What’s really going on?

A key aspects of the sassda 2017 AGM was feedback from the association’s annual  Member Satisfaction Survey that was conducted in April 2017, the results of which were extremely encouraging in terms of how the association has improved over the last three years since the surveys began.

Three main areas were covered in the 2017 sassda Member Satisfaction Survey namely: member satisfaction, the professionalism of sassda staff and value of products and services. The survey analysis used weighted averages to compare findings. A product rated as offering zero value scored one point, some value two points, valuable three points, above average value four points and exceptional value five points. A weighted average above three therefore indicates that the product or service is more than valuable.

Snapshot of the key findings:

  • Overall ratings increased from 3.14 to 3.28.
  • Member satisfaction was 4.04 showing a solid improvement over the last three years, with over 70% of respondents being somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with sassda.
  • sassda service levels were rated at 3.79 with 63.4% of respondents indicating that they exceed expectations or are world-class.
  • The value of products and services at 3.11, indicated that members rate these as more than “valuable”.

Tarboton also reported back on sassda’s most recent monthly short track survey (June 2017) which is conducted amongst members to gauge current business sentiment and benchmark that against feedback the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) is getting from its members. In response to the question around current stainless related orders for June  2016 vs. 2017, only 32% of local members said they currently have sufficient orders. They did experience some improvement towards the end of last year but that optimism seems to have evaporated. In comparison, the ISSF survey revealed that more than 57% of producers around the world say they have sufficient orders.

In terms of their current business situation, there has also been a decline in local outlook compared to a year ago. Granted, there were better conditions in the market, with the last four months of 2016 and the first two of months of 2017 being reasonably positive and things starting to improve but unfortunately, members are now exhibiting the negative but understandable sentiment associated with a volatile rand, technical recession and political and labour upheavals.

Looking forward in terms of what members think, a new Stainless Steel Industry Expectations Index has been created.  The index uses a similar calculation to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (% better + 0.5x unchanged). A level above 50 would indicate expansion is expected. This graph clearly shows the improvement in the third quarter last year and the first quarter this year, before dropping back to the lowest level seen since February 2016.

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