Job summary

Secunda, South Africa, Africa
Career Level:
Senior (5+ years of experience)
Job type:
Full time
Apply before:
22 b, 2017

Senior Specialist: Production Budgeting / Planning and Optimisation

About this job


Qualification and experience required:

This position requires a relevant 4 year Engineering Degree and a minimum of 5+ years of experience or,

a Master's degree in a relevant technical field and a minimum of 3+ years of experience or,

a PhD in Engineering and a minimum 2+ years of experience.

In addition to the above, a business qualification is a strong wish.

A minimum of 5 years experience within Sasol / Synfuels or hydrocarbon industry related experience is a must.

Prior experience with linear programming tools (LP) is a strong preference.

This job is concerned with the optimisation of the HUB's operation. Integration occurs across functions and product value chains.  The focus varies from operational (60% of work) to tactical (30% of work) to strategic (10% of work).
The incumbent will work in a matrix organisation with functional responsibility for planning of operations and the requirement to lead, influence and direct production units.  The environment is relatively uncertain and the person will need a tolerance for ambiguity.  Interpreting the implications of marketing and business strategy maintenance strategy. 

Major skills and competency requirements:
The incumbent should have a good understanding of the Sasol value chains which originate within the Synfuels operations and be able to interpret the results of the Linear Programming (LP) models, scheduling and blending tools.  The incumbent should have or gain a sound understanding of process unit operations including the constraints and flexibilities through direct exposure to the unit and through relationships with technical resources.

The incumbent should also have a strong level of troubleshooting skills and be able to work under pressure without the loss of output accuracy or consistency. The incumbent must be able to work within a multi-disciplined environment and have the ability to innovate and explore new techniques and concepts.

The position is required to work in teams with technical, operational and planning resources with a twofold focus of;

a) creating models that appropriately, accurately represent the capabilities, flexibilities and constraints of the assets, and

b) to identify profit improvement opportunities within the asset for future development. 

The position requires high levels of competence in communication, presentation and interpersonal skills to present and communicate the developed budgets to senior management as well as a high degree of computer literacy is required and the incumbent must be able to interpret the results of the LP models and data analysis.

Purpose of Job /Role Intent:
- Sustainably maximise Sasol’s profitability through structured planning and optimisation (P&O)
- Align to the P&O Functional strategy by developing the 2-year budget and monthly plans for the Operating Model Entity (OME)

- Challenge and articulate the production HUB's operational flexibility, constraints and cost of production

- Liaise and network with the Strategic Business Units and Central P&O on production decisions involving the HUB

- Identify and embed opportunities to optimise production in order to enhance overall Sasol profitability

- Identify production threats and recommend action to mitigate risks

- Actively participate in development of optimisation tools (LP models)

- Evaluate the HUB plan accuracy through back-casting of models (specifically on LP performance)                                                                                                                   

- Develop and maintain optimisation toolset (particularly LP models) to ensure relevancy and accuracy

- Ensure that the P&O toolset user community is adequately trained and supported                 

- Co-ordinate and ensure proper quality and governance of the budget process


Key accountabilities:

Core Elements of Job Key Performance Indicators:

LP Modelling:      

- Accountable for maintenance and development of complex LP models

- Ensure LP model is fit for purpose for planning and budgeting purposes

- Unit uncertainties to be continuously improved

- Management of change process on all revision of the LP through thorough testing and evaluation

- Provide an ongoing support to LP users with regards to LP support

- Model accuracy verified through back-casting of operation performance

Develop and maintain P&O Toolset:         

- Model capabilities and relevancy are enhanced through appropriate configuration

- Model flexibility and ensure accuracy is enhanced through configuration and calibration

- Ensure end users are properly trained          

Change Ambassador for the P&O Function:        

- Tools and modeling use of P&O community is established as an influential factor in P&O functionality  

Production Budget:  

- Co-ordinate yearly production budget through detailed validations and value-adding scenarios

- Governance and improvement of budget process

- Present results to senior management

- Identify value-adding scenarios

- Contextualising the production budget

- Analyses of performance through detailed scenarios and explanations

- Involvement in the yearly long term budget, interlink between the short term and long term budget that is compiled by site integration

- Initiate optimisation studies with technical teams and GPO

  • Business Results:

- Request and certify information required for development of the Secunda operational plan (e.g. feedstock requirement, plant capacities and availability, operating parameters, expected expansions or additions to plant infrastructure and, logistic constraints)

- Ensure proper directives are communicated and approved

- Technical directives to be included as well as operational ones

- Ensure directives are officially signed off by Hub on monthly basis with proper look back for contextualisation of directives
- Optimise the HUB's plan with the usage of various optimising tools

- Detailed and contextualised presentation of plans to operational and technical managers for execution

- Highlight areas of concern so that appropriate actions are taken to mitigate identified risks and threats

- Ensure that identified opportunities captured in the plans are exploited

- Monitor progress against plan and plan deviations

- Support waiver process by supplying substantiating evidence

- Perform full back cast analyses of the plan with deviation analysis performed

- Support Central P&O in creation of One Sasol Framework Plan

  • Leadership and Strategic Direction:

-  Working effectively in a matrix structure to maximize profitability
-  Understanding the complexity of value chains and interdependencies of HUBs and SBUs
-  Assessing the reliability and accuracy of sources of data to be used in plan construction and performance evaluation
-  Assessing the reliability of market and sales expectations which is captured in the One Sasol Framework Plans
-  Challenging sources of data inputs and profitability constraints
-  Accuracy of the production and inventory planning and scheduling tools

-  Drive the high performance culture with emphasis on delivery and results, by building world class systems aimed at improving effectiveness and efficiency
-  Build a culture of personal integrity, openness, mutual trust and shared responsibility
-  Encourage innovation, challenging established status quo, taking accountability and not being afraid of taking a calculated risk, questioning or making mistakes
-  Encourage holistic and long term view on problem solving
-  Delivery on agreed Scope of Work for external and internal services
-  Decide on the merits of HUB's decisions that may impact on the Sasol Group profitability
-  Recommend actions required to mitigate operational risks and exploit opportunities

-  Recommend changes to SMOP strategies which result from developments in marketing and other business strategies
-  Decisions regarding best practices on modelling techniques that can have a positive impact on the business

  • Financial Management:

-  Participate in rolling monthly plan and rolling annual plan (Budget process)

-  Identify needs for expenditures and provide input to the departmental budget
-  Control and management of the expenditure
-  Compliance to budget
-  Delivery against scope


Understand world economic trends and specifically petroleum and petro-chemical market trends, regulatory environment

Highlight risks, threats and opportunities that may explain expected deviations from currently executed plans and which affect future plans

Evaluate plant performance, align on Sasol drivers

Capture concerns, risks and opportunities that Operating Business Unit's have identified


Obtain information regarding operational issues that resulted in deviations from plans and schedules