The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) says that there is a need for the South African stainless steel indus- try to become more globally competitive.
Chairperson Sampie van Rooyen says it is necessary for the stainless steel indus- try to have a competitive edge from both a cost and a quality perspective.
Van Rooyen explains that an increased cost and quality efficiency will provide opportunities for the local industry to export its products and mitigate against the threat of cheaper imports.
Sassda MD Tim Raaff says, to achieve this competitive edge, South Africa must increase its skills base and develop First World and competitive manufacturing techniques.
Sassda aims to establish a product- launching platform for its members and companies in the industry, in an effort to increase the consumption of stainless steel.
Raaff says there is a need for the local industry to work together to increase the level of general consumption of stainless steel.
Sassda has established a forum, which is made up of labour and government stakeholders, who met for the first time, late last year, to discuss how to increase the consumption of stainless steel, and support for the industry.
Raaff says that the South African stainless steel industry needs to grow its range of product offerings to successfully substitute imported products. This forum between labour, government and industry has been esta- blished to develop a strategy to overcome this threat.
Sassda is also focusing on developing relationships between business and industry. Raaff says that large businesses from different industries will be invited to the forums to establish the needs of com- panies, as well as the industry’s capabilities.
Sassda is also attempting to make consumers aware of the potential pitfalls of buying inferior imported products.
One of the initiatives is a certification scheme, by which members will apply for a mark of excellence. This will provide consumers with the assurance that products of good-quality stainless steel should carry the trademark of the Cross and Balls logo, which will be implemented by Sassda.
Raaff explains that Sassda has restructured to align itself with the different levels of government in the country.
“Sassda can facilitate growth in the industry and be part of the solution. There needs to be less reliance on imports and more focus on developing our exports, new products, technologies and markets, particularly in Africa,” concludes Raaff.