Supply Chain Experiments at Santam started in South Africa

On Tuesday May 21, 25 motor body repair (MBR) specialists came together at the head quarters of the leading South African insurer Santam to discuss with sustainability experts and university research partners current environmental issues and challenges in their industry. The research project developed by GOLDEN has the goal to identify alternative ways to introduce sustainable principles in Santam’s MBR supplier chain, and to measure which of these methods have the best outcomes. The international team members, involving researchers from the University of St.Gallen and Bocconi University, joined local colleagues from the UCT Graduate School of Business, to design and host the workshop.

The main goal of the workshop was to get feedback from the MBRs on the daily challenges they face when trying to be more environmentally responsible. Measurement and reporting play a key role in this effort and allow supply chain partners to identify the most important environmental issues to tackle. In the workshop various reporting methods and guidelines were introduced to determine which is the most effective in achieving the above.

Members of Santam’s strategy and sustainability department shared with the workshop participants the company’s strategic priorities for improving sustainability. They detailed Santam’s efforts at reducing its environmental footprint, for example by reducing waste, travel, energy consumption in the company. They also stressed the importance of working together across the supply chain to achieve significant improvements of environmental practices.

Another contribution highlighted the most important compliance issues in the context of MBR. MBR partners who attended the workshop had the chance to share how they manage common environmental issues in their shops with each other. The workshop participants agreed that environmental compliance and performance is becoming increasing important for business in the MBR industry. One of the attendants suggested: “We are not competing with each other on environmental issues. We should share and learn from each other about what can be done to improve our environmental performance.”

The workshop provided a great foundation for mutual learning and for scaling up this process by expanding the reporting initiative online to MBR’s across South Africa. The most successful reporting schemes could then also be replicated across the supply chain, supporting Santam’s environmental efforts, and making a significant and lasting difference.

If you are interested in this line of GOLDEN’s activities please contact Frank Brueck.

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