Disruption not slowing down warns Aurecon CEO

In the February issue we published the incorrect pic of Teddy Daka. The correct pic accompanies this article; we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

As the ‘speed’ of change accelerates, the sheer velocity of disruption facing engineering, property, construction and infrastructure organisations is only increasing, according to Giam Swiegers, Aurecon’s Global CEO, as he continues the firm’s investment focus on leadership, innovation and change. And with the global engineering and infrastructure advisory firm’s performance climbing year on year, the Aurecon Board is in full agreement, extending Swiegers’ term as Global CEO until February 2019.

 

In announcing the extension, Global Chairman Teddy Daka stated: “We have seen an incredible amount of change within the organisation over the past two years while Giam has been helping us to build a strong and sustainable business with a real focus on the future. Having Giam extend his term will provide us with the stability we need to continue embedding these changes and improvements into our business.”

 

Swiegers, a big fan of multidisciplinary diversity, has made significant changes to the leadership cohort at Aurecon and two recent internationally recognised appointments will further boost Aurecon’s leadership gene pool.

 

Starting on 30 January, Aurecon appointed energy guru Dr Alex Wonhas as Aurecon’s new Managing Director, Energy & Resources. Dr Wonhas was previously Executive Director at Australia’s national science agency, leading CSIRO’s environment, energy and resources sector where he oversaw research, development and demonstration activities, as well as the commercialisation of a range of fossil, renewable and demand management energy technologies. He was also a key member of the Government’s Expert Panel for its Energy White Papers.

 

In a major boost to its Advisory practice, Dr Abe Nezamian – a globally recognised authority on infrastructure rehabilitation, asset integrity management and asset management in the mining, infrastructure and transport industries across Australia, the Middle East, UK, US, SE Asia and West Africa – was recently appointed Aurecon’s Global Leader in Asset Management, seen as a major growth area for Aurecon’s advisory business.

 

“Smart businesses in the energy, property and infrastructure sectors understand our world is changing and with it, the need to change leadership priorities, capabilities and work practices,” says Swiegers.

 

“For Aurecon, this has meant focusing our workforce on quickly adapting and using smart technology or ‘infra tech’, exploring new ways of delivering mega projects, better managing the life cycle of existing major assets and of course upskilling our leadership and our talent across the globe as we prepare for a very different future.

 

“The current wave of disruption is either a catalyst for a company’s downfall, or a clear call to harness its greatest brains to solve some of the biggest problems the world has ever seen. In future, those able to mobilise the creativity of a cross-disciplinary and cross-culturally diverse workforce in order to deliver competitive advantage will succeed in building globally successful and sustainable businesses.

 

“Aurecon will continue to invest in strong leaders who provide not only eminence in their space, but have the leadership style, global mind-set and courage to lead amidst ongoing disruption,” says Swiegers. “These experts bring subject matter expertise and advisory capability to major growth markets for Aurecon and play an important role in developing our global teams to meet clients’ most significant and changing challenges.”

 

A key advisor on energy security issues, Dr Wonhas, previously a member of the executive team of CSIRO, was instrumental in expanding the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance nationally and bringing in AGL, Origin and Santos as additional industry partners. He chaired the energy theme at the 2014 G20 Global Café in Brisbane, was a key member of the Federal Government’s expert panel of the 2012 and 2015 Energy White Papers, and also conceived the Future Grid Forum that brought together over 100 participants from across the whole electricity value chain to define its possible future, focus technology developments and inform regulatory processes.

 

Similarly, eminent Dr Abe Nezamian, who held the ASME International Petroleum Technology Institute Award for global excellence consecutively from 2011-2016, is renowned for helping companies navigate industry change over the past decade, advising clients in mining, transport and infrastructure across the globe on asset integrity management and asset management. He is a widely published authority on asset condition assessment/management and life extension, management strategy, decision support tools, OPEX/CAPEX optimisation and best in practice asset management programmes. He is also a task group (Strategy) Co-Chair for development of OGP (ISO SIM Global Standard), a member of ISOPE scientific and technical committees and Chairman of the Global FPSO Integrity Management community.

