Local automotive tool manufacturer and supplier Naicker Toolmakers has benefited from completing nonprofit organisation Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness Initiative’s (ASCCI’s) Black Supplier Development Programme (BSDP).
Naicker Toolmakers began its involvement in the programme in May 2018, and successfully completed the programme last October as an 18-month programme.
The BSDP aims to drive transformation and skills sharing in the automotive sector by facilitating access to markets for component manufacturers. The objective is to develop component manufacturers into Tier 2 suppliers, and when possible, into Tier 1 suppliers.
It also intends to create jobs in the industry to help manufacturers improve competitiveness and become internationally competitive. The BSDP was sponsored by multinational original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) Toyota Motors South Africa, and supported by steel parts manufacturer Supreme Spring, which assisted in providing mentoring to the company as a representative from the ASCCI as well as conducting benchmarking exercises at Naicker Toolmakers.
The programme, a collaborative initiative, was supported by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, local associations the National Association for Component and Allied Manufacturers of South Africa, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, as well as the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
It was also supported by industrial development consultants B&M Analysts, who were also involved in assisting Supreme Spring in conducting the benchmarking at Naicker Toolmakers.
“Our involvement with the BSDP enabled us to improve our best practice manufacturing, general business support, and business development aspects,” says Naicker Toolmakers production manager Preshan Naicker.
The programme covered topics such as quality, productivity and efficiency, International Automotive Task Force (IATF) gap analysis (to ensure the company’s quality management systems (QMSs) meets international standards), capacity planning, tooling, preventive and predictive maintenance, logistics, safety, sustainability and business growth opportunities.
He emphasises that the IATF gap analysis is not a requirement to become a Tier 2 supplier and was not part of the original project objectives, but it is a requirement Naicker Toolmakers decided to pursue to be taken more seriously in the industry.
Preshan Naicker particularly highlights the vital role of Supreme Spring in providing mentorship, feedback and knowledge about the industry and industry best practices, as requirements and objectives for the project came from Supreme Spring and were encouraged by Toyota.
Naicker Toolmakers operates as a Tier 2 supplier to Supreme Spring, which is a Tier 1 manufacturer.
He reiterates that, while the other participating OEMs, associations and unions provided the sponsorship and drive for the project, Supreme Spring played a significant role in providing recommendations for a benchmarking exercise and assessments undertaken by B&M Analysts.
These benchmarking exercises apply to standards of safety, housekeeping, measurement and reporting, record-keeping and traceability for products manufactured and supplied.
The scope of Supreme Spring’s involvement includes mentoring in areas of operations and client relationships and lean manufacturing support.
“We have broadened our relationship with Supreme Spring. We have also provided welding advice for them upon request, while they’ve helped us through our QMSs, it goes far beyond being a partner,” he suggests.
Through the project, the company was also able to achieve ISO 9 001:2015 certification; complete a skills matrix and implement a training plan; implement a new factory layout and 5S assessment system, and secure one new business contract and four new components, despite the fact that the original requirement of the project was to acquire one new component.
Naicker Toolmakers MD Kas Naicker emphasises the advantage presented by interacting with “high-calibre roleplayers”, such as Toyota, and that it provides the company with further networking opportunities going forward.
Despite the programme having run its course, he stresses the importance of using these relationships to secure further business, and further build on progress towards becoming a Tier 1 supplier.
“For me, the most important aspect was that we allowed ourselves to enter into an industry that is closed and difficult to enter. There’s a gap that’s transpired in the industry, and I want to find how we can close that gap so that we can have continuous transformation in our business,” he concludes.