Buenaventura adds value to its board of directors by implementing Diligent Boards
With 60 years of experience, Minas Buenaventura Company is one of the largest mining companies in Peru. Its operations focus on the extraction of precious metals, primarily gold and silver, in several owned mines and in other mines operated along with domestic and foreign mining companies. As a public company established under the laws of Peru, Buenaventura is listed on the Lima Stock Exchange (BUE.LM) since 1971 and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BVN) since 1996.
Contributing to sustainable and decentralized development of Peru is among the undertakings by Buenaventura as a company, due to its proximity to various towns in the interior of the country. Furthermore, its obligation to the environment is precisely one of the reasons for which the company opted to use the Diligent Boards™ solution. “The amount of paper printed before used to be very bulky,” explains Oswaldo Cabrera, Manager of Technology. “Say 300 pages per board member at each meeting; therefore, reducing the amount of printed copies or not printing at all was a measure that was consistent with our environmental commitment.”
Another challenge faced by Buenaventura was the complexity of collecting the documents required for each board of directors. Fabiola Bottino is the external audit clerk and responsible for managing the board material. She explains that gathering information from multiple people required days of preparation (up to one week) and lot of coordination, which made the process “burdensome and laborious,” since it was always under a deadline. “The worst part of it was last minute changes, as we needed to remake all the folders.”
Additionally, the method was far from being effective for the board members. Dina Davalos, Head of Customer Support, explains: “For them, carrying so many papers was cumbersome. Many of them travel constantly and were required to carry a huge folder. Additionally, they wasted time while waiting to get the information in order to review it.”
Having identified the problem, the next step was to choose the most suitable solution able to meet the company needs. Oswaldo explains that there were several choices, including the public cloud. However, none of them covered the whole cycle of preparation of materials and submission to the board. “With Diligent, we found a tailor-made solution, as it contains approvals and control of the information. Furthermore, when we learned about the tool, we realized that it was quite feasible to implement as a solution. It was easy to use and could be adopted by users in a simple way.”
For Dina, the reasons for making the final decision was the management of confidential information, a sensitive topic for companies of the status of Buenaventura. Since Diligent stores data in private servers, information is protected under the stiffest security standards, both physically and by encryption. “We pondered it thoroughly and could see that Diligent Boards had all the requirements by audit and information internal security.”
Some members of the board of directors were not familiar, in some cases, with devices such as an iPad. Oswaldo claims that it was among their major concerns, because it implied learning by stages. Nevertheless, they soon realized that the iPad use was very intuitive and, as soon as its handling was completed, learning to use the Diligent Boards was just as easy. “Dissemination was very simple,” Dina says. “At the support department we took a few training hours. Thus, we were able to train the members of the board in how to use the tool. All of them grasped it quickly.”
“The real evidence is that a few minutes after we first implemented it, all directors could effortlessly handle it,” Oswaldo says. The transition to Diligent Boards’ solution was fast and efficient. For the first meeting of the board of directors, materials in hard copy were given for support, but they were not necessary. For the second session, only a couple of hard copies were brought; from the third meeting onward, it was completely paperless.
For Fabiola, it is impressive how the process has been simplified. “For me, it is very useful because, so often, information arrives very late and we are in a rush. We used to stay in the office until 10 or 11 in the evening to review and prepare the information. Now, I take it all digitally and in the comfort of home, I can upload and update the information. Thus, I can let them know that folders are ready with just an email.”
What formerly took days, now takes a maximum of 30 minutes with the Diligent Boards solution. “They take longer to send me the information compared with the time I take to upload it in the system.” It is really fast,” she concludes.
For the board members, having the folders arranged by session and date is very useful. In this way, they can refer to past sessions, query into changes and keep a more accurate registry. Everything works as if they referred to a book.
For Dina, stability is the system’s main asset. One time, Fabiola relates, they had troubles with the passwords of some members of the board that could not get access to their sessions. Dina called Support and “it was solved within 10 minutes.”