From day one of its existence specialist valves manufacturer Gunric Valves says the company has gone out of its way to make life a little easier for the less fortunate people living in the vicinity of its plant.
When it set up business in Ophirton, south of Johannesburg’s city centre, it promptly began helping the homeless people living on the nearby mine dumps by establishing a feeding scheme for them.
For the first 22 of its total 25 years in business, the company ran the feeding scheme for the mine dump dwellers.
“Our company was based in Ophirton for the first eight years, but we continued to provide weekly food parcels for the more than 100 homeless people, who included women, children and elderly people, for another 14 years after we’d moved to our present premises in Robertville, Florida, in 1996,” says Gunric Valves joint MD Gunter Schmikal.
The company tried to find a charitable organisation or another company to take over this worthy social responsibility programme, but it was unsuccessful in these attempts and, in 2010, realised it had no option but to terminate it, as it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the scheme in such circumstances.
“In addition to the difficulties of having to organise delivery of the food parcels from a distance, the increasingly difficult business climate resulting from the world recession also played a role in our decision. It was unfortunate, but unavoidable,” Schmikal comments.
However, the company wasted no time in finding another worthy cause to support.
The well-known Sparrow Rainbow Village for Aids sufferers is situated close to the company’s premises. “We began supporting them in 2010 on a small scale and have increased our involvement since then by providing both monetary support, as well as practical assistance, doing maintenance and repair work and other odd jobs where needed, such as painting and bricklaying.”
In addition to its social awareness and involvement in community projects, Gunric Valves has an enlightened approach towards its staff.
“Staff turnover is always a good indicator of how well – or badly – staff are being treated,” Schmikal states.
“In our case, staff turnover is very low, so we must be doing most things right. About 20% of our staff have more than 20 years’ service and another 50% have been with us for at least ten years.
“We always have training on the go. Over the last 17 years we’ve constantly provided training for apprentice fitters and turners and welders,” he concludes.