Transnet plays an indispensable role in our nation’s freight logistics chain, which in turn is responsible for the delivery of goods to virtually every South African on a daily basis. The parastatal delivers thousands of tons of goods around the country annually, as part of the lifeblood of our nations’ freight infrastructure. Transnet Capital Projects (TCP) is a unit within the group specialising in the development of infrastructure, and the planning and execution of ‘Mega Projects’ for the various Operating Divisions. Transformation within Transnet is a strategic part of the group’s vision to promote economic growth in South Africa through the delivery of reliable, cost-effective freight transport services.
When we first engaged with TCP, the unit was on the verge of a crucial B-BBEE verification; maintaining or improving their scorecard level was of paramount importance. At the time however, there was no existing mechanism for assessing their performance pre-emptively other than an extensive mock audit carried out by a third party consultant. This left them in a defensive position in which their score was only assessed after the end of the measurement period, leaving no time to address any shortfalls. In addition, training data could only be gathered through an arduous manual process taking anything from 4 – 6 weeks. The unit urgently needed to be able to assess their scorecard quickly and pro-actively during the measurement period in order to achieve their transformation objectives.
Mpowered came on-board to run a formal proof of concept assessing the feasibility of rolling our systems out into the unit. Workshops were held with each of the element champions in order to understand the nuances of their operational environments, and the challenges they faced in gathering and assessing data. This was followed by a report outlining the main concerns faced by the team, and recommendations for improving the measurement process in conjunction with our systems. A training workshop was then run with each champion and their team, who were coached through the process of uploading their data from a previous audit period into the systems. This allowed them to assess the usability of the systems, as well as the accuracy of the embedded calculations. Once complete, our team carried out a detailed reconciliation between the resulting scorecard, and the verified scorecard obtained for the same period. Approval for the full project was then obtained. During the ensuing roll-out, a second round of detailed training was held in which stakeholders were trained not only on the loading of data, but also in the analysis functions offered by the systems. This enabled element champions to immediately begin creating scenarios aimed at maximising their points during the next measurement period. Because the unit was unbundling a significant part of their existing business, scenarios could be done for the business as it currently stood, as well as for end state of the unit post-change. An audit of the existing procedure for tracking skills development was undertaken, and a new approach was implemented, closely aligned to the system and its requirements. In preferential procurement, recommendations were made around the increased compliance of suppliers, and the communication of TCP’s procurement policy to the same.
By the end of the few weeks of implementation, TCP was able to create an accurate provisional scorecard which tied back to the mock audit as carried out by their external consultant. Since then, the unit has been able to measure their compliance on a monthly basis, with Skills Development data being fed into the system timeously throughout the year. In addition, TCP was able to manage a potential transition from one sector charter to another by measuring themselves concurrently on both charters. Uploaded data was applied to each charter in order to automatically assess the impact of the change. A full time resource was assigned to manage transformation within the unit, who now runs scenarios concurrently with monthly scorecards. This enables the unit to maintain alignment between medium and long term targets, and their current B-BBEE performance. In this way, TCP’s last verification (which made no use of mock audits), saw the improvement of their scorecard from a level 5 to a level 4.
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