You are on page 1of 42


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. Mpereri-

Shipping 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.

: 1

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

: 2
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.

: 3

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.

: 4
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.

: 5
Figure 1. Shows the Organisational Structure Of ZISCO

Board of Directors
Company Secretary

Managing Director

Marketing Executive Finance Executive Works Executive Projects and Human Resources
Development Manager

Senior Projects
Engineer Training
Export Sales Marketing Manager
Manager Manager

National Sales
Technical Services
Finance Accountant

Iron Making
Steel Plant
Divisional Manager Rolling Mills
Divisional Manager
Divisional Manager Chief

Blast Coke
Furnace Ovens Steel Casting Bar Rod Section Mills
Manager Manager Plant Manager Mill Manager
Manger Manager
Burden Preparation
Manager Heavy Mills
Foundry Manager

Chief Works Safety, Health and Quality Services Manager
Chemist Metallurgist Environment Manager Manager

: 6
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.

: 7


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.

: 8
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.

: 9
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.

: 10
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

: 11
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

: 12
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 Steelmakers-
Zimbabwe 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

: 13
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

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

: 14


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


: 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.
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.

: 16
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.

: 17
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

Foundry Coke and Coke Breeze

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


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

: 18
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

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.

: 19
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

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
Steel makers Steel scrap
Zimcast Pig iron.
Zimchem refineries Tar and benzole.
Lancashire Steel Billets.
Sino Zimbabwe, Unicem, Circle Cement Slag,
Steel force Deformed bars
Glacier Foundry coke
Zavil Coke breeze
Zimcast Foundry Coke
Wankie Colliery Foundry coke
Unicem Dry Slag
Oliken Coke Breeze
Others (farmers) Coke nuts

: 21

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

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.

: 23
 ZISCO manufactures steel to conform to the international specifications. It also
produces for enhanced customer satisfaction on steel products to proprietary
 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

: 24
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,

: 25
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

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.

: 26


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.

: 27
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.

: 28
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.

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

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.

: 29
 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

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
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.

: 30
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.
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.

: 31




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.

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

: 32
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 by-
products produced at each stage of production, there uses and differences in terns of quality.

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

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

: 33
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.


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

: 35
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

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

: 36
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

7.4 Handling conflict between personal and organisational

• 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

: 37
• 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

• 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



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

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

: 38
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

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.

: 40





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 X X

variety of backgrounds
I am assertive. I stand up for myself well without being aggressive X X

I am sensitive to the needs and feelings of others X X

I am seen as a supportive colleague X X

I interact well with customers and clients X X

Ethical evaluations
I am clear about the codes of behaviour expected in my proposed work X X

Analytical and Problem solving

I quickly identify the main problems and key issues X X

I tend to take the initiative and am self motivated X X

I am an organised person who likes to do things in a planned and X X

orderly way
I enjoy learning new things and seek opportunities and challenges X X

: 41
I make good and positive contributions in meeting and discussions X X

I can make effective presentations to groups and audiences X X

I can write report and correspondence in correct English in a style X X

appropriate to the context

Seeking, handling and interpreting information
I am through and methodical in gathering information X X

I do not take things at face value, I question and evaluate information X X

to get to the bottom of the problem

I use information technology effectively X X

: 42