 

Giam Swiegers believes these appointments reflect Aurecon’s commitment to building the kind of cross-cultural, multidisciplinary and gender-equal workforce that will see smart businesses like Aurecon become future ready.

 

The success of this strategy was highlighted late last year, when the firm was presented with the 2016 Australian Human Resources Institute Inclusive Workplace Award less than a week after also winning Engineers Australia’s highest honour possible: The Sir William Hudson Award for its revolutionary Brisbane’s Flood Recovery Ferry Terminals, clearly linking the two achievements.

 

The Sir William Hudson Award recognises the most outstanding engineering project and is the highest accolade for a project-based award that Engineers Australia confers. The award follows further recognition for Aurecon’s creativity at the Consult Australia Awards for Excellence, where it won Gold in Design Innovation for 5 Martin Place, Sydney.

 

“Both projects include ground breaking innovations and can be linked to an enhanced focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration, diversity of ideas and inclusive work practices,” says Swiegers.

Tyson Properties spreads its wings to Richards Bay

Tyson Properties is spreading its wings to Richards Bay – one of South Africa’s fastest growing cities.

 

Regis Usaiwevhu and Linah Marijeni, who opened the new branch in the Richards Bay CBD this month, confirmed that the city that has built up around Africa’s deepest port and one of just two national Special Economic Zones in KwaZulu-Natal was attracting a stream of young professionals.

 

The end result is a strong and growing property market.

 

“Richards Bay is home to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (the world’s largest coal exporter) fertilizer manufacturer Foskor, Richards Bay Minerals which mines iron ore, titanium oxide and zircon, SAPPI, Mondi, Hillside which is the biggest aluminium smelter in the Southern Hemisphere and Bell Equipment, amongst others. The support industries that supply these big corporates are numerous and a hub for employment creation. The service industry is also buoyant with serious growth potential,” explains Usaiwevhu who is the managing partner.

 

As a finance executive with over 15 years’ experience working at senior and strategic levels in industry and commerce across KwaZulu-Natal, he has done the due diligence and meticulously explored the prospects.

 

“I have a special interest in real estate and property development and it has always been my aspiration to take up entrepreneurial opportunities in these fields,” he explains.

 

He quotes Statistics SA’s census figures which show that the population within the entire Umhlatuze Municipality (under which Richards Bay falls) has grown by 11% between the 2011 Census (334 000 people) and the 2016 Community Survey (371 000).

 

“Richards Bay has immense growth potential and is constantly innovating. There are a number of turnkey projects that are being considered or are being implemented as we speak,” he continues.

 

These include the establishment of an aluminium hub which is expected to attract downstream industries that will beneficiate aluminium and also iron, steel, and titanium. With 30% of the world’s titanium and 30% of its high-quality pig iron produced in the region, this also offers significant downstream opportunities for the automotive sector.

 

Other developments that have been mooted include the setting up of a liquefied natural gas power plant, a R2 billion biomass electricity generation plant, the installation of a dry dock at the port, the setting up of a paint manufacturing plant and the establishment of a water desalination plant.

 

With an uptick in commodity prices and signs of an economic recovery, the prospects of the port through which by far the majority of South Africa’s commodity exports depart are also extremely positive.

 

“For all these reasons, the Richards Bay region is a strategic blip on our radar. We have partnered with people who have a strong knowledge of the area and we are looking forward to strong growth,” says CEO of Tyson Properties, Chris Tyson.

 

Tyson Properties, which is now a national company with strong referral networks, is already on a strong growth curve. According to Tyson, the company grew by 70 percent over the past 12 months and is adding over 100 agents per year.

