4, coke oven batteries



and rolling mills. There are hanging roof sheets, absolute rail and road equipment, shortage of consumable tools and spares and poor human resources welfare. ZISCO is failing to put all this in order due to lack of capital.

Increasing mining exploration
The discoveries of minerals in the country for example diamonds in Marange and Chiyadzwa (Mutare) are an opportunity for ZISCO to market its products. On the international arena ,the SADC region is known for discoveries of idle minerals for example in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). ZISCO will take this as an opportunity to market its grinding mill rods, grader blades, deformed bars and axles.

China investment
Early this year (2009), China invested 9 billion US dollars in DRC mining and infrastractuural development. Thus ZISCO will take this opportunity to market its building and mining products to DRC.

Infrastructure development
There is a lot of construction material needed locally and regionally for example the 2010 World cup preparations and Midlands States University administration block under construction. All these are an opportunity for the company to market its products.

United States sanctions
The sanctions imposed by the US government on ZISCO and the country at large will continue to affect it in the near future. Its customers will lack trust and security as far as the supply and availability of steel is concerned. In July 2008 ZISCO Foreign Currency Account (FCA) was frozen. This resulted in its customers resorting to pay for products through agents. This is a long process, which may result in loss of customers to competitors with shorter delivery times. These sanctions have caused Zimbabwe to be considered as a high-risk country for investment. Thus minimum investment is expected to take place in the short to medium term and thereby leading to a decrease in ZISCO sales.

Global economic recession



The global economic recession currently taking place is affecting steel demand and prices. ZISCO is already experiencing the effects since its major customer – Reclamation has temporarily stopped buying due to decline in the demand of its products. This is a threat to ZISCO sales.

Increased competition
The growth of Mital steel company in South Africa and Steelmakers on the local market especially during this time of zero production at ZISCO is a threat to the future sales and market share of Ziscosteel. The introduction of COMESA free trade area is a threat to ZISCOS products because this development will result in the substitution of its products by competitor inferior but cheap products.

Foreign currency shortages
The shortage of foreign currency for the rehabilitation of the plant and relining of blast furnace number 4 will delay commencement of production at this company. Thus its market share will continue to be affected.

A lot of developments took place in the steel industry. Major emphasis shall be on developments at ZISCO especially during my work related learning period.

Toll manufacturing
Due to zero production at ZISCO since November 2007 caused by the shutdown of the blast furnace number 4 for relining and disfunctioning of some coke oven batteries, ZISCO saw it incompetent to let its raw materials lie idle. It entered into a contract with SteelmakersZimbabwe in November 2008 of Toll manufacturing. Under this arrangement Steelmakers produces steel from ZISCO scrap metal on behalf of ZISCO. Steelmakers is then paid for labour and machinery.

Relining of Blast Furnace number 4
The furnace was due for relining in 2007.It is currently under relining. The process was delayed due to foreign currency shortages. This is a significant development since the disfunctioning of this furnace is the major reason why production is not taking place.

Turnaround programme



ZISCO is currently under a turnaround programme. This is a development to enable ZISCO to get out of the ‘doldrums’ it is currently in.

Establishment of Ziscosteel Agricultural Implements Manufacturing Company (ZAIM)
This company was established in 2004 after ZISCO found an opportunity in the Agrarian reform. It manufactures agricultural products from steel thus adding value to Ziscosteel products.

Other developments
There are other developments at ZISCO that took place in the 1990s. These include Sinter plant establishment – a plant that receives and prepare raw materials before they are charged into the blast furnace and the installation of a 17km conveyor belt that transports iron ore. Under external developments, Indians established a rivalry company, Steel makers just a few kilometres from ZISCO in 1998. Also the Chinese and Indians installed some small steel mills. This was a change in local industry since ZISCO used to enjoy a competitive market situation closer to a monopoly. Mital Steel in South Africa had a joint venture with Murray and Roberts in 2008 that made it stronger.




ZISCOSTEEL core product is steel. This steel is cast and rolled into different sizes and shapes therefore bearing different names. There are also semi - finished products and by – products produced at certain stages of production.

These are semi-finished products produced from the continuous casting machines. Their sizes range form 130mm to 160mm that are cut into lengths specified by the customer. They are mainly sold to key accounts customers such as Steel makers.

These products are almost the same as blooms but they differ in sizes. Billets are smaller than blooms and their sizes ranges from 55mm to 80mm.

