Specialist equipment supplier Multotec believes that a balance between the mechanisation of manufacturing, operations and job creation must be maintained, says COO Jannie de Jonge.
He tells Engineering News that it is something Multotec believes and practices.
“In South Africa, job creation in the manufacturing industry is critical for the sustainability of the industry.” He explains that the mechanisation of manufacturing operations must be dealt with responsibly, otherwise it will lead to mass job losses which, in turn, will lead to an unstable economy and society.
“The value of mechanisation must be carefully evaluated and offset against job preservation and creation.”
De Jonge further notes that Multotec employs about 1 600 people across its various facilities and believes that the relationship between employers and employees is paramount in the manufacturing industry. “This industry is labour intensive – it employs almost two-million people locally. Sound labour relations, as well as policies, are crucial in this industry.”
It is important that manufacturing companies see trade unions as their partners and Multotec makes a point of maintaining its relationship with trade unions, adds De Jonge.
“Labour disruptions, for example, can be very destructive to the industry and, therefore, all stakeholders in the industry must forge and sustain good relationships.”
He believes that such relationships will bolster local manufacturing, which is crucial to South Africa’s economic health. Multotec fully supports the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Mineral Resources’ drives for increased local manufacturing.
De Jonge also points out that manufacturing companies must realise the importance of participating in the forums that have been created for industry, such as the manufacturers corporate association the Manufacturing Circle, the South African Capital Equipment Export Council and the South African Mineral Process Equipment Council.
“These platforms promote collaboration and, with the support of manufacturing companies, a truly collaborative environment can be created.”
Further, he notes that installation, maintenance and ongoing support after supplying services are key to a manufacturing operation. “To be and remain competitive and preferred by clients, companies must demonstrate that they can support their clients and meet their needs.”
He adds that Multotec established branches countrywide to ensure that it can do exactly that.
“The South African manufacturing industry must develop a confident manufacturing culture – one that it is proud of and one that consumers are proud of – as this will drive demand and global competitiveness,” De Jonge concludes.