 

It was also recently acknowledged for its achievements internationally with Westville and Hillcrest agent, Debra Maddocks, accepting the prestigious International Property Awards 2016 Best Real Estate Agent South Africa and Best Real Estate Agent, Africa at a gala even in London last year.

 

In Richards Bay, Marijeni is also making her mark. She has the hands on experience and passion to drive another key fundamental in the property market – good relationships.

 

“I am a sales and marketing practitioner with experience in the automotive and real estate industries. My real estate experience spans over seven years in Richards Bay and the surrounding areas. I have always been immensely passionate about marketing as well as real estate. Destiny knocked on my door in 2010 when I embarked on my real estate journey,” she explains.

 

Marijeni and Usaiwevhu approached Chris Tyson in November 2016 with a view to opening a Richards Bay branch.

 

“The brand has a solid and consistent track record. It met our selection criteria which included a solid reputation, a strong brand identity, top-notch quality, huge growth potential, strong systems, effective support services and a customer centric orientation. Furthermore, the brand places a strong emphasis on upholding the highest levels of professionalism and ethical standards,” says Usaiwevhu.

 

Marijeni believes that the opening of the new Tyson Properties branch comes at an important time. With greater demand for properties, there will be more competition and demand for better service delivery.

 

Tyson Properties’ Richards Bay branch, which will also service nearby Empangeni and Mtunzini and has a catchment area that could extend as far Hluhluwe, will start with six agents.

 

Within the next six months, the partners plan to open a dedicated Empangeni office.

 

Once they have established themselves in the residential domain, they will turn their attention to commercial property.

 

Drawing on the Lightstone Report, Usaiwevhu notes that they will be growing their agency off a strong base. Over the past couple of years, sales have consistently been above 700 property registrations and these are expected to grow in line with the expected increase in economic activity.

 

Prices averaged R1.2 million for freehold properties and R600 000 for sectional title properties which are the most popular with buyers.

 

“Over the past 12 months (Feb 2016 to Mar 2017), 79% of buyers were aged between 18 and 49. When it comes to sellers, 56% were between 18 and 49. If you take a closer look, you will see that 36% of the recent sellers had owned their properties for less than five years. The 50 years and above bracket is also very busy, particularly on property sales. This strong sales activity tends to organically have a trickle effect on rentals,” Usaiwevhu points out.

 

With a steady influx of young professionals into the area, he says that there is also growth in investors buying to let.

Sustainable products help PFE International maximise growth opportunities

PFE International’s unwavering adoption of sustainable business practices is bearing fruit in an economic climate where some organisations believe expenditure on “green” production is an unwelcome cost rather than an opportunity.

 

“We have never viewed investment in environment-friendly technology as a negative; for us it is an imperative, and it is proving to be profitable,” said Dr Mehran Zarrebini, CEO of PFE International.

 

The diversified group is made up of a number of different companies with synergistic links to one another – Van Dyck Carpets, which has been operating in South Africa for 68 years; the tyre recycling Mathe Group; polypropylene staple fibre producer, PFE Extrusion; Envirobuild, manufacturers of eco-friendly rubber flooring; and Easigrass.

 

All of the group companies are geared to maximise opportunities created by the demand for sustainable products in their various industries.

 

“There is a growing trend for consumers and businesses to seek more environmentally friendly products and raw materials”, Zarrebini said. “We are producing more sustainable products to meet this growing “green” demand, all the while remaining conscious of satisfying procurement requirements.”

 

Zarrebini said that PFE’s investment in a new tyre recycling facility for Mathe Group last year, had heightened the group’s commitment to more sustainable manufacturing and resulted in their becoming the largest processor and recycler of tyres in South Africa.  Their end-product, rubber crumb, is used in the manufacture of eco-friendly rubber matting and paving tiles by sister company, Envirobuild as well as acoustic underlay for flooring.

 

The group plans to invest further in extending the use of rubber crumb in the manufacture of innovative new products.

 

“We expect the demand for recycled rubber paving products to increase as residential and business customers seek products that are environment-friendly and produced by companies with good corporate governance,” he said.

