MAN is Proudly South African

Skills development and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) are key responsibilities for corporations conducting business in South Africa today. MAN Truck & Bus SA embraces these imperatives, investing resources in a host of upliftment initiatives for both its employees and various previously disadvantaged communities around the country.

According to Thandi Thankge, Group Manager: Human Resources, MAN Truck & Bus SA: “Every MAN employee is a walking MAN brand, a mirror of the company to the outside world. With this philosophy in mind MAN launched its ‘Brand Workshops: Journey to Excellence’ in July 2011 to create consistency across the organisation globally. Key tenets of the programme in line with MAN’s global strategic direction include growth, profitability, reliability and delivery on promises to customers.”

The full-day course is structured to inculcate MAN’s corporate culture in all its employees, covering disciplines including marketing, branding, service delivery, consistency, efficiency, enthusiasm, commitment and customer proximity.

“It is a standardised programme across all of MAN operational regions internationally and is supported by the motto – ‘everyone likes to work for MAN, anywhere, anytime,” says Thankge.

MAN also ensures technical capacity-building in South Africa via its four-year apprenticeship programme, currently training 35 diesel and auto electricians in its local workshops.

Sales training courses are also a vital component of MAN’s internal skills development process where a German methodology equips sales personnel with all the necessary skills to effectively service vehicle buyers, with an emphasis on ‘personality’ and ‘communication’ says Thankge.

MAN’s local CSI (corporate social investment) initiatives include the supply of truck chasses, engines and drivelines to the Tom Naude Technical High School in Polokwane, funding a life-skills learnership programme for 18 mentally challenged black females and the financing of 10 RDP (reconstruction and development programme) houses in Kwa Zulu-Natal. Gifts, food, clothing and blankets are frequently donated to institutions such as SOS Children’s Village, the SPCA and the Red Cross.

In 2010, MAN Truck & Bus SA, via its wholly-owned dealership, MAN Centurion, set a new benchmark in the commercial vehicle supply sector by becoming the only truck and bus manufacturer to hold a Level-Three BBBEE rating.

The dealership’s empowerment rating followed five years of successful management partnership with 8 Mile Investments (a division of 100% black-owned consortium, Southern Palace Group), which holds a 30% equity stake in MAN Centurion.

“The elevated BEE status at MAN Centurion is testimony to the efforts made by its staff to effect meaningful skills development and wealth distribution within the dealership as well as to 8 Mile’s broad base of stakeholders,” said MAN Truck & Bus AG’s global Sales and Marketing head, Thomas Hemmerich, at the time the deal was formalised.

According to Gladys Matitoane, Southern Palace Group executive board member, “The partnership agreement signed with MAN Centurion in 2005 has helped Southern Palace fulfil its mandate to create sustainable employment through ongoing grass roots training initiatives designed to promote entrepreneurship on a national basis.”

The socio-economic benefits for Southern Palace Group’s HDI (historically disadvantaged individuals) stakeholders who comprise women, youths and budding entrepreneurs, include community-based skills development projects to build capacity for high-demand workplace skills in the automotive, nursing, textile and IT sectors, to name a few.

For MAN Centurion, the partnership and elevated BBBEE status has helped improve turnover, particularly the winning of state tenders, where leading and emerging companies are both looking for BEE-compliant suppliers to assist their procurement processes. MAN sees its Level Three rating as a valuable addition to its core offerings of best service, efficiency and lowest vehicle lifecycle cost.

For 8 Mile, “the partnership with MAN Centurion helps our consortium help government redress the imbalances of the past. By training, mentoring and guiding upcoming entrepreneurs in the automotive field, we enable government to focus its procurement process on companies that are compliant, thereby improving service levels and sales volumes,” said Matitoane.

Further empowerment initiatives are being rolled out by MAN Truck & Bus SA to boost local content of components for its truck and bus chasses.

According to Dave Khaled, Group Manager: Procurement, MAN Truck & Bus SA: “Our organisation is 100% committed to boosting local content in our MAN and Volkswagen commercial vehicles, with a commitment to external enterprise development. We are currently busy with several potential projects, which if successful would see us securing supply contracts with local service providers of components including chassis cross-members, fuel tanks, chassis brackets, air receivers and such like.

“We are also working in close cooperation with the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) to ensure the smooth roll-out of these supplier contracts, who have jointly committed, as part of their job creation initiatives, to assist with funding for these projects.”

For Markus Geyer, CEO, MAN Truck & Bus SRM: “As a global leader in the commercial road transport industry, MAN has strategically positioned itself as a key enabler of indigenous talent. MAN Truck & Bus SA has the resources and the will to help empower local businesses and individuals who share the same spirit of enterprise and innovation that has made MAN an industry leader the world over.”