At the end of May, sassda held its Strategy Review Workshop. The event was attended by sassda employees, Main Committee members and consultants to the association. The aim of the day was to identify threats and opportunities in the global and local environment that have an impact on South African industry and the stainless steel sector in particular.
Major issues identified were in the following areas: social, technological, economic, environmental and political arenas. Major global concerns identified were safety and security as well as exchange rates. Local threats to industry were the issues regarding the dissatisfied youth, student unrest, unemployment and poor education, as were low growth rates, failed black economic empowerment and an ever increasing wealth gap and economic inequality.
However, many opportunities were also identified. The growth in technology and renewable energy both offer significant opportunities for industry, particularly in stainless steel. Water infrastructure, desalination and the water economy in general offer growth prospects as do renewable power and green energy. The current exchange rate also offers benefits and opportunities for exports and import replacements. New technology and resulting applications will create massive opportunities for growth and change in the industry.
Sassda conducted a survey to canvass it members with regards to local perception of the market and sassda in general. The survey was based on sassda’s seven Strategic Pillars. A total of 108 members out of 394 responded. It must be noted that the graphs and results of this survey only represent 27.3% of members, however this response rate is better than average industry survey response rates. Comments also only express an individual’s voice and may not be representative of the industry. As such, although the information gathered is informative, strategy is not determined on the feedback.
Feedback showed that overall satisfaction was up year-on-year, as was member satisfaction and sassda products and services.
In terms of marketing, members felt that brochures offer the most value, then the Cross and Ball logo and then the Stainless Steel Magazine. Members felt that sassda’s media advertising campaign offered the least value and “did not get to a wide or appropriate market” for most members.
Education and training was identified as a valuable offering by sassda. The Advanced Course was perceived as the most valuable, then the Fundamentals Course and the third most valuable resource in this category was the Technical Advisory Service. Presentations to Architectural Students were considered to be the least valuable initiative in the category.
With regards to perceptions of Safeguarding the Industry, members felt notifications regarding stolen material were most important, then updates on Stainless Steel Statistics, while the least important were PUM.
Members felt that media releases offered the most value in the category to Raise sassda Profile, where social media offers the least value, with members feeling that it wasn’t always “relevant to the stainless steel industry”.
Members believe Trade Shows with the dti offer the most value in the category of Export Promotion, whereas they see the Africa Project Access newsletter as currently offering the least value.
Members believe sassda e-mail communications offer the best value in terms of Member Engagement, where regional lunches offer the least value. However, members stated that they appreciated face-to-face visits, which they felt were most beneficial.
STRATEGY WORKSHOP ANALYSIS OF SASSDA PILLARS
The consensus from the Strategy Session with regards to the above pillars and taking members feedback into consideration, was that they cover all the requirements and are appropriate drivers to promoting stainless steel in the local industry. The belief is that a broad focus on Market Development will encompass all the pillars. As such sectors, projects and opportunities need to be identified and targeted specifically. In doing this sassda will be able to focus on each of the pillars effectively.
Sassda believes that a clear definition of its target audience is also crucial to its overall strategy.
SASSDA’S PURPOSE STATEMENT
“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.”