 

We are also seeing a growing preference for products that are manufactured locally and benefit local communities. PFE Extrusion, for example, employs more than 500 people in the economically challenged areas of Hammarsdale and Umlazi.”

 

Demand is steadily increasing for artificial grass from PFE’s Easigrass, both for commercial spaces and landscaping, as a result of last year’s drought as well as for its low-maintenance and environmental reasons – it does not need watering or the use of harmful pesticides.

 

Zarrebini said that investment in new technology was essential to remain competitive internationally. Equally important was incorporating resource efficiency and resource reduction into manufacturing processes as raw materials became scarcer and more costly.

 

“At PFE, we adopt an integrated approach to energy management, environmental sustainability and the minimisation of our greenhouse gas emissions which we expect will yield further reductions in carbon emissions, waste and water consumption into the future,” Zarrebini said.

 

“Our emphasis as a group has always been on reducing our carbon footprint, a vital part of our long-term strategy. Energy use in production is a significant cost whilst optimisation of raw material usage represents a significant opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and ensure products can be recycled or reused at the end of their useful life,” he said.

 

All of the companies in the PFE International group have local and international “green” accreditations including ISO 14001 environmental accreditation, ISO 15000 energy certification and ISO 14064-1  for greenhouse emissions management. Van Dyck Carpets also has Carbon Trust Standard certification and Envirobuild’s Green Tag certification for sustainable building materials.

 

At last, the managed service provider (MSP) model gains traction, by Fiona Leppan, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

In a recent arbitration award (the Award) in K Sefole & 102 Others v Bidvest TMS and Nampak Glass, the CCMA Senior Commissioner found that the relationship between Bidvest and Nampak did not amount to a temporary employment service (TES) for the purposes of s198A of the Labour Relations Act (LRA). The Applicants are employed by Bidvest but claimed that the service provided by Bidvest to Nampak was not a temporary one as it had exceeded a duration of three months. They earned under the Ministerial earnings threshold and asserted that they should be treated as the “deemed” employees of Nampak and employed by it on an indefinite basis by it.

This dispute was first entertained, incorrectly so, by the National Bargaining Council for the Chemical Industry (NBCCI) which had no jurisdiction over Bidvest. The NBCCI found that the relationship between Bidvest and Nampak was a TES. An urgent application before the Labour Court sought to suspend the operation of the NBCCI decision pending a review to set it aside. The urgent relief was granted and the matter, by agreement between the parties, was referred to the CCMA for a Senior Commissioner to determine the dispute afresh.

The Facts

Bidvest provided a specialised warehousing service to Nampak in terms of a detailed service level agreement (SLA) which had been concluded between them. The core business of Nampak Glass is the manufacture of glass products. Once these products are ready to be released for despatch, Bidvest’s employees are responsible for palletizing and packaging the products ready for distribution to Nampak’s customers.

In a decision of the Labour Court, which was confirmed on appeal by the Labour Appeal Court (LAC), Bidvest commenced its operations at Nampak and took over the warehousing functions from Unitrans. A dispute arose about whether that transfer amounted to an s197 transfer of part of Unitrans’ business to Bidvest as a going concern. Both the Labour Court and LAC determined that the events triggered an s197 transfer.

The Labour Court found that:

“… the warehousing service provided by (Bidvest) to Nampak constituted an economic entity … or … an organised grouping of resources … .”

The Labour Appeal Court found that:

“… the service that was provided was that of warehousing. … The warehouse operation services constituted a discreet business … .” (the facts demonstrate) … “that the service … constitutes a business sufficiently demarcated to justify the conclusion that when this business was taken over (by Bidvest) … there was a transfer of a business as a going concern.”

The Applicants, in the face of this binding precedent, claimed that a TES relationship existed because:

·         Nampak staff sometimes gave direct instructions to them.

