The week many have been looking forward to has arrived. It’s finally the launch of The African Women in Supply Chain Association (AWISCA); an association that aims to encourage South Africa’s supply chain skills through technical and practical issues that continue to disrupt the country’s supply chain industry. It is also looking to create better industry balance and foster relationships between South Africa’s universities, businesses, professionals, women and entrepreneurs.
AWISCA’s founder and Sincpoint executive director, Lebogang Letsoalo said “Every industry in South Africa today is driven by the supply chain. Without an effective supply chain, we cannot be competitive in the future. To build an industry and thriving economy requires that we build key skills and competencies.”
Barloworld Logistics conducted a Supply Chain Foresight survey in 2016 that showed that the notion of lack of skills is the main concern for many business leaders in the country. It also revealed that 39% of companies have an effective response to address the skills shortage. There not being appropriate skills in South Africa ranked in the top five concerns for businesses while 49% of respondents said staff training and developments needs more focus.
“Through the formation of an intelligence hub, supported by mentors and coaches, we will improve decision-making in the industry and produce highly competent personnel equipped with the appropriate academic and technical know-how to move South Africa forward,” adds Letsoalo.
AWISCA has worked tirelessly to get more comprehensive industry buy-in since its inception in 2015. Its current partners include:
- Chartered Institute of Supply Chain
- University of Johannesburg
- Wits Business School
- Institute of Marketing Management
- Smart Procurement World
- Cross Boarder Road Transport Agency
- National Treasury
- University of Pretoria
The association is also supported by the Department of Transport, Transport & Logistics Students of South Africa and the Youth Chamber of Shipping in Africa.
Currently based in Johannesburg, the association’s intention is to create satellite offices in all nine provinces in South Africa, where various launch events will be held in the course of 2017.
“We want to drive industry collaboration and help form public-private partnerships to change our skills landscape. Universities will be integrated to address South Africa’s supply chain capacity and skills gaps in a more practical way.
“We will be in discussions with cargo owners, transporters and supply chain consulting firms to pledge support and attract mentor companies that will develop entrepreneurial skills in the supply chain.”
Chapters to address scope of industry
AWISCA has formed several chapters to deal with the scope of the supply chain industry, each with a different mandate, be it workplace readiness, the facilitation of functional mentorship or uplifting skills and technical competencies.
The student chapter, headed by SASTaLC CEO, Yayeri Kisaame, is one of four chapters that include women, entrepreneurs and professionals already employed in the sector.
The entrepreneur chapter seeks to promote professional networking, knowledge transfer, coaching and mentorship. Skills development will be in line with the recommendations of the World Economic Forum for Africa, as well as the objectives of the country’s own National Development Plan (NDP).
“What we are doing is creating a focused approach that is fit-for-purpose. The supply chain industry requires a balance of soft skills, technical abilities and enhanced decision-making. Focus will also be given to women. The supply chain in South Africa is still male-dominated, and its workforce is ageing,” concludes Letsoalo.
AWISCA recently attended the KZN Smart Procurement Indaba where it introduced its concept. It also presented at SAPICS 2017 and will attend the National Transport Forum on 28 June, before being officially launched on 29 June.
Speaking of events taking place this year, find out What To Expect In 2017 For Supply Chains!