South Africa’s overall productivity growth, which is the key driver of long-term competitiveness and economic performance, is low. The changing nature and future of work influenced by rapid globalisation and technological advancements and the current pandemic aggravate global competition, job cuts, and declining consumer spending, especially in South Africa’s clothing and textile manufacturing sector.

Universally, automation, digitalisation, and innovation have been fast-tracked for rapid workplace transformation to reinvent collaboration between managers and workers. Organisations are at crossroads when capitalising on technological innovations and post-Covid opportunities – some might achieve in growing their economies, retain talent, and attract people. Still, others might fail and get left behind, resulting in increased financial distress, layoffs, and closures.

It’s evident that the Workplace Challenge (WPC) and the implementation of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) programme require augmentation in our country.

We stand a good chance of success in implementing the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan by implementing these two programmes. Especially the two priority areas linked to Productivity SA’s mandate of employment growth and productivity, namely industrialisation and growing the productive economy, and macro-economic interventions and enablers for economic growth.

By administering these two programmes, enterprises supported are capacitated to adopt world-class productivity-enhancement best practices focusing on products, processes and people – helping manufacturing companies to become more competitive. As crucial building blocks, they are designed and structured towards supporting South Africa to achieve a productive, high-income economy that is globally competitive, targeted at the priority economic sectors that have a potential for labour absorption.

When targeting SMMEs as a catalyst for creating productive and decent employment, we can implement an action-orientated economic recovery and revitalisation plan to unlock our productivity capability and potential for sustained competitiveness and economic growth.

The SCORE Programme

Driven by a need to improve productivity, quality, competitiveness, and working conditions within the workplace, the ILO’s SCORE programme gives companies a shot at increasing their bottom line, thereby enabling growth and job creation.

During the financial year of 2019/20, the WPC provided competitiveness improvement services to 100 companies, and we were able to preserve over 6 170 jobs. The SCORE programme will, without a doubt, see the same tangible results and job creation when rolled out nationally.

We adopted the SCORE programme with a complete understanding that it’s a globally recognised, tried and tested programme in supporting suppliers of major global brands and products. In collaboration with the ILO and other local and international strategic partners, Productivity SA will embark on the training of more Productivity Practitioners, particularly in the productive sectors of the economy. Additionally, as part of recognising participating companies and promoting a productivity culture and mindset in the country, we will consider including them in the Productivity Awards.

A SCORE webinar was held on 15 April 2021 to share lessons learned from firms and trainers that participated in the SCORE programme pilot at 15 clothing and textile manufacturing firms in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape. In case you’ve missed it and have any further questions, please email info@productivitysa.co.za.

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