Deformed bars
These are semi - finished products with a standard length of 12m+/-100m. Their nominal size is from 10mm to 32mm.they are cylindrical in shape and their diameter varies with their nominal size. They are mainly used as reinforcement in tall building and also in underground mining.

: 15

These are products produced from three mills, which are medium, light mill and bar rod mill upon which they vary from one mill to another.

Medium Mill:

It produces squares, angles, channels, rounds, flat bars, rail

standards, ploughshares, plough beam and grinding mill rods.

Squares Square rods - They have got a standard length of 12m+/- 100mm.they differ from rounds
because of their four dimensional shape.

Squares with chamfered corners - They have got the same standard length with the
square rods. They differ from the square rods because of their chamfered corners. This gives them an octagon shape on their face.

Wire rods - These have got a diameter, which range from 5.5mm to 16mm.their mass in kilograms ranges from 0.187kg to 1.58kg per metre. Grinding mill rods - They range from 18mm to 90mm in diameter. Their mass per metre is from 1kilogram per 2m up to 50.03 on 2m.

Flat bars
Light general-purpose flat bars - Their nominal size ranges from 20mm to 150mm. Their thickness is from 4mm to 30mm. The length tolerance is +/-100mm.these bars’ length can be produced as per customer’s directive. For example 95*18mm.

Medium flat bars - Their nominal size ranges from 180m to 230mm.the thickness of the
bars may range from 10mm to 25mm.

• Light Mill: Produces small angles, window sections, and fencing standards. These
products are mainly for local markets.

Window sections F7 window section
Light equal angles - These have a standard length of 6m to 12m.their length from both ends towards the right angle where they meet is equal hence the name equal angles. Their thickness should be within 3.5mm to 8mm.



Medium equal angles - Their nominal size ranges from 60*60 to 100*100mm. They are
slightly bigger than the light equal angles. Their thickness range starts from 6mm to 10mm. These are used as window frames. On structures they are used on the inside part of the frames. Their thickness can be 0.5mm.

Fx7 window section - These are slightly longer on the base than the f7 sections. On
building structures these become the outer part of the window frames.

Light equal angles - These have a standard length of 6m to 12m.their length from both ends towards the right angle where they meet is equal hence the name equal angles. Their thickness should be within 3.5mm to 8mm.

Medium equal angles - Their nominal size ranges from 60*60 to 100*100mm. They are
slightly bigger than the light equal angles. Their thickness range starts from 6mm to 10mm. Bar Rod Mill: Produces round sections coils with different ranges and includes rods of various sizes, deformed bars and squares of various sizes. The majority of bar rod mill products are for exports. They are mainly exported to South Africa, Botswana and China.

Foundry casts
These are products produced mainly for companies in the local markets. Foundry casts are produced at the foundry departments in various sizes depending on customer specifications.

Rimmed Steel
Is a product that possesses a skin with high carbon, sulphur and phosphorus content. This product meant for both domestic and international markets.



Semi- skilled Mould balanced Steel
These are products that possess uniform properties than rimmed steels through the ingot and are suitable for structural and contraction purposes. Silicon chilled steels and hot – topped steel also add to the list of ZISCO products.

Chilled Pool Iron
This product is produced mainly from the relining of ladles. The continuous use of ladles in transferring liquid molten iron creates skulls in ladles, which later removed during relining. The product is then sold as scrap metal mainly to international markets like Reclamation in South Africa.

By- Products
Apart from the above-mentioned products, ZISCO also produces by-products from production process. These products include slag from the Blast Furnace, which are used for road surfacing and cement manufacturing. This product is currently sold to Pacster and Sino Cement Manufacturing Companies. Also there is Tar, Benzol, and Ammonia, which are sold to Zimchem, and Sable Chemical is Kwekwe and other manufacturing companies in the local market.

Foundry Coke and Coke Breeze
Are products produced from coke ovens. They are almost similar but differ in size. both domestic and international markets. They perform same functions, that is, source of fuel in manufacturing industries. They are sold in

The pie chart below shows the market segments of ZISCO. It also explains the significance of each segment in terms of revenue generation Fig. 2



Mining Sector
The Zimbabwean economy is dominated by mining industries. These industries are located in various parts of the country upon which they exploit gold, copper, and diamonds, among others. Mining industries requires mill rods, grader blades, and rails for mines, axles and other related products. Foreign markets for example DRC also provide us with opportunities that need to be tapped.

