BUSINESS UPDATE News & snippets Industry insights from the past quarter Two captains of industry form innovative alliance Lenoma Legal and S&A Chartered Accountants have formed a ground-breaking innovative alliance. A first of its kind that will see two of the industry-leading tech businesses join forces to deliver value in this ever-changing world, a legal tech company and a chartered accountancy firm. As S&A Chartered, we are looking forward to a bright future, more value to our customers and stakeholders through a combined approach to SMME development and a true testament to African excellence. Business owners now have the opportunity to work with world-class chartered accountants and legal practitioners all under one partnership. Both directors are really excited about this collaboration as it’s a game-changer. • More on websites www.seriteca.co.za or www.lenomadocs.com #LenomaLegal #SeriteCA #LenomaxSerite Peter Serite CA(SA), Founder and MD of S&A Chartered Accountants Low-capacity utilisation in manufacturing sector a concern Persistent low levels of capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector and low demand for locally manufactured goods are worrying as Covid-19 alert restrictions continue to limit operations at industrial plants, says the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA). Data released recently by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) shows that total capacity utilisation was 74% in first quarter of 2021 compared with 77.5% in first quarter of 2020, representing a decrease of 3.5%. Within the metals and engineering (M&E) sector, capacity utilisation was marginally down to 76.1% in the first quarter of 2021 from 76.8% in first quarter of 2020. This was mainly because of insufficient demand, with maintenance and shortages of raw material such as oxygen and steel also Diverse development The University of Venda, situated in Thohoyandou in the scenic Vhembe district of the Limpopo Province of South Africa, was established in 1982. From its early years, staff members were drawn from various backgrounds in South Africa but by 1994 staff members were increasingly recruited from other African countries and overseas. The presence on campus of staff from diverse backgrounds created a unique atmosphere and a fertile environment for new ideas and a capacity for change. The university has established itself as a national asset through its niche on its problem-oriented, project-based curriculum with a strength in nurturing under-prepared students into nationally competitive graduates. The university has therefore become an important player in the South African higher education landscape, contributing significantly to the human resources and development needs of the country and region. 6 | www.opportunityonline.co.za contributing to the under-utilisation of production capacity. Overall, the manufacturing sector remains weak in terms of production patterns, with a year-to-date production decline of 3.1% in February 2021. Manufacturing has remained under pressure for some time, with data depicting a low annual average production growth rate of 0.1% in the last four years to 2019, coupled with a massive decline of 13.7% in 2020. In the last five years to 2020, total capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector has averaged 79.8%, with that of the M&E sector at 77.5%. While total manufacturing capacity utilisation dipped to 59.8% and to 52.8% the second quarter of 2020 amid level 5 lockdown restrictions, it improved in the latter quarters of 2020 as the restrictions were eased, reaching 79.3% and 74.6% respectively in the fourth quarter of 2020. In 2020, capacity utilisation for the manufacturing sector and M&E sector totalled 72.3% and 67.6% respectively. According to SEIFSA Chief Economist, Chifipa Mhango, weak manufacturing production amid the lockdown regulations contributed to the economy contracting by 7% in 2020. “Covid-19 significantly hampered production last year. However, there are encouraging signs of a slight recovery as evidenced by Absa’s Manufacturing PMI, which is in an expansionary trajectory of above 50, even though there was marginal decline from 57.4 in March to 56.2 in April,” he said. “We do, however, reiterate that any recovery in manufacturing production will be driven by the government’s efforts to revive the economy. It is therefore critical that the government speeds up the implementation of its economic recovery plan,” Mhango said. “This is particularly critical for the recovery of the M&E sector, which has experienced a worrying decline in levels of employment and investment,” he said. An increased level of industrial domestic demand is required for manufacturers to reboot capacity utilisation levels to above 80%. Mhango added that it is imperative that the South African government efficiently rolls out its Covid-19 vaccination programme to enable the economy to open up further and restore industrial production.
BUSINESS UPDATE Advannotech’s integrated tech solutions Our solution can enable Municipalities, Residential communities, businesses and facilities managers to better manage water usage, billing and detect leak in their homes, offices and other buildings. Business challenges • No visibility of water usage • Undetected leaks • Cannot manage thresholds • Manual metering and billing The offering The smart water offering simplifies water monitoring by retrofitting on to existing water meters, extracting data from them and applying analytics to the data to extract additional value. This provides visibility on usage across locations, threshold management and advanced leak detection along with historical reporting on all these aspects. Key features – monitoring of: • Meter locations (fixed) • Water usage – daily / weekly / monthly • Water threshold breach • Battery status • Connection status – potential leak alerts / small leaks / major bursts Proven results • Reduced water usage due to real-time visibility. • Reduction of wasted water through early detection of leaks allowing pre-emptive action. • Reduced water damage and maintenance costs through predictive maintenance based on early leak detection. • Better management of water usage through visibility across apartments, buildings and sites. • Avoidance of large bills due to timely threshold breach detection at a daily, weekly and monthly level. The next normal 2020 brought instant changes to traditional business operational practices. Regardless of the industry or size of an organisation, we all had to evolve and put into place technological features to help our businesses stay afloat. While businesses are still defining what the “new normal” is, business owners must make operational changes, now, that will future-proof their business, which is why products such as Sage Intacct are a vital element of your business’ operation. Founder and CEO of OS Holdings, Nomsa Nteleko, attests that as we move to the next normal, finance leaders have the challenge to achieve better and accurate insights for improved decision-making. A solution like Sage Intacct allows companies to pay for what they need, benefit from more efficient implementations, and achieve reduced total cost of ownership, helping them to easily navigate difficult times while enabling the finance team to work easily and securely from any location. Critical skills development The merSETA is one of 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) established to facilitate skills development in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998. The 21 SETAs broadly reflect different sectors of the South African economy. The merSETA encompasses manufacturing, engineering and related services. The various industry sectors are covered by six chambers within the merSETA: metal and engineering, auto manufacturing, motor retail, tyre manufacturing, plastics manufacturing and components manufacturing. The merSETA’s values are at the core of what makes them the leaders in closing the skills gap: "We Care – It's about caring for people we render services to We Belong – It's about working together with colleagues We Serve – It's about going beyond the call of duty.”