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Imperial Logistics exceeds B-BBEE targets and is poised to rise to challenges of amended codes

Imperial BEE

Reflecting the group’s unwavering commitment to transformation, supply chain and logistics leader Imperial Logistics has retained its Level 3 contributor status on the old codes on its latest B-BBEE scorecard. 

Transformation director Sibongile Zikalala reveals that the highlights of the organisation’s recently issued scorecard include achieving full points for preferential procurement, enterprise development and socio-economic development. “We are also proud to have achieved 54% of the total employment equity score,” she expands. “In a largely male-dominated industry, it is especially significant that Imperial Logistics increased the number of black women in management positions.”

Zikalala notes that while Imperial Logistics’ latest scorecard is based on the previous codes, the group’s achievements in these critical areas is a key factor going forward as enterprise and supplier development, along with skills development, have been identified as B-BBEE priority elements under the amended codes. “We have aligned ourselves with, and are measuring ourselves against, the new codes, to ensure that Imperial is exceptionally well placed to rise to the challenges of the amendments when the Minister gazettes the Transport Sector’s new B-BBEE Charter. We are very proud of our transformation track record and aim to maintain a leading position as the tougher new scorecard raises the BEE bar.”

Elaborating on the highpoints of Imperial’s latest scorecard, Zikalala says that the group continues to exceed its targets for procurement spend with qualifying small enterprises (QSEs) and exempt micro enterprises (EMEs).

“Our preferential procurement spend with 50% black and 30% black women-owned businesses was almost double the target percentage,” she reports.  Imperial is also rightly proud of its progress in the skills development category. “The 1 464 black employees in our learnership programmes are testament to our commitment to developing a pipeline of black talent and employment opportunities for the long term benefit of Imperial Logistics, the industry and the country. The group has also invested R1.2 million in training for disabled employees.”

Imperial Logistics added further impetus to its drive to address South Africa’s skills deficit and youth unemployment through initiatives that include partnering with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in a graduate placement and youth development programme run by the Imperial Logistics Academy - the company’s dedicated training facility.

Zikalala says that a challenge going forward - for Imperial Logistics and its competitors - will be providing clients with preferential procurement recognition beyond the level status and being an empowering supplier. “The amended B-BBEE codes mean that the modified flow through principle (MFTP) cannot be used to determine a company’s ownership status. As a result, Imperial and the industry will face a tougher test in rising to assist clients from a preferential procurement perspective. We are actively investigating and pursuing various options in order to meet the necessary ownership from black people and especially black women.”

While she stresses that the complexity and scale of Imperial’s business means that 51% black ownership may not be achieved overnight, Zikalala says that the group is currently boosting clients’ preferential procurement through various enterprise development programmes that have been established.  “We want to help our clients benefit from an enterprise development perspective, and to this end, we are applying our logistics and supply chain experience to identifying, mentoring and upskilling enterprise development partners to work directly with clients. It is proving a win-win situation - for our clients and their enterprise development beneficiaries, and Imperial is happy to make a revenue sacrifice in order to nurture fledgling enterprises and assist our clients with their procurement scorecards.”

Imperial is thus working to develop a pipeline of QSE and EME suppliers, actively seeking out businesses to collaborate with, and offering guidance and training to them, she adds.

“Our approach to B-BBEE has always been collaborative, and we constantly strive to work with all of our stakeholders - including clients, partners, suppliers, the public sector and Government - for mutual benefit. Imperial’s BEE roadmap for 2016 gives an indication that we will achieve a competitive recognition level under the new codes, but because we believe that transformation is about much more than just meeting targets, we regard the amendments as more than percentages to be notched up. This is an opportunity to evaluate our achievements and embark on the next phase of our transformation journey. We will continue to accelerate transformation in an effort to not just meet targets and achieve recognition in terms of the revised codes, but to entrench transformation within our organisational culture and advance the transformation goals of the industry and the country,” Zikalala concludes.