Construction Sector
Construction companies require building materials in form of deformed bars for reinforcement of concrete, window sections, square roads and channel section and also billets.

Agricultural sector
The establishment of the ZAIM division has facilitated the assembling of agriculture implements, which are made available to the farmers. ZAIM provide already assembled equipment like ploughs cultivators and harrows. Ziscosteel as a producer of other parts like plough beams and grader blades may supply other agriculture selling entities like SEEDCO.

Manufacturing Sector
Instead of selling our grinding mill road, axles and channels to mining sector only we can also target manufacturing companies for example Druck Manufacturing Company.



South Africa This country used to import a lot of steel from Zisco during the past few years. Currently the company is exporting Chilled pool iron to Reclamation Group, Coke Breeze to Bold Moves and Foundry coke to Reliance Foundries in South Africa. The other products, which had been finding their way into South Africa, are blooms; cobbles and pig iron. Macsteel Company had been importing most of the products.

Ramotswa steel company has been importing from Zisco and the products it imported entails billets, blooms and cobbles. This company has been Zisco’s sole outlet of its steel products in Botswana.

Kabwe Steel Manufacturers and Monarch Steel Pvt (Ltd) has been the major customer of Ziscosteel. Kabwe is a distribution center of Ziscosteel whilst Monarch is a member of the Ziscosteel group of companies. The products, which have been distributed to Zambia through these two companies, are sections angles and deformed bars.

The main products distributed in Mozambique were deformed bars. This is facilitated by the presence of a distribution subsidiary company Lancshiresteel, in Mozambique.

The following countries used to import steel from Ziscosteel when it was still a reliable supplier: China (billets), India (rolls), Taiwan (billets), and Thailand (billets). However due to unreliability in supply services which had resulted in low production, the past year has marked no exports on the international market.

The following is a list of some of our current local customers and the products they purchase. : 20

COMPANY Steel makers Zimcast Zimchem refineries Lancashire Steel Sino Zimbabwe, Unicem, Circle Cement Steel force Glacier Zavil Zimcast Wankie Colliery Unicem Oliken Others (farmers)

PRODUCT Steel scrap Pig iron. Tar and benzole. Billets. Slag, Deformed bars Foundry coke Coke breeze Foundry Coke Foundry coke Dry Slag Coke Breeze Coke nuts




According to www. en. Wikipedia. Org/wiki, 28/04/09, 0715hrs corporate culture is the total sum of the values, customs, traditions and meanings that make a company unique. Corporate culture is often called "the character of an organization" since it embodies the vision of the company’s founders. The uniqueness of ZISCO is seen through style of dress, length of the work day, support for life work balance, the ease and frequency of internal communication, support for professional growth, rate of turnover, leadership styles, organisational values, values for employee and employee morale.

Dress code
All ZISCO plant workers wear safety clothing, which includes work suits, helmets and safety shoes whilst office workers dress formally. Despite the failure by the company for the past two years to buy employee safety clothing, the dress code of ZISCO is still being maintained. Some workers choose to wear worn out work suits and shoes rather than casual wear. This shows that dress code is a very strong culture at ZISCO.

Working hours
There are day and shift workers at ZISCO. Day workers work from 0730hrs - 1600hrs and break for lunch from 1230hrs –1330hrs. Zisco by the nature of its industry calls for continuous operations even during the night therefore shift workers work from 0700hrs – 1500hrs, others from 1500hrs –2300hrs then 2300hrs – 0700hrs. There is high punctuality at ZISCO as some workers come even an hour earlier. A low percentage of latecomers is recorded every week at this company. : 22

Internal communication
ZISCO internal communication is easy and frequent. The information is passed mainly through memos that are sent to every department or placed on notice boards. There is also the use of telephone extensions to pass information within the company. An annual Public Relations report is placed on notice boards and also sent to every department. Some of the information contained includes the current year’s employee deaths and appointments.

To hear something through the grapevine is to learn of something informally and unofficially by means of gossip and rumour. Information that concerns workers welfare is passed from management to workers through workers’ union. However most information about salaries is mainly passed through grapevine. This type of communication occurs mainly during lunch hour or when entering and leaving the workplace since most ZISCO workers travel on foot. Management gets some of the information about workers complains through relatives and friends.

