TECK RESOURCES LIMITED
VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA
What is so attractive about working in-house? According to Andrew Buddle, it’s the chance to work collaboratively to solve complex problems with a long-term focus. Problems like: How can an iconic Canadian mining company with four business units — copper, zinc, metallurgical coal, and energy production, operating in Canada, the United States, Chile, and Peru — maintain operational excellence while moving quickly to finalize major contracts?
Andrew recognized that Teck tends to work with the same professional services firms and construction companies across its business lines and jurisdictions. His solution was multi-jurisdictional Master Services Agreements (MSAs), which are now used by more than 125 of Teck’s partners. On average, the MSAs save Teck three weeks of negotiating time and significant corresponding labor and other costs for each major contract.
The MSAs live in the Teck Contracts system, a “plug and play” model of contract management that Andrew designed with colleagues from Teck’s major projects team. “Since early 2017, we have collectively devoted hundreds of hours to the project and it has saved us thousands,” he recounts. The system contains over 200 standard forms for procurement and contracts, from RFPs to formulaic letters of regret and change order forms, in both English and Spanish. With over 100 Teck employees trained on the system, it receives more than 8,000 hits per month.
Andrew credits the close partnership with his colleagues with the system’s success: “I am very fortunate to work with innovative and trustworthy professionals who have become devoted co-developers and users of these RFP and contract templates. Their input and their buy-in have been instrumental in making this successful. We have been taking a team approach to really understand what does the team actually want, what does the team actually need, and working together to mobilize resources and delegate appropriately.” He also lobbied to hire a knowledge management analyst to help manage the technical aspects of the system, whom he credits for successful user training and on boarding.
After building the tools, Andrew helped the legal department use them as a single unit. He first created a knowledge management survey that identified opportunities for innovation and collaboration. The result: the Teck Legal Hub platform debuted in 2019, offering online resources, training, and various tools, such as partially automated “smart” contract analysis and IP law infographics. With everyone working from home due to COVID-19, the hub is getting more hits than ever.
As Canada’s largest diversified miner, Teck builds and owns complex infrastructure, including interests in a major port in British Columbia and the Fort Hills oil sands project in the neighboring province of Alberta. Andrew, who was raised in the prairie province, leads the Teck legal team’s logistics and marketing work for this new and complex business unit. Fort Hills began shipping oil sands products to other provinces and the United States in 2018, but years before that Andrew was negotiating with end buyers to ensure the project’s success for Teck. “It is fascinating work because the markets are very tight, plus the scrutiny of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon pricing changes to international shipping, and constantly evolving supply chain issues provide significant opportunities and risks for the business,” he says.
Andrew’s problem-solving skills are also useful at home — his calendar is a web of obligations. With four young children and a spouse who practices family medicine and surgery, he has coached over 20 youth hockey, soccer, basketball, and baseball teams since 2011 and has guest-taught classes on mining at their elementary school. In 2012, he founded a co-ed soccer team for his church that covers the costs for anyone unable to pay, such as recent Syrian refugees. The league promotes religious tolerance by organizing games between other spiritual communities. He is also a committee member for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Mining for Miracles campaign, which has a current fundraising target of CA$2 million to help fund specialized medical research and equipment.
With his collaborative approach to finding solutions, he’ll be prepared to handle any challenge as it arises.