Karl Berzins

Karl Berzins

University of New South Wales
Demand Planner - Kalari
Karl studied Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons 1) & Bachelor of Commerce at University of New South Wales

What's your job about?

I work for Kalari - A specialist bulk logistics provider, servicing the mining and resources sector. Kalari are a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swire Australia group.

I am a demand planner for the Kalari operation at BHPB’s Olympic Dam. As demand planner, I am responsible for the day to day co-ordination of 19 road trains, 48 drivers and 5 supervisors. I am responsible for maintaining adequate supply of seven (7) inbound products, and for the timely delivery of one (1) outbound product to Adelaide.

A standard day typically involves:

  • Morning meetings with the Kalari Olympic Dam team, followed by a daily BHPB meeting, discussing the daily product movements, safety, and any other significant items.
  • Monitoring driver fatigue, fleet utilisation, COR, and fleet servicing.
  • Liaising with supervisors in Adelaide, Port Augusta and Olympic Dam to ensure all vehicles are operating as per schedule.

What's your background?

I was born in Sydney (90’) to two ‘Kiwi’ parents who moved to Australia in the 80’s. I went to school on Sydney’s north shore, and university south of the bridge at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Growing up I was madly into sport, and I love the outdoors (still do). I also enjoyed science, maths and business at school, which largely led to my choice of degree (Engineering and Commerce).

I applied for a job at Swire after a few years as a structural engineering undergrad/grad. I felt that the career path as a pure design engineer was not for me, as I craved the bigger picture, and a broader spectrum of work. I applied for Swire and was lucky enough to get an interview – The rest is history. I have been at Swire for almost two years now, and am currently in my second rotation through the Swire subsidiaries.

In my spare time, I love to explore and get out of my comfort zone. I go on hikes/bushwalks and road-trips with my camera as often as possible.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes – I am not alone in the belief that Swire benefit enormously from employing individuals from different backgrounds.

The key to my current role as demand planner is a combination of hard work, dynamic decision making, and communication. These skills, although natural to some, can be learnt and I would encourage anyone to give it a go.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love that I have an opportunity to be in unique work environments which I would have otherwise never been exposed (given my current qualifications and skillset). In my current positon as demand planner, what really makes my day is when a driver calls up to say “thanks”. It is so simple but I wouldn’t ask for anything else.

Living remotely, I also have access to some of the most beautiful countryside in Australia. I try to go camping as often as possible, and spend a night by one of the many salt lakes (Lake Hart, Gairdner, Torrens) at least once a week. Being so far from the city, I also have access to the clearest of night skies. This has been a great opportunity for me to explore the world of astrophotography, and meet some great people at the Woomera Observatory each week.

What are the limitations of your job?

As demand planner you are required to be switched on at all times, covering a 24/7 operation that runs 365 days a year. I therefore on occasion find it difficult to separate myself from the day to day operations on the weekends.

Some people may also find the isolation of a remote mine operation quite difficult to handle. If you are smart about it however, it is definitely manageable and can be a positive experience.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Listen to yourself, listen to others.
  2. Travel.
  3. Pursue a passion that is greater than you.