Seven Cape clothing firms participated in a year-long fast track performance improvement pilot project which was funded by the International Labour Organisation, the Clothing Industry Bargaining Council, the Clothing Textile Footwear & Leather SETA and the provincial Department of Economic Development. The broad purpose of the pilot was to improve the overall competitiveness of these firms to so that they would be better able to respond to the pressures of foreign competition.
As at the end of September 2007 the following had been achieved in the project implementation areas:
„X\t6 firms improved their efficiencies by between 5-15%
„X\t5 firms improved their quality over their 2006 baseline
„X\t4 firms achieved attendance (including late coming) of over 93% (2 firms >95%)
„X\tProfit improvement projects yielded improvements of over R2million
„X\t5 firms implemented teamwork, 5S housekeeping, visual measurement and problem solving best practices and have made significant progress towards achieving world class standards
Significant achievements were also recorded in terms of \twork in progress (WIP) and lead time reduction, supply chain optimization and HR practices.
Fourteen team leaders and six internal trainers are being assessed for accreditation. Each firm has a trained internal facilitator who will be responsible for driving the rollout internally.
A major benefit of the programme has been the involvement of organized labour which has meant that union representatives and shop stewards have been fully involved in the firm-based initiatives and have a much clearer understanding of the practical imperatives that are currently facing the industry.
A decision now needs to be made on the rollout of the project to the industry more broadly.
This is due to be discussed at a workshop involving both clothing and textile firms represented on a national basis in November.