Employees’ interaction
I noticed that, ZISCO plant workers feel inferior to office employees yet they are both of paramount importance to the organisation. In my own view this is the reason why there was the formation of particular workers unions, which cater for a particular group of workers for example the artisan workers committee. Apart from that, interaction of operational workers at low level with executives is minimal neither do the management take time to interact with operational workers. This further widens the superior – subordinate gap.

Organisational values
 ZISCO management along with the generality of employees are fully committed to the implementation of the quality system that is driven from the top management.  ZISCO in its production and related activities takes into consideration the interest of its valued customers, employees, community and shareholders.



ZISCO manufactures steel to conform to the international specifications. It also produces for enhanced customer satisfaction on steel products to proprietary specification. Stringent acceptance tests and vetting system on the provision of service, equipment and products that will ultimately have a bearing on the quality of ZISCO products. There is a strong inter relationship with other organisations and institutions and the standards Association of Zimbabwe where ZISCO is a permanent member. Specific customers requirements are actively solicitated from the broad market.

 

Although the company is trying by all means to maintain its culture, zero production and poor financial status being experienced by the company is to some extent affecting its culture. The unfavourable macro economic environment experienced by the country also affected part of the company’s corporate culture. The present-day support for professional growth, employee morale and support for life and work balance at ZISCO cannot be compared to the past. However the turnaround programme in place will see the company out of its current position by the end of 2009.

Support for professional
Currently there is no life work balance at this company. The present life work balance cannot allow the majority of workers to raise their children in a luxurious way. However with the turnaround programme in place the previous culture on this issue is very promising.

Employee morale
This is part of the Ziscosteel corporate culture eroded by the harsh macro economic environment during the past few years. The company is facing difficulties in paying its workers’ salaries on time and the allowances being given are low to fully support their families. This has resulted in low employee morale at the workplace. The company is also experiencing a high rate of labour turnover, which was very rare before the harsh macro economic environment.

Support for professional growth



It is a norm at Ziscosteel for workers to be sent for training every year. Health and safety workers are sent for competition for example on fire fighting. Engineers are sent to China for training. However from 2007 no workers were sent for such training since it is seen as an avoidable expense when the company is not producing.


Ziscosteel is one of the best companies in Kwekwe in terms of company societal connections. The company has managed to build a positive relationship with the society by helping it in many facets of life. The following is a list of activities that Ziscosteel ventured into for the benefit of the society.

Torwood hospital and a Medical Centre in Redcliff
ZISCO built Medical Centre in Redcliff, which is considered as one of the best hospitals in Kwekwe. It also built Torwood hospital, an affordable hospital to all Redcliff town residents. ZISCO emits gases, dust and waste, which are threats to the health of the surrounding people so this activity depicts its greater concern for human health.

Educational support
ZISCO built Drake Secondary School in Torwood and has authority over that school. The school enrols students from Torwood, Rutendo and Redcliff residential areas. It donated deformed bars to Loreto High School, Chinhoyi University of Technology and Midlands State University during constructions that were taking place at these institutions. ZISCO is one of the companies that attach students from various institutions and colleges. Currently the company has work related leaning students from MSU, Great Zimbabwe University,



National University of Science and Technology and also from colleges in Kwekwe, Gweru and even Mutare. This shows that ZISCO has greater concern for Zimbabwean educational development.

Assisting the Municipality of Redcliff
The unfavourable economic environment saw a high brain drain in the country, which negatively affected Redcliff Municipality. It lost almost all of its skilled and experienced manpower so ZISCO sends its artisans to the municipality each time when there is need to operate pumps and other machines.

Water Supply
During my attachment period, Redcliff, Rutendo and Torwood residential areas faced severe water shortages due to lack of chemicals. ZISCO pumped water underground and supplied these areas free of charge. This was a greater help since people were charged ten rands to fetch water from those people with boreholes.

Ziscosteel football club
ZISCO owns a football club, which has successfully appeared in the national league some past years. Workers of the organisation and their families have created a bond as with the team as it provides them with vivid social gatherings during weekends. Zisco has also donated funds to the national team warriors for the Africa Cup of Nations 2006 showcase. This shows ZISCO concern for employee and family interactions.

Effluent treatment plant
ZISCO emits gases, dust and chemicals that are harmful when discharged to the environment. To avoid discharging harmful waste there is an effluent treatment plant which treats the contaminated water biologically first and then discharge it into the river as it becomes less harmful to the environment and the society at large. It also has gas detectors that enable quick identification of any gas spillages. This shows ZISCO concern for societal health and safety.




