i-Fundi Community of Experts

Experts and Entrepreneurs on Enterprise Supplier Development

Experts and Entrepreneurs on Enterprise Supplier Development

by Alex Kinmont

South Africa’s unemployment crisis is showing no signs of improvement. The unemployment rate was most recently recorded at 29%, the worst it’s been in over a decade. According to the National Development Plan, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises might just be the solution, as globally they tend to employ 60-70% of the population.

South Africa’s SMEs are failing to do this, providing jobs for only 30% of South Africans. Where are we going wrong and how can we fix it? At our September Community of Experts, we discussed the current state of South Africa’s Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises sector and how we can support it.

Workshop speakers were divided into two panels, starting with two seasoned B-BBEE and Enterprise Development specialists, followed by three up and coming entrepreneurs operating township retail, freelancing services and commercial farming enterprises.

Dzivhululwani Mudau and Garry Whitby – both with big four consulting backgrounds – opened the workshop with expert insights into the SMME development and B-BBEE environment.

Mudau is an Enterprise and Supplier Development professional at Accenture with extensive experience in the transformation space. Whitby is a private sector and livelihood development expert with over 40 years of experience in international development, including SME consulting, in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

As a PhD scholar researching the effects of B-BBEE on business effectiveness, Mudau provided an overview of the B-BBEE legislative codes around Enterprise Development and emphasised the importance of changing the mindset of companies from a tick-box mentality to a focus on authentically striving for change. He defined Enterprise Development as working with a company or supplier on a one to one basis to improve quality, performance and sustainability. He shared best practices for corporates to consider in developing their enterprise and supplier development policies. These include:

  • Developing policy that outlines the financial and non-financial (including sustainable development) criteria that will be used to evaluate suppliers and the conduct that will be expected from them;
  • Reaching agreement on the governance of Enterprise and Supplier Development  (ensure proper resourcing);
  • Developing a preferential procurement policy that outlines clear objectives and the minimum BBBEE criteria that suppliers must comply with;
  • Developing an Enterprise and Supplier Development strategy and measurable implementation  plan;
  • Setting aside certain commodities for ESD beneficiaries.

Whitby, an independent enterprise development and livelihoods consultant with over 40 years global experience, expanded on his integrated model of required inputs to support enterprise development. These included five fundamental enterprise skills competency pillars; access to key enabling business support and development services; and a stable and conducive political and policy environment.  Whitby, who was one of the pioneers of the Challenge Fund model, noted the importance of involvement of the private sector – especially business associations – in supporting business development financially, through lobbying government and in provision of business development services.

The Entrepreneurs panel opened with Oscar Monama, Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder of Vuleka, a grassroots economic development initiative. Vuleka is an online platform which facilitates the buying and selling of stock from large corporates and small-scale manufacturers to township-based businesses.

After a decade’s experience in the FMCG market, Monama recognised the enormous potential of the township economy in South Africa. Through Vuleka, he and co-founder, Brian Makwaiba, have found a way to combine tech with grassroots business in a way which is actively building the South African economy. Three years ago they were making their deliveries to their network of township retail outlets with a Mazda 2. Today they have a warehouse with three trucks.

The next entrepreneur to present was Scelo Makhathini, a Chartered Accountant who left a lucrative career in investment banking to follow his passion for entrepreneurship. Makhathini is the Chief Executive Office and co-founder of freelance talent platform, LinkdPro. This online talent matching service was founded based on his experience within the financial services industry, where there was an ongoing need for specific skills sets on a temporary basis. It is also founded on the growing trend towards the gig economy. 

As a beneficiary of a corporate enterprise accelerator programme, Makhathini emphasised the importance of ESD programmes in how they can support entrepreneurs who will in turn provide jobs for our unemployed. LinkdPro now serves blue chip clients locally and globally and is poised for growth and expansion.

Our final speaker and entrepreneur was Sonto Mujakachi from Treasure Trove Farms in North West Province. After following an illustrious international academic and corporate career, Mujakachi decided she wanted to do more for the country and food security became her calling. The name Treasure Trove came through delving into her family’s long tradition as commercial farmers and realising its significance and potential. In the last three years, Treasure Trove farms has become a 7 day operation and is one of the top suppliers of fresh produce to brand name retailers such as Pick n Pay, Shoprite Checkers and Woolworths.

Mujakachi pointed out the difficulties of being an entrepreneur, and explained the risks she took when she used her own cash to finance the start of her business. She shared about a storm that hit her farm in its first year and wiped out all her crops and how this ordeal taught her to be resilient and not give up. Her key pointers to aspiring entrepreneurs are to focus on integrity and quality. Today, Treasure Trove farm is preparing to enter the global export environment.

Enterprise and Supplier Development can have huge impact on the South African economy. Our SMMEs currently form around 98% of enterprises, yet they only employ less than 30% of the population. Globally, SMMEs employ between 60 and 70% of the population, illustrating their enormous potential.

If ESD programmes can build up our SMMEs to meet global standards, such as the examples  of the entrepreneurs profiled, they can have huge impact on the economy. As Mudau and Whitby point out, the focus areas should be on market access and funding and the integration of technology. If corporates focus more on supporting enterprise development initiatives, not only will they meet their B-BBEE requirements but they will be contributing towards building up small enterprises and the economy. With some training and some mentoring, Small, Medium and Mico-sized Enteprises can fulfil their potential and provide jobs to more people.

For a copy of the presentation, click here.

For more information on our New Venture Creation qualification, click here.

