Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda once said: “Development is about more than money, or machines, or good policies – it’s about real people and the lives they lead”. As our country grapples with economic transformation and growth, this quote is particularly relevant, highlighting the need for sustainable interventions and partnerships between corporate South Africa and other stakeholders. With economic growth forecast at a meagre 1%, unemployment at more than 26% and inflation hovering at the 5% mark, it has never been more important to foster entrepreneurship. With each viable business added to the marketplace, employment is created, and resources are utilised, adding to the national product and per capita income of a country.
The local Logistics Industry, as a significant employer and buyer, has a responsibility to drive change in all spheres, but particularly within the enablement of a diverse supplier base. Whilst transformation is often associated with broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) scorecards; real, sustainable transformation is an opportunity for all within the economy to play a role in the development of South Africa.
“Economic prosperity for all demands far more than a tick-box exercise to avoid penalties and secure contracts and as a company, we strive for a sustainable, viable impact through our supplier and enterprise development programmes, “ says Kamogelo Mmutlana, Chief Executive Officer, Barloworld Logistics. “Our industry contributes more than 10% to the South African GDP, employs thousands and sits right at the heart of the economy, and so the responsibility to set the right tone and example is critical. By building relevant programmes that create real, long-lasting entrepreneurial partnerships, as an industry we have the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.”
Indeed, as early as 2001, the organisation has been actively involved in growing micro-enterprises within the transport industry. Such programmes have evolved over the years into robust empowerment mechanisms providing high-potential individuals the ability to improve their skill and become business owners; changing their trajectory from an employee with limited prospects to an entrepreneur in charge of their destiny. Amongst the success stories are the so called ‘Emerging Truckers”; individuals taking ownership of vehicles in support of Barloworld Logistics’ customers in both the agriculture and chemical industries and heralding a new type of professional micro-transporter in the market.
While the fostering of micro-enterprises has long been a tradition, the inclusion of supplier development as part and parcel of procurement strategies is a growing trend. This means that supplier development will be managed and supported correctly to move transformation from a perceived trade-off between scorecard and business needs to an everyday norm. Once internalised, as within Barloworld Logistics, the intention becomes to strengthen relationships with all suppliers, including micro-enterprises, driven by a belief that customers, and indeed organisations, will benefit immensely from continued ambitions to develop emerging entrepreneurs
“Supplier development is about providing individuals with the tools to better themselves and the communities, not simply about funding”, adds Mmutlana.
“A multi-pronged approach of skills transfer, mentoring and market-access provides developing suppliers with much-needed support, worth far more than a simple cash injection. This type of support translates into business benefits in that the industry has more access to micro-enterprises directly aimed at providing the services vital to driving the economy”.
As part of the Barloworld Group, Barloworld Logistics participates in the programmes offered by the Group incubation hub Siyakhula. This hub focuses on the development of majority black-owned SMMEs or suppliers who have the intention of transforming their businesses. SMMEs recruited into Siyakhula undergo a diagnostic assessment and once needs are identified, they are offered tailor-made packages of financial and non-financial support aimed at addressing their unique challenges The Barloworld Group Siyakhula Incubation hub augments the supplier development initiatives already in place within Barloworld Logistics and adds to the overall programme.
“It is an interesting challenge for leaders to chart the way to meaningful transformation within the supplier and enterprise development space”, concluded Mmtulana. “What is heartening is that Barloworld leaders genuinely believe in the philosophy and goals of transformation, implementing genuine and long-lasting initiatives, making a world of difference in the communities we serve.