A recent trip to two of sassda’s Port Elizabeth members stems from the dti wanting to conduct first hand visits to a variety of players in the ferrous metals industry to understand the sector’s challenges and see success stories first hand.
Sassda Executive Chairperson John Tarboton comments; “The benefit of these types of visits is that they give invaluable input into policy formulation as they provide first-hand knowledge of the industry. It’s all very easy to be theoretical but to really understand the challenges and aspirations of a particular industry; policy makers need to get on the ground and meet the people/companies driving the sector forward. We therefore applaud the dti’s efforts in this regard.”
The first sassda member visited was Welfit Oddy, in large part due to its sterling performance in sassda’s 2016 stainless awards. As always, its world-class tank container production facility that exports to markets across the globe, was a highlight and a true example of South Africa’s stainless steel production prowess on the global stage.
The second member to be visited was SJM Flex SA, which produces flexible couplings for car exhaust systems and has production facilities in China, Korea, Mexico and South Africa. The strength of its local offering has been enhanced by its leading role in this network of companies which has allowed it to benchmark itself and produce the best possible products as a result. Proof of the success of this structure, is that the South African plant is currently the Group’s top performer in terms of productivity and quality levels. It has also seen five local employees deployed to assist with getting the newest SJM facility in Mexico up to speed.
Another one of the key reasons why the local operation is such a success, is that the company has invested heavily in real transformation. This has seen a shift in the mentality of workers and management and the creation of far more inclusive internal operations and staff structures. It has also led to incredibly low levels of absenteeism and staff turnover.
Given the success of this first visit to Port Elizabeth, sassda has organised a second visit to Cape Town in November 2017 and will also be visiting some of its Gauteng fabrication members early next year.