Before I started my work Related learning, I expected to meet strict and harsh management. This is because the only working experience I once pass through had a tense environment. However, at ZISCO I met friendly, patient, sociable and tolerant management. They helped me on many facets of life that I felt at home during my Work Related Learning, which I never expected at work. I also expected to be treated as inferior since I was just a student who knew nothing about working in industry. To my surprise I was treated as a team-mate and valuable human resource asset to the Marketing department. I was even given a temporary post as an Export Sales Administrator. That clearly showed my importance to the department. As a Business Management student I expected to pass through all ZISCO departments during my Work Related Learning. I expected to work in the Human Resources department, Finance, Marketing and Production departments. This was going to enable me to place in real world situation all the modules I covered during the first and second year at college. However, the ZISCO training programme could only allow me to pass through the Production and Marketing department. All the same I managed to get an insight on these departments through asking colleagues and informal visits to these departments.



As a marketer I expected to carry out marketing tasks like advertising, going for trade fairs, visiting potential customers and carrying out the whole selling process. However the company was not producing and with the limited products in stock there was no need to look for new customers as we were failing to meet the existing demand. I also failed to go for any trade fair as to my expectation. I thought working was a complex thing especially on a large organisation like ZISCO. I expected to be busy with paper work, phone calls, and computer tasks all the time. I expected to be given my own office and my own computer. However I had enough time to relax and joke with colleagues during work. I was not given my own office neither my own computer.I also expected to attend management meetings to equip myself with meeting skills but I was not given the chance to attend any during my work related learning.






This was my main department and it deals with the documentation and sales agreements in international marketing of ZISCO. The following are the tasks I carried out at this department during my work related learning.

1. Assignment – Sanctions imposed on Ziscosteel
On arrival to the export sales department I was given an assignment to write on the effects of sanctions imposed on Ziscosteel by the US in July 2008. I was asked to write on the effects and the strategies that the company can venture into in order to survive in those sanctions. Relevance



This is very relevant to my degree programme because a manager must be in a position to know any threats to the company and must be able to come up with strategies to survive in those threats or if possible, strategies to fight then. The assignment needed to analyse the situation, think of the future and come up with a solution therefore it helps in building analytical skills.

2. Marketing intelligence gathering
This required me gather and analyse information about steel products, customers, market trends, competitors and any information that afect Ziscosteel sales.. I used the internet, newspapers and telephone to get the information about steelprices, steel news and the economy of the countries that Ziscosteel trade with. I was supposed to present the information to the Ezport sales manager on weekly bases without fail.

Relevance The task is very relevant to my degree programme since it enables me to make confident decision-making in determining market opportunity, market penetration strategies and market development metrics. As a management student majoring in marketing this activity was so important in that it opened my brains when looking for factors that affect the company’s sells. In other ways it improved my knowledge as a future manager on what I am suppose to do to retrieve some confidential information from company managers and influential people.

3. Appointed as Export sales administrator
During my work related learning the Shipping Officer appointed me Export Sales Administrator. The following are the duties, which I carried out with the help of the Shipping Officer.

Processing Ziscosteel despatches before invoicing
 Upon receipt of the Loader’s returns from the Despatch Controller, I verify the information from the loaders return. I add all the Invoice Weights per particular order and subtract it from the total Weighbridge Weight to verify the total tonnage.



I multiply the Net Weight (Invoice Weight) by the

price per metric tone and then by

the exchange rate to get the Zimbabwean Dollar value for comparison purposes with National Sales figures for planning purposes by the Marketing Team. I then update the Export Sales Manager and Sales Administration Supervisor of what has been despatched in terms of tonnages, monetary value and balances.

Invoicing and Report writing
 I record the following details from the Loaders Returns, date of despatch, Lot No., tonnage despatched, and truck and trailer numbers in the computer and customer registers. I will then send the information to MMCZ (our export agent) for invoicing.  I reconcile dispatch figures with the Despatch Controller and the MMCZ agent on a monthly basis. We will then communicate and correct deviations if they exist and update the information.  I was also responsible for compilation of the Export Sales month end report, which shows the Customer, Invoice number; Lot number, section, tonnage, Price, Zimbabwean dollar value and CD1 number. I also compile Annual Reports, which shows total tonnage dispatched for that particular year and their values.  I also compare monthly sales dispatches and give reasons for increase or decrease in dispatches and sales

Relevance Giving reasons for changes in sales help in building analytical skills when one tries to figure out the causes. Keeping customer registers is of vital importance in marketing. This will help in relationship marketing for the manager to choose best key account customers. So this is very relevant to my degree programme since I’m majoring in marketing. It also helps to carry out sales trend analysis. A manager needs to keep a track on products in stock so recording of total tonnages despatched is of vital importance for future references. The tasks helped me in building my communication skills since I had to present month end reports and to update the Export sales Manager on the prevailing situation on daily basis.



