• Shaun Bateman

SAPICS reaffirms focus on professionalising supply chain management

At its annual general meeting, SAPICS, The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management, reaffirmed its strategic focus on the professionalisation of supply chain management in South Africa and across the African continent.

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the vital role that supply chains play in the global economy. According to SAPICS, the role of the supply chain professional is now recognised as a strategic imperative essential for every aspect of a company’s operations, and through the provision of goods and services, as a critical enabler of economic growth.

“We need skilled, ethical, suitably qualified and professionally designated supply chain professionals now more than ever,” says SAPICS president Keabetswe Mpane in her annual report.

Mpane states that in the year ahead, SAPICS will continue its drive to advance and standardise supply chain skills and practices across the continent. “The past year was one of foundation building for the professional development body. The SAPICS executive committee - a team of highly dedicated professionals - took on the management of the project.

“Based on the feedback received from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) it was determined that the focus should now be put on the designation at the top end of the ladder, the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMPro), and this will be our priority this year.”

Outlining the benefits of the professional designation of supply chain professionals, Mpane says: “It will increase supply chain management competence, knowledge and skills, and industry professionals will have prescribed values and ethics to uphold. The ongoing professional development required to maintain designations will ensure that African supply chain management keeps pace with global best practice, so that optimised supply chains can drive the competitiveness and growth of African businesses and economies.”

The coming year will also see SAPICS focusing on developing the supply chain skills of small and medium enterprises, which play a crucial role in the national economy as major sources of employment and drivers of inclusive economic growth.

“We have a very energetic task team working with both SMMEs and the large corporates that they supply, as well as our network of authorised education providers, to offer accredited skills development opportunities that will deliver mutual benefits and enable job creation,” she reports.

At the AGM, Mpane’s tenure as SAPICS president was extended for another year.

Two new directors, Gary Benatar and Dave Hudson, join the SAPICS board.

Benatar brings vast local and international supply chain industry exposure and experience to the role. He was one of the founding partners in 1987 of a logistics and supply chain consultancy, of which he was the managing director until a year ago.

He recently took over the Cape Town branch and has now established Relog, a supply chain consultancy, which designs and implements fit-for-purpose and sustainable distribution infrastructure, logistic operations, and supply chain networks.

He also founded One Touch Retail Solutions, a supplier of logistics equipment that enhances operations and supply chains. Benatar has been the leader in driving retailers to central distribution and has helped develop the supply chains for the major FMCG retailers in South Africa and some internationally.

Most recently, the coronavirus pandemic saw Benatar hosting a Covid-19 forum for South African food retailers, to ensure food security and to support supply chains through the pandemic.

“Through my experiences over more than 35 years in the profession, I have gained knowledge and experience that I look forward to sharing with the SAPICS community,” he states.

Dave Hudson is a supply chain and operations specialist coach. Commenting on his appointment to the SAPICS board, he says: “Supply chain practitioners in Africa need a professional body like SAPICS that is driving recognition of their education and experience within the government and private sectors. I look forward to lending my support, experience and expertise to SAPICS, to promote and expand its work across the continent.”

Hudson notes that his focus, as a SAPICS director, will be on growing partnerships with other professional bodies and on guiding and supporting the SAPICS supply chain community with business regeneration and supply chain resilience post Covid-19.