WE’RE WITH YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY…
Welcome to the first digital version of Sassda’s Stainless Steel magazine. You will recognise the format and quality content with the major difference that no trees were sacrificed! The decision to go digital is not only an effort to shrink our carbon footprint but also allows us to save costs and make the content more accessible.
Although the industry started the year with a positive and optimistic outlook, the reality quickly showed is that the economy has receded into a slow stumble, with the COVID-19 pandemic then added to the mix, to render a perfect storm. The journey to recovery will be a hard climb for businesses across South Africa.
Despite this, Sassda has seen this as an opportunity to re-evaluate and reinvent some of our offerings.
We conduct regular member surveys and these indicate that our industry has once again contracted by more than 15% in volume year on year. Member confidence started to improve to slightly above 50% at the start of 2020 only to collapse again to 25% after the lockdown was announced. Our latest survey shows a confidence level that has increased to 38%. This serves as a sober reminder of the current state of industry. While this low figure can be attributed to a fair degree of kneejerk reaction, it still serves as a sober reminder of the current state of our industry.
However, knowing how resilient our industry is, we firmly believe that this confidence figure will start to improve as soon as the sector finds some rhythm again.
REBUILDING THE INDUSTRY
Sassda also embarked on the road of a new funding model in 2019 with its implementation in 2020. The timing of this could not have been worse. The Board has therefore decided to offer members an immediate 33.3% discount on membership fees for 2020/21. Sassda hopes that this will give
enough financial relief to members.
A NEW WAY OF LEARNING
Sassda also realised that the old way of delivering our products and services will not be effective in the current environment and will most probably soon be obsolete. With that in mind, our current Fundamentals Course has been redeveloped to allow for a new online format with a series of easy to digest webinars. Sassda is running free webinars on Wednesday afternoons between 15h00 and 16h00. Recorded webinars will be available on the website.
Overall we’d like attendees to use these sessions as a marketing opportunity for their organisation and encourage your sales team to invite customers and non-members to these events. All that is required is an internet connection and an email address and we urge you to make use of this opportunity to tap into Sassda’s wealth of technical knowledge and advice.
The initial webinars will be live, but as we hone our skills, they will be developed into properly recorded sessions available to our members.
We are currently redoing our Fundamentals course to be an online product available all over the globe.
AN UNSHACKLED SECTOR
In terms of lobbying on behalf of our members during the lockdown, Sassda has worked intensively with government and continues to do so. Our industry sector was one of the first to be allowed to operate at 50% workforce levels and is well prepared to handle the risks that exist due to the pandemic. Looking ahead, our focus will now shift from COVID-19 related issues to securing opportunities for the stainless steel industry. We are currently strongly involved with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Steel Master Plan. We are committed to this process with a firm belief that we will be able to unshackle the real capacity of our sector.
So, whether it’s helping members with specific queries on relief packages or the interpretation of government regulations, we are determined to help you navigate this exceptionally difficult time in our country’s history.
With that in mind, we trust that you will remain safe and that no matter what happens, we’ll be with you every step of the way!
Stay safe & warm.
It is a recognised fact that mentorship is required to bring the younger generation to a world class level of professionalism and performance. Sassda is therefore compiling a database of retired stainless steel specialists who will assist Sassda’s membership and industry in general, with technical and other operational issues. If you are a willing and able retired specialist please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this endeavour.