Recording of figures by nature is prone to mistakes therefore for proper management of recordings I learnt the relevance of reconciliation differences such that at the end of the day all recordings become the same and suspicion of embezzlement might not arise.

This department deals with the processing of export and national sales orders. I perform various marketing functions, which include handling customer complaints, giving price and quality quotations, processing sales orders. Apart from that I also draft the price list together with the cost department. I prepared sales order drafts and distribute several copies to the production department and the warehouse as an action copy. I had to punch the customers,’ details in the computer for invoicing local material. The customer service manager emphasized that no orders should be communicated or accepted over the telephone. Relevance In every business, customers need to be attended to and given enough care. It is essential that one provide the customer with what he or she wants as per specifications. It is also essential that the customer be provided with the truth about processing the product rather than promising to deliver and then fail to meet the obligation. Saying the truth on the position of production is good management, which I learnt, and from a marketing perspective it does not drive away customers in the event of failing to meet the wrong picture one would have built. Therefore this is much relevant to my degree programme since it equip me with knowledge on how to care for customers.







During my work related learning I managed to pass through the following two formal learning courses

Health and Safety at the workplace
On arrival to Ziscosteel, we were sent to the Health and safety department where we were given one-week lecture on health and safety at the workplace. We were given a lecture on the importance of health and safety at the workplace, effects of poor health and safety, fire prevention and protection, how to operate a fire extinguisher, safety standards, characteristics of a safe and healthy environment and safety minimisation actions at the work place. Relevance The course was of vital importance to my degree programme since a safe operation is an efficient operation and managers must operate efficiently. Human resource is the most important asset at any workplace and managers must take priority in health and safety when



there is conflict of interest. I’m a future manager who will be responsible for the welfare of employees therefore this course was very relevant.

Production process
I was also given a lecture on the production process at Ziscosteel. I managed to pass through all production departments and familiarise myself with the production process. I had lectures from the material handling up to the production of steel. I was told all products and byproducts produced at each stage of production, there uses and differences in terns of quality. Relevance This course was very relevant to my degree programme. As a manager and a marketer I need to appreciate the production process of the product I market so that I will be in a position to answer any customer queries about the product quality. I must also be able to suggest quality improvements. All these are only possible if I manage to familiarise myself with whole the production process.

The following are the key skills I developed during my work related learning.

Analytical skills
Marketing intelligence helped me to develop this skill. I was supposed to think critically on how the information I gathered would affect the company. My supervisor used to come to me with information or news that affects the company in an indirect way. I was supposed to explain how the company would be affected. Every month- end I was supposed to compare that month’s total despatches with the previous month and also the previous year’s same month and give reasons for any increase or decrease. All these helped to built my analytical skills.

Interpersonal skills
At college I interacted much with students who had backgrounds similar to mine. Being a person groomed in a medium family in Manicaland, I was not comfortable in mixing and chatting to people from other backgrounds. The WRL changed me, I was forced to mix and



talk to people from different backgrounds which I later on enjoyed. Since Ziscosteel is an exporting company, the marketing department meets customers and truck drivers from different countries on a daily basis. The marketing department itself had people of different backgrounds. Having been exposed to such an environment for more than a month made me enjoy talking to almost all kinds of people.

The Shipping Officer played a significant role in instilling this skill in me. At first I was very reluctant to carry out new tasks without asking my supervisors. I used to wait for them until they came. The Shipping Officer was very tough on me whenever I fail to perform any task because of there absents. At times he would ignore me when I ask for help. But later on I realised that he would be very happy if I carry out assigned tasks without asking for help even for the first time. At the end I became very initiative that I introduced a Marketing Department social funding programme and I can introduce new ways of carrying out marketing tasks with confidence.

