Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC EC) business development manager Hoosain Mahomed says the AIDC EC is embarking on Phase 2 of its localisation supermarket.
The localisation supermarket is a physical showcase and online catalogue of automotive components that are imported, and for which Tier 1 component suppliers are seeking local alternatives.
The aim is to increase black-owner supplier figures to a gross value added (GVA) target of 25% by 2035, which includes the South African Automotive Masterplan target of increasing local content from the current 39% to 60%.
Mahomed explains that high barriers to entry into the automotive component sector, as well as minimal access to capital and stringent costs, have resulted in a low GVA target by black-owner suppliers in the automotive component sector over the years.
During Phase 2 of the localisation supermarket – which will be developed over the next few months – about one-third of the currently listed parts will be replaced with new parts for which local suppliers are being sought.
The supermarket’s efficacy is based on the volume of listed parts and their accessibility to potential suppliers.
The availability of parts currently listed was made easy because of the support of the Eastern Cape Automotive Industry Forum, which represents the automotive manufacturing supply chain in the Eastern Cape.
The forum initially commissioned the AIDC EC to assist in implementing the localisation supermarket.
The supermarket aims to achieve success in terms of not only creating awareness and dialogue between suppliers and clients but also increasing the competency of bidding suppliers to provide the parts according to stringent international quality and delivery standards.
Mahomed highlights that many of the parts are technically complex or do not conform easily to the existing supply chain’s production configurations, and this is a major obstacle.
To mitigate this, the AIDC EC plays a strong facilitation and support role for potential suppliers, which includes access to funding agencies, such as the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and Industrial Development Corporation, enabling suppliers to access the automotive supply chain more easily.
“It is apparent that certain parts may be better produced by non-traditional automotive manufacturers operating in the Fourth Industrial Revolution space and using technology, such as three-dimensional (3D) printing, so we are constantly seeking to showcase the localisation supermarket to wider manufacturing sectors,” he explains.
The supermarket and its opportunities are well projected to industry through partners, such as industry body National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers, the Exporters Club and business chambers that are committed to the localisation and transformation of the automotive supply chain.
Mahomed explains that the parts in the localisation supermarket are mostly used in subassembly by Tier 1 suppliers and supplied, in turn, to original-equipment manufacturers.
The parts range from specific springs and washers, rivets, bolts and rubber or plastic extruded/moulded parts to electric components and chrome strips, of which many are also technically complex or safety critical.
He enthuses that new advanced manufacturing techniques and 3D printing can create opportunities and/or possibilities particularly relevant to the production of certain low-volume parts.
Expressions of interest made on the current parts by potential interested bidders and/or suppliers are conducted on the AIDC EC localisation supermarket online portal.
The localisation supermarket online portal is accessible and free to all users on the AIDC EC website and allows for viewing parts and the submission online of an expression of interest.
The online procedure ensures completeness, transparency and structured applications for review, and the packaging into a formal request for quotation for parts selected.
The AIDC EC then facilitates further engagements between applicants and the parts supplier.
The AIDC EC runs ongoing shopfloor improvement programmes and interventions, as well as training for the manufacturing sector using manufacturing tools employed globally.
The tools used include technologies such as total productive maintenance, Six Sigma, energy management and quality management systems as well as workplace wellness, which is directly linked to productivity.
Further programmes include the development of an automotive manufacturing incubator in Buffalo City, and a smart industrial academy for the development of advanced manufacturing skills and services in Nelson Mandela Bay, both in the Eastern Cape.
Both projects involve a range of stakeholders and have progressed beyond the conceptual or feasibility stages, with their completion targeted for the next couple of years, Mahomed concludes.