We live in interesting times and it therefore comes as no surprise that the level of optimism of our members has dropped since the cabinet reshuffle at the end of March.
In February, 37% of survey respondents thought that business would improve in the next three months and only 6% thought it would get worse. Two months later and only 22% thought things will improve with 16% feeling it would get worse. There has been a slight improvement in the order situation as well as the outlook for the next three months compared to last month and also compared to the same month last year.
However, apparent consumption of stainless steel primary products for the first two months of this year has contracted by more than 20%, compared to the same period last year.
It is against this backdrop that the sassda Main Committee held a strategy review session on the 24th of May. The strategy review will allow us to build on the progress that we have seen at sassda in the last five years and to plan for the future – to be prepared to ‘kill our darlings’ and where necessary, chart new ways forward.
The outcomes of this session will be presented at the Annual General Meeting on the 14th of June at 3pm. This meeting will also be webcast to
The Annual Member Satisfaction Survey was also recently completed and the results of this were used as input for the strategy review. Promisingly, there has been a continuing improvement in member satisfaction levels over the last three years and a dramatic improvement in our Net Promoter Score.
However, the improvement in value of our products and services to our members has been more muted. Having said that, most of these offerings are regarded as already adding value to our members.
All of which brings us back to sassda’s purpose, namely to provide a platform for sassda members to collectively promote the sustainable growth and development of the industry with the main emphasis on stainless steel converted within the South African economy.
The reality is that at present our industry is contracting. In the wake of the sharp fall in the Absa purchasing managers index (PMI) for April, Seifsa’s Senior Economist, Tafadzwa Chibanguza commented that this contraction meant that the second quarter began “with severe headwinds that may not bode well for the economy in 2017”.
So, there’s no doubt that we do, indeed, live in interesting times. In light of this, sassda must rise to the challenge and find ways to innovate and add more value to our members’ businesses and thus help grow the South African stainless steel conversion industry.