The work related learning helped me to realise the importance of team working. The group assignments at high school and college had low turn up and this forced me to built negative attitude towards group or team working that I was much comfortable with lone hunting than team working. The Ziscosteel Marketing team was a different one. All team members were supportive and there was high morale. I saw higher effectives in team working than individualism and this made me enjoy team working. I also realised that individualism is very stressful especially when the task is difficult.

Organisational skills
Monday was the busiest day of the week during my work related learning. At first I failed to accomplish all my tasks on that day. This made me feel uncompetitive and even my supervisor was not happy with that which made me very stressful. At times I would forget to carry out some tasks because they were too many. The reaction I got from my supervisor totally changed my way of doing things that I later managed to accomplish all my tasks on time. I realised that it was lack of organisation and time management. From the end of the first two-month on work related learning to date I’m able to meet all my programme deadline without rushing or being coerced. This shows my organisational skills and self-motivation. : 34

Computer skills
Although I had done information technology during my first year at college I did not managed to equip myself enough with the computer skills since I failed to have enough practical experience with computers. Working a computer and people with vast computer knowledge on a daily basis enabled me to gain much knowledge about computer.

7.3 PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT Strengths at the start of placement year Very Punctual
I never delayed myself to work since my placement at this company. My workmates know me as the key collector. We start work at 0730hrs and I will be at work as early as 0600hrs 0700hrs. This has allowed me to organise my work on time and to build positive relationship with my supervisors.

Always formally dressed
The Brand Management lecturer moulded me on formal dressing during my second year at college. He only tolerated students who were formally dressed and this enabled me to see its importance. My workplace supervisors never complained about my dressing and that shows my strengths.

Communication Skills
I managed to apply practically the business communication theory I learnt from Business Communication module I did during my first year at college. I never faced problems in making or answering phone calls from different people.

Ability to work under minimum supervision
I was able to accomplish all the tasks we were taught even during the absents of my supervisor. My mother instilled this strength in me since she never tolerated us to wait to be



told to perform daily chores. So I never waited to be told to perform tasks I was familiar to. However my problem was on performing new tasks without supervision.

Numerical skills
I can safely say this was my principal strength since I was born Mathematician. I never faced problems with numbers since I was born therefore the updating of total despatches was an easy task for me.

Weaknesses at the start of WRL and how they were addressed Negative attitude towards teamwork
The group assignments at high school and college had low turn up and supportiveness. This forced me to built negative attitude towards group or team working that I was much comfortable with lone hunting than team working. At Ziscosteel I was treated as a significant teammate. My contributions were recognised and appreciated. There was high morale in team working since its results were more effective than individual results. Thus the WRL enable me to value team working.

Lack organisational skills
At first I could not organise my resources effectively. I could not accomplish most of my tasks on time. However at the end of the WRL I had developed these skills through one of my supervisors explained above on personal development.

Very slow in processing information using a computer



At first I had no vast knowledge about using the computer. I did not know how to apply certain formulas and it could take me hours to finish processing. However with the help of colleges and the exposure I got during the WRL I became very fast that it took me few minutes to process computer tasks.

Poor meeting skills
I have never been in a very formal so this was my weakness that needed to be addressed. Unfortunately I could not get a chance to equip myself with such skills during my WRL. I never attended managerial meetings at Ziscosteel. I only managed to attend meetings at the Export Sales not for the whole marketing department. So this weakness was not fully addressed.

7.4 Handling conflict between personal and organisational objectives Conflicts
• As a Business Management student I expected to pass through all Ziscosteel departments during my Work Related Learning. This was going to enable me to apply fully into practice the theoretical part I learnt during the first two years at college. I expected to work in the Human Resources department, Finance, Marketing and Production departments. However, the Ziscosteel training programme could only allow me to pass through the Production and Marketing department. • There was time when I was supposed to carry out my researches in preparation for my dissertation and to write Work Related Learning reports. This time conflicted with the work tasks I was assigned to. I was supposed to meet my academic supervisor’s deadline for the submission of Work Related Learning report at the same time was supposed to accomplish my employment supervisors tasks on time. Also the department had one computer, which was supposed to be used by all my workmates. So I could not spent enough time on the computer.

Handling conflicts
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I managed to get an insight on these departments through asking staff from those departments and free time visits to the departments. Therefore I managed to obtain some of the information I needed without conflicting with the objectives of the organisation.

