Retailer's expansion into Africa benefits preferred supplier

Posted On Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:23 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Woolworths which shares details of how local South African suppliers that form part of the company's enterprise development (ED) programme are benefitting from the company's expansion into Africa. One family-owned business in particular, Stuart's Joinery, has been appointed as the preferred shopfitting supplier for Woolworths' African stores. In addition, they are a strong case study of how enterprise development programmes benefit retail supply chains in the long-run

 Stuart's Joinery has been a supplier to Woolworths since the late 1980s when the founder, Stuart Hopley, started off with minor installations. But their inclusion in the company's ED programme has seen the company grow from a humble start in a garage on the Cape Flats, to a 2,200m2 factory with 68 full time staff. In the last year alone this father-and-son team has been responsible for the shopfitting of 14 Woolworths stores in seven African countries. In South Africa, they've done shopfitting for 28 Woolworths stores during the last financial year.

Commenting on the impact of his relationship with Woolworths, Hopley says: “It’s been an incredible journey. In the beginning I just hoped the business would support my family. I started the business in a small garage and today I have a 2,000m2 factory and 68 full time employees who have experience at the highest level locally and on the continent. We’ve worked hard, but there is no doubt that Woolworths has opened many doors for us.”

African expansion

In the last year alone Stuart’s Joinery has completed the shopfitting for 14 stores in countries which included Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania and Mozambique. Hopley’s team has also been contracted to do the shopfitting for newly extended stores in countries like Mauritius. Stuart's son Jody is his right-hand in the business, and father and son have travelled the continent extensively for Woolworths store developments.
Learning from the challenges

Jody says that working in various African cities involves extensive planning and presents them with an opportunity to learn and grow from new logistical challenges. He says fittings are first designed and manufactured at the factory in Ottery, before being shipped to Woolworths stores. The shopfitting installation, which is designed like a puzzle, then gets assembled at the new store site.

Jody explains: “Outside South Africa our turnaround time on a store is between 10 to 20 days, whereas we have between two to six months available when we construct stores at home. To ensure that the job is done fast and efficiently we send in a core specialist team. However, we are also committed to the development of local communities and therefore make use of local labour in African countries to create employment and to share our skills.”
Woolies and enterprise development

“Stuart’s Joinery has played an integral part in our African expansion plans and we value our relationship with them,” says Maurice De Villiers, Woolworths Group Head of Real Estate Development. “Through our Enterprise Development Programme we make use of our supply chain to empower emerging suppliers and entrepreneurs. It means that small businesses are given the tools required to succeed, as well as the ongoing support needed for sustainability and growth.”

About Woolworths’ African portfolio
•       Woolworths has had a presence in African countries for over 10 years (excluding SA).
•       Woolworths currently has a presence in 12 countries and 58 stores across Africa (excluding SA).

About Woolworths’ Enterprise Development (ED) Programme
•       The Woolworths Enterprise Development programme is committed to supporting BEE supplier partners and developing new enterprises to enter its supplier base. Through this strategy, Woolworths assists emerging black-owned suppliers to become sustainable businesses.
•       The programme rests on four pillars - all of which are essential to help an emerging entrepreneur or small business grow into a sustainable entity: financial assistance, guaranteed business, targeted upskilling and a package of support which includes mentorship and the assistance of external experts.
•       Enterprise development is a key part of Woolworths ‘Good Business Journey’ programme.

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 11:19

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