Proposed Changes to BBBEE Codes of Good Practice

The proposed amendments to the DTI Sector Codes were issued for public comment on the 29 March 2018. Many companies are struggling to maintain their existing scorecard levels under the amended codes, let alone now understand these proposed amendments. Join our next Community of Experts event led by Reabetsoe Nengwenani, Technical Specialist at the BEE Chamber to understand what these proposed changes mean as well as the resultant impact on your business if gazetted. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions to the BEE Chamber in this regard in order to clarify your understanding.

Programme outcomes

  • Introduction to Ifundi  and Ubuntu initiative ( 9.00-9.30am)
  • Discussion on the Proposed amendments to the BBBEE  codes(9.30-10.30am)
  • Q and A session with Industry Technical Expert (10.30-11.00)
  • Presentation by Anusha Mariemuthu on BEE Chamber ( 11.00-11.30)
  • Closing

Speaker's Details

Reabetsoe Nengwenani, Technical Specialist at The BEE Chamber holds a  B Com Accounting Degree (WITS), B-BBEE MDP (Unisa), Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (WBS). Reabetsoe has extensive experience in B-BBEE transformation with previous experience in consulting and Transformation lead at a IT multinational company and also serves as a Trustee Member  on a Board Based Black Empowerment Trust. She is passionate about contributing towards initiatives that driving Economic Development for South Africa & driving initiatives that will see economic participation and growth for those previously disadvantaged.

Anusha Mariemuthu holds a B Com(Hons)-Cum Laude from the University Of Durban Westville and is an expert in the Transformation space , specialising in skills Development. Anusha has 13 years of  specialised experience implementing  sustainable  BBBEE and Transformation strategies, Change Management and Learning and Development.

Workforce Management

Workforce Management

i-Fundi hosted Community of Expert events in September 2013 addressing the issue of Workforce Management in the Contact Centre Industry.

These workshops were attended by participants eager  to learn more about Graham Mcleod’s insights into Workforce Management. It is common to think of Workforce Management solely as a tool to cut costs by ensuring that the Contact Centre has the correct number of agents on the floor at all times – too many agents and cost overruns occur, too few agents and service levels drop. However, Graham was there to broaden this narrow understanding of Workforce Management.

Graham has been in the customer service sector for over 22 years. Over the years, he has been instrumental in setting up almost 130 Contact Centres in a variety of industries. With a strong technical background, Graham’s focus is always to find the edge in business by intelligently implementing the latest technologies and processes.
Stefan Lauber opened the event and highlighted that Contact Centre’s in South Africa have come a long way over the last two decades. In the past, the Contact Centre workforce was ridiculed as a ‘Girl Friday Industry’. Today we realise that the Contact Centre workforce can, and should be, pro-actively developed with the advantage of enjoying a stimulating career in a complex environment.
Graham highlighted, by way of an introduction, that Workforce Managment has very little to do with technology or staff scheduling. Workforce Management is so much more, it is about handling the complexity of utilising the right staff at the right time in a way that boosts productivity and income, and not just cut costs. In other words, in order to remain competitive in today’s economic climate Contact Centres must move their primary focus away from saving costs to becoming revenue contributors. Traditionally, Workforce Management is only seen as a tool to reduce cost and staff, as 60 to 70 percent of contact centre costs is related to staff. However, in order to change the focus of Workforce Management requires the contact centre manager to report to the CEO. It was interesting to note that none of the attendees reported to their CEO’s and the majority were at least five layers down in the reporting line.
The time is now for Contact Centre managers to change mind-set and reassess goals because staff efficiency is just not good enough anymore. They must concentrate on contact centre agent profitability. In other words, don’t match volumes to people; rather match skills to needs.  Therefore ask the question whether current activities in Contact Centre’s support business goals.
“Traditional Workforce Management,” Graham said, “focused on keeping agents at their desks. However, what is now suggested is to introduce a 10-minute break every hour. In other words work for 50 minutes then break for 10 minutes.” This will, according to Graham, result in more productivity throughout the day and ultimately more revenue for the business. Simply put, mature contact centres allow for Flexible Schedules. The modern contact centre should deal with staff churn effectively by providing a career path and not just a job. People need a future and an informed contact centre manager will focus on that rather than schedules. On the question of KPI formulation, Graham was very clear “KPI’s should be individualised and not generic as per the job function.”
Most managers view Workforce Management as a technology tool only but Graham pointed out that Workforce Management has various aspects to consider. A workforce management tool would only be effective once the contact centre was prepared to consider the points discussed. Graham offered the following useful guidelines on what to look for when selecting Workforce Management Software:
  • Can you create workflows?
  • Can mundane tasks be automated?
  • Can people at various levels access the software i.e. agents choosing their own shifts etc.?
  • Is it possible to gain a holistic view of the business and then work down to the detail?
  • Can the software integrate with other critical business systems?
  • Can the functionality be extended into the rest of the business?
“Workforce management, and not Excel or an application” Graham concluded, “plays a role in every aspect of the contact centre. Ultimately that is what will make a difference in your business.”
iFundi’s Community of Experts Series has been welcomed by the public as an innovative tool for both educating and networking, while addressing topics of common interests to the practitioners of various professional communities. These events expose the participants to new ideas as presented by a guest speaker and allow a forum for the participants to share their experiences. Interested parties can contact Stefan Lauber or his team, regarding the October event, which will focus on Coaching and Training. Phone: +27 11 290 5900.

Understanding Learnerships

Are Learnerships a new concept? Only to some degree. For decades young people have entered the workplace through internships or apprecnticeships. However, what really makes Learnerships different is the context of Government’s skills development strategy.

Read the attached the white paper to find out more about the benefits to your company for black economic empowerment, training budgets and finance, human capital development, and job creation.

Understanding Learnerships