In February, SAMED hosted the first of a series of planned capacity-building and networking meetings designed to help members and the industry fast-track transformation within their organisations and the sector.

The full-day workshop was organised by SAMED’s Transformation Committee in collaboration with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the DTIC), and with speakers from consulting agencies and Siemens Healthcare.

Findings from member research set the tone for the workshop and exposed needs and gaps.

  • Transformation is a priority for most companies. But only a third of the members have a dedicated resource to drive transformation internally and externally and 40% do not have a transformation plan (although some have employment equity plans in place).
  • Of the 141 members who contributed to the survey, 25 have non-compliant certificates, so helping them become compliant presents a great opportunity.
  • Majority (56%) fall into the EME and QSE categories and have affidavits.
  • From 109 total points that were possible, 39.13 were achieved – and the breakdown of B-BBEE elements shows that members are struggling with ownership equity, management control and enterprise and supplier development.

Vibrant engagements that followed indicate that the Equity Equivalent Programmes, as presented by the DTIC’s Chief Director B-BBEE Policy Unit, Jacob Maphutha, are a viable option for dealing with the challenge of ownership in the larger and multinational companies. These members are looking for long-term and sustainable approaches, with suggestions that achieving Level-1 ratings as done by globally listed companies operating in South Africa is possible. Such experience, albeit outside of the healthcare sector, may provide good ideas.

Although there are passionate entrepreneurs who present empowerment opportunities working in other industries, the workshop focused on advice that companies should select the right empowerment partner who is interested in Medical Technology and wants to drive the transformation agenda in order to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution to our industry. Companies were reminded that Black female empowerment partners allow them to strengthen their B-BBEE credentials further.

The discussion also covered enterprise development and there too members need to partner with small business owners and passionate entrepreneurs to develop diverse supply and operational chains.

The Transformation Committee intends to address management control and skills development aspects of transformation when it hosts the second workshop, which will be targeted at the members’ human resource and transformation teams. It acknowledges that as role-players in healthcare, SAMED, the members and the entire MedTech industry should align their investments into skills development with those of the whole healthcare sector, and will look for possibilities to do this in collaboration with the Health Department.

The bottom line? Transformation is possible and necessary. Achieving transformation is a journey starting with SAMED members establishing a clear transformation strategy that sets out measurable deliverables and milestones for the 3-5 years period. Every journey starts with a single step, and SAMED wishes to support transformation in the sector every step of the way.