·         The details of how Bidvest conducts its business at Nampak’s warehouse is contractually stipulated in the SLA and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) compiled, so they claimed, by Nampak with the result that Bidvest’s service was controlled directly by Nampak.

·         They use the forklift trucks leased by Nampak.

·         They make use of Nampak’s JDE software system which is an enterprise resource planning tool aimed at successful inventory control and invoicing.

The Evidence

The Applicants claimed that all those factors demonstrated that they were an integral part of Nampak’s operations which smacked of a TES arrangement, but the evidence led indicated differently:

·         Nampak’s staff rarely gave instructions to any of the Applicants as Bidvest had its own supervisory team at the warehouse to direct and control the carrying out of the Applicant’s duties. None of the Applicants who testified stated or even suggested that they did not report directly to Bidvest’s warehouse manager and its team of supervisors on a daily basis. There was unrefuted evidence that Nampak’s supervisor only gave direct instructions to an Applicant if it was to avert a health and safety hazard.

·         Bidvest made use of its own administrative, financial reporting, payroll, disciplinary processes, induction training and it managed the Applicants.

·         The SOPs were not drawn up by Nampak. Although the Applicants asserted that the SOPs carried Nampak’s logo’s, it was Bidvest’s warehouse manager who personally drafted and prepared them. Those Applicants who testified conceded that they were handed the SOPs and were required to sign for them by Bidvest.

·         The Applicants argued that because the SLA indicates what “must” be done to satisfy Nampak’s requirements, this amounted to instructions issued by Nampak to them. However, in the evidence, none of the Applicants had even seen the SLA.

The Findings

The Commissioner correctly found that the SLA was not a sham as there was no evidence led suggesting the contrary. The Commissioner found, in line with recent LAC decision in Enforce Security Group v Fikile & Others (unreported: DA/24/15), that on the facts the SLA was based on “proper economic and commercial considerations”. The Commissioner reasoned that that is so because “Nampak had outsourced part of its operation to warehousing specialists” rather than attempting those functions itself.

Conclusion

The Commissioner found that no TES relationship was in existence and s198A had no application on the facts presented. There is room in our law for the recognition of a genuine outsource of services to an MSP, and this does not invoke the protections afforded to those eligible employees contemplated by the LRA.

Developing a world-class retail look

New Menlyn Park Shopping Centre sets a high standard

 Menlyn Park Shopping Centre’s R2,5-billion, two-year phased refurbishment has positioned the mall as the dominant super-regional shopping centre in Tshwane. BILD Architects and Terra Ether Architects partnered to shape the look of what has become one of South Africa’s world-class retail destinations, says Eddie Pretorius, director of BILD Architects, that is considerably more than skin deep. “One of the biggest challenges in the redevelopment was seamlessly integrating the old section of the mall with the new, as the proportions were quite different,” he explains.

Olive Ndebele, general manager of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, says that delivering an all-inclusive shopping experience at Menlyn Park was the end goal of the redevelopment.

For the revamp, a new concept was developed to create new spaces and extensions with a fresh, classic look. “The look and feel needed to be both more current and timeless, to give the centre an extended lease of life,” says Pretorius. One such innovation was the installation of skylights wherever possible, ensuring plenty of natural light and neutral tones to help achieve a natural integration from the old and the new.

The new design centred on three major features: the outside piazza Central Park, the refurbished indoor food court, and the dining node at the new entrance.

Central Park has become a hub of activity, with ongoing events designed to keep the whole family engaged and entertained throughout the year. Flanked by popular restaurants and picturesque trees, the piazza is the perfect place to enjoy a beautiful evening at Menlyn Park. The revamped indoor food court is the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat before enjoying some great retail therapy in the nearby fashion wing. The Hard Rock Cafe with its famous guitar and legendary burgers takes centre stage at the new entrance.

The centre remained open and trading throughout the renovations, allowing for construction works between 10pm to 7am; to preserve a sense of normality to the much-loved shopping scene. A rare and innovative feature, was the retail village, constructed to temporarily house many outlets while their new stores were being built.