I decided to come to the office as early as 06:00am and to come during the weekend to do my Work Related Learning reports and to carry out my researches on the Internet. This enabled me to resolve the conflict since I managed to reserve all the working hours for my supervisor’s tasks


RECOMMENDATIONS Improvements in working conditions
Healthy and safety
Even though there is conflict of interest in this industry, health and safety must take priority at Ziscosteel. The company must renew hanging roof sheets all over the company since it is a safety hazard. The company must buy safety clothing for the workers since the working environment is very prone to safety hazards. The company must work on achieving international health and safety standards through consulting International health and safety consultants.

Worker motivation
Since the company had suffered high rate of turnover from skilled manpower it must recruit new skilled employees develop them and provide reasonable worker incentives. The company must build sound employee relationships. Even if the company cannot provide financial incentives, recognition and appreciation is enough when a worker performed well. The following can motivate Ziscosteel employees



There is need to improve downward communication at Ziscosteel especially on salaries. Every month Ziscosteel delays issuing salaries to its workers. I noticed that most of the time Ziscosteel workers knew about when they will get pay and how much through rumours. The research I carried out revealed that workers knew very well that the company is facing financial problems but what they need is communication. They only need to be told the prevailing situation and when they will expect their salaries. Therefore management must improve on that.

Delegation and performance appraisal
Workers are motivated when some management tasks are delegated to them. Tasks must be delegated to subordinates and there must be performance appraisals if workers meet set targets. Oral appraisal is enough to motivate workers than ignoring well-performed tasks.

Improving the working environment
The cleanliness of floors must be improved especially at the Ziscosteel production centre. Export Sales department need floor tiles to be replaced with immediate effect since all customers visits that department. It does not portray a good image to operate with such a floor. The workers themselves are not comfortable to work in such an environment and thus become demotivated. Therefore I recommend Ziscosteel management to do something with the floor at Export sales Department.

Embark on relationship marketing strategy
It cost five more times to attract new customers than retaining existing ones. To increase customer-switching costs the company must introduce relationship-marketing strategy. Relationship marketing is the process of attracting, maintaining, and enhancing relationship with key people. ZISCO must keep a customer database, which it will use to select key account customers. This approach attempts to transcend the simple purchase-exchange process with customer to make more meaningful and richer contact by providing a more holistic, personalized purchase, and use the consumption experience to create stronger ties

Recommendations to modules covered at college
As a Business Management student majoring in marketing, I faced problems in carrying out some assigned tasks for example Wagon Tracking because Business Management students : 39

are not entitled to Transport and Logistics module which covers wagon tracking. I recommend this module to be introduced to Management students majoring in Marketing. I also recommend that the modules must be comprehensive to cover all topics since we need to apply them into practice during WRL.

Ziscosteel is a large-scale producer of hot rolled and semi finished steel product from a fully integrated iron and steel works. It sells its products both locally and internationally. The company plays a significant role in the Zimbabwean economy but currently is facing financial problems due to zero production which was caused by the disfunctioning of the Blast furnace number 4 and some coke oven batteries. It is facing stiff competition from Steel Makers Zimbabwe and Mittal steel in South Africa. The company has a positive corporate image because of its societal support especially in Redcliff, Rutendo and Torwood residential areas. My placement at Ziscosteel Marketing department played a significant role in building me practically. I managed to pass through Ziscosteeel’s Export Sales, Customer services, Health and Safety and Production department. All the assignments I performed at these departments were very relevant to my degree programme since them assisted me in personal and professional development. This Work Related learning helped me in developing organisational skills, computer skills, initativeness, and interpersonal and analytical skills. It allowed me to apply fully into practice the modules I covered during the first and second year at college.






1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Interpersonal relationships I am able to relate well with others. I am at easy with people from a variety of backgrounds I am assertive. I stand up for myself well without being aggressive I am sensitive to the needs and feelings of others I am seen as a supportive colleague I interact well with customers and clients Ethical evaluations I am clear about the codes of behaviour expected in my proposed work Analytical and Problem solving I quickly identify the main problems and key issues Self-management I tend to take the initiative and am self motivated I am an organised person who likes to do things in a planned and orderly way I enjoy learning new things and seek opportunities and challenges






I make good and positive contributions in meeting and discussions I can make effective presentations to groups and audiences I can write report and correspondence in correct English in a style appropriate to the context Seeking, handling and interpreting information I am through and methodical in gathering information I do not take things at face value, I question and evaluate information to get to the bottom of the problem I use information technology effectively