Emerging entrepreneurs who want to make breakthroughs in the defence and hi-tech manufacturing sectors will benefit from a support and development programme managed by Denel.
Representatives from a wide range of small and medium enterprises attended a Supplier Development Summit, hosted by the state-owned defence and technology group at its Irene Campus.
Riaz Saloojee, group chief executive of Denel, says the objective is to raise awareness about the products and services offered by the company and to identify opportunities where small businesses can become part of the supply chains.
“Denel is committed to a ‘South Africa first’ approach to procurement with a special focus on black-owned, women-owned and youth-owned enterprises,” says Saloojee. “It is often difficult for emerging enterprises to become part of the supply chains of established manufacturers, and our intention is to open up and facilitate these processes.”
Over the past 18, months Denel has undertaken a comprehensive review of its supply chain processes. “We have developed a very sound policy framework which not only meets the requirements of the codes of good practice developed by government, but also reflects the group’s own commitment to transformation.”
Its first step was to identify and ring-fence non-specialised products and services that are available in the market and can be easily sourced from emerging businesses. In the recent financial year, more than R140 million of Denel’s procurement value was directed towards such enterprises.
Saloojee says Denel currently procures more than 80% of its business from local suppliers. The company is now also working with its primary suppliers in the private sector to ensure their transformation strategies are aligned with those of Denel. “In this way, we are making a substantial contribution to the accelerated transformation of the entire South African defence industry,” he says.
Participants at the Denel Supplier Summit had an opportunity to see some of the company’s major products at close quarters, including the G6 artillery, the Badger infantry combat vehicle and various recent developments in the missile and unmanned aerial vehicle environments.
“Denel is already a key contributor to the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector,” says Saloojee. “We intend to expand this role and open the doors to emerging suppliers who will become our partners in future projects.”