2019 has been a tough year for all industries in South Africa. From political uncertainty, labour uncertainty, to an unreliable power provider, all resulting in a declining economy bordering on another recession. Everyone has been affected.
It is in these times, that bold decisions need to be made and it is from this that Foseco South Africa has taken the opportunity amidst all the doom and gloom, to revitalise itself and prepare for the upturn of the economy, in the future.
Foseco has embarked on the journey of implementing lean manufacturing practices, to improve itself and cement its competitiveness within an industry faced with many challenges. Lean is not a new catch phrase, it’s been around for many years and focuses on the empowerment, upskilling and utilisation of its employees at all levels. Foseco has made significant investments to restructure the business, upgrade existing machinery, turn inefficient processes around and bring new technologies into the business, Foseco is ensuring that it stays relevant in today’s foundry industry and its future.
Gareth Matthew, Operations Manager at the Alrode Manufacturing Plant, believes that the future of Foseco lies entirely in the hands of their employees. “We’ve always taken our people for granted, simply assuming that they will be able to maintain their levels of productivity and do as they are told, but that mentality is a thing of the past. We have to ensure that we equip them with the correct tools that they require to improve themselves, take ownership of our equipment and processes and constantly work towards a better, higher quality and consistent product for our customers” he says, adding that, “It’s imperative that we upskill our employees to the level that they are aware of their own importance to our organisation and are self-sufficient enough to contribute to the betterment of the business. At the same time, we will be investing in the future of Foseco by upgrading existing capital equipment, and implementing new technologies into our products and processes to continuously improve our cost base in this constantly escalating economy we find ourselves in.”
“External market factors have had a dramatic impact on the foundry industry in South Africa and the margin for error has become extremely slim. This has spawned a host of challenges, namely cash flow, uncertain stock holding requirements as well as cost competitiveness. With further foundry closures in 2019 and inevitably more to follow, it has sent a new level of urgency through the market that a significant mind shift is of paramount importance for the continuation of the industry in South Africa.”
“The initial reaction is to cut back on quality materials and save cash as quickly as possible. However, we have taken a deeper introspection of what we are doing well and what we can do to improve in other areas.”
“Our aim remains not to compromise on the quality of materials and our products, but to stringently control them and to reduce stocks to a minimum, with smart technologies and old-fashioned attention to detail.”
“In November 2019 we upgraded our MRP system to allow us to accurately predict product usage based on our forecasting system. With further investment in the second quarter of 2020 we will take our business to the next level of control and be able to convert this into real tangible value that you can rely on in your quest to remain a profitable player in the market place.”
“As a local company we continue to strive to become more environmentally conscious and have adapted our business ethics and principles in this regard resulting in substantial improvements and a reduction in our carbon footprint.”
“Internationally we continue to heavily invest in Research and Development. Locally we benefit from all these global initiatives and expertise as we industrialise new and innovative products and services for the benefit of our customers and the industry.”
“2020 brings forth new opportunities to improve what we are doing and how this can support your ambitions and goals and we look forward to a successful year ahead in partnership with our customers and the foundry industry as a whole.”
“As you read this magazine the Coronavirus has its firm grip on our country and the rest of the world with devastating effects. We are ensuring that all the necessary measures are in place to ensure compliance to the declared national state of disaster to the pandemic. Our safety protocol ensures that we remain fully operational whilst safeguarding our employees and our communities. As our industry has adapted by implementing drastic measures to safeguard ourselves, we have the full confidence that our resilience in these difficult times will ensure that the economic impact will remain at a minimum and that we emerge stronger than ever before.”