To shield the worst of the demolition chaos from shoppers, a giant origami artwork was installed as a temporary hoarding. “We created this intricate wall inspired by Pretoria’s world-renowned jacaranda trees to serve as a decoration during our retail expansion,” says Ndebele.

A major achievement was a 4-star Green Star Retail Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for the substantial efforts to develop the first building phase of the redevelopment along environmentally friendly design and construction principles.

Pretorius points out that BILD Architects were also involved in the redevelopment of the centre that took place in 2000. “This provided an advantage in anticipating the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead,” he says. And that project raised the bar, achieving a merited industry award for “Renovation or Expansion of an existing Project”, by the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC)

 

PARTNERSHIPS AND THEIR ROLE IN BUSINESS SUCCESS

In an African context, business intelligence and data analytics add immense value to businesses’ operations. In a fast-paced society, making real time decisions is crucial to success. The key to achieving this is an elaborate partner hub, driving solutions out across all sectors, to the benefit of the economy at large.

Rob Godlonton, CEO of EOH ICT, confirms the importance of building the right infrastructure to enable partners to perform. “From a resource perspective, partner managers, sales resources and a total investment is required. This will ensure that both partners and customers have the requisite access to resources required to unlock the value of the solutions offered.”

 At the Qlik® Southern Africa Summit 2017, hosted by South Africa Qlik Master Reseller on the 2nd of February at the Sandton Convention Centre, partners were celebrated for their excellent performance and valuable support throughout 2016. Awards were handed out at an illustrious cocktail function, following the Summit sessions.

The Customer Endorsed Award for Innovation went to InteleQt Consulting. InteleQt’s innovative analysis, conducted for SAB, provided the detail it needed to streamline shipments by monitoring and correcting driver behaviour, increasing vehicle utilisation and fuel efficiency. InteleQt received a second Award, as the Certifications Partner of the Year 2016. The company was the first SA Qlik Partner to become Qlik Sense Certified in June 2016.

Business 2 IT scooped up the second Customer Endorsed Award for Innovation. The partner was nominated by Bidvest Automotive, which runs marketing campaigns on various web platforms. Through Business 2 IT, a Qlik Sense application provides Bidvest Automotive with valuable insights, applied to optimise marketing spend budget.

The third Customer Endorsed Award for Innovation was handed to Modernising Management, on the strength of a nomination by Standard Bank. The Bank benchmarks itself against other banks through connecting to Twitter, Facebook, Klout and a sentiment engine to track feeds from people, followers, hashtags, mentions, favourites and more. The result is better social engagement with employees and customers.

The OEM Partner of the Year 2016 Award went to Metrix Software Solutions. “Our OEM Partners are software companies as well as information and content providers, across diverse industries, that want to add value and greater market appeal to their products,” confirms Jane Thomson, Managing Director at South Africa Qlik Master Reseller. “Metrix Software Solutions understood the added value of analytics so well that they not only embedded Qlik to their solution, but they ensured that every single one of their users had access to it. As a result of this strategy, they have sold over 15 000 OEM licenses in the past five years.”

The Most Consistent Contributor 2014 – 2016 Award went to Insight Consulting, which was partner of the year three times and has been in the top three revenue generators over the past five years.

The prestigious Partner of the Year 2016 Award was proudly given to Decision Inc, for delivering on revenue, innovation, deployments and marketing. “Decision Inc was the leading revenue generator in 2016 – delivering 26 percent more than any other partner,” confirmed Thomson. “Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all of our partners for the valuable contribution you make to business intelligence across Africa.”

Regional expansion takes time – but it also requires the right resources in the right places to be a success. “Building a solid partner business, with certified partners in virtually every country, facilitates expansion,” concludes Kerry Koutsikos, MEA Regional Country Manager at Qlik. “Combining innovative solutions with local knowledge and insights is a recipe for success.”