Supply chain management training remains the most critical discipline in building capacity and ensuring South Africa’s competitiveness and sustainability in the global context.
This was a key theme that emerged during the recent Supply Chain Management Education Excellence Awards (SCM/EEA) ceremony when South Africa’s top supply chain management educators were honoured during a gala event at the end of the SAPICS annual conference held at Sun City.
The SCM/EEA Corporate Educator of the Year category was open to companies that believe they make a difference in developing and transforming education in the supply chain sector during the past year.
Imperial Logistics took top honours while the runner-up was SYSPRO. Other nominees were Automotive Industry Development Centre, NGK Spark Plugs and Transnet.
“These companies distinguished themselves for having done the most to close the yawning skills gap in the supply chain sector in South Africa,” said Gerard de Villiers, chief judge on the SCM/EEA panel.
The SCM/EEA, now in its seventh year, aims to recognise companies and individuals who contribute to alleviating the global skills crisis in the profession by embracing learning and development and making education a part of the culture and company ethos.
According to Colette Wessels, training and development executive at Imperial Logistics, this year’s award submission by Imperial Logistics was a joint one from the Imperial Logistics Academy and Imperial Health Sciences’ Supply Chain Academy.
Wessels elaborates: “Our submission encompassed the efforts and achievements of both these Imperial training facilities. Our ‘Fast Forward’ skills development initiative is the main focus of the Imperial Logistics Academy. It takes a practical approach to addressing skills development gaps and operates across various levels, from facilitating workplace entry and tertiary education support to industry collaboration and research.”
A critical element is the newly developed, customized, Learnership programmes which offer learners nationally recognised credentials for training. 230 learners are currently enrolled on Learnership programmes through the Imperial Logistics Academy.
“The need for supply chain skills in Africa’s public health environment led to the inception of the Imperial Health Sciences Supply Chain Academy, which plays a critical role in the development of individuals working at all levels of the public health sector,” says Wessels. “Weak links in this supply chain can have dire consequences, including restricting access to drugs needed to prevent and treat AIDS, malaria, TB and other deadly diseases.”
Over the past financial year, Imperial Logistics has invested more than R87-million in training and skills development initiatives. More than 70% of the amount spent was directed towards black employees, in line with the company’s transformation objectives. The Imperial Logistics Academy has also achieved accreditation with the Transport Education and Training Authority.
“It is an honour to be recognised for our commitment to upskilling our people and the industry as a whole at a prestigious event like the SAPICS conference,” says Wessels.