Vesconite Bearings is pleased to have received the Business Resilience Award, presented by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA) and Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa (MEMSA) last week.
This is according to CEO Dr Jean-Patrick Leger, whose company was honoured as one that showed resilience, agility and adaptability during the Covid pandemic.
“We’re going to see pandemics again and they have happened throughout history, so let’s be prepared for the next one,” Leger said in his acceptance speech for the award that highlighted Vesconite’s business initiatives and management during the pandemic.
Leger stressed that the competition entry gave him the opportunity to examine how to ensure business stability in incredibly difficult times.
“Covid meant very unusual things like putting our sales staff to start shifts at 11 o’clock at night so that they could phone New Zealand, where the pandemic was not having an effect. Their end-of-day meeting was at 5 am in the morning so that we could discuss how they had managed to develop sales leads.”
Besides this sales initiative, Vesconite invested in health and safety interventions, skills development, creating and marketing new products, technologies and initiatives for remote work, logistics management and ease-of-access to products, improved financial oversight, renovating buildings and increased manufacturing resources at its factory, and growing a strong order book.
“I was also very struck that we had carried on paying salaries and, yes, after six weeks, of no real income coming in, it was very nerve-wracking about what was going to happen next,” Leger noted in his speech about the early days of the pandemic.
“When I look back, I recognise that all our employees were stabilised in this very stressful time. It meant that, when we came back with new ideas, they were energised because they were not fearful of their futures. It made a huge difference.”
Besides the Business Resilience Award, other companies that were honoured at the 2022 Awards for Excellence, included Macsteel, which received the Best Customer Service Award; Pamodzi Engineering, which received the Most Transformed Company of the Year Award; MSC Technical, which received the Environment Stewardship Award; Electrolux South Africa, which received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award; Caleisle Ngwenya, the director at CeeWay Engineering, who received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award; ArcelorMittal, which received the Industry Apprenticeship Award; ProProcess Engineering, which received the Customised Customer Service Award; Buraaq Mining Services and Rham Equipment, which received the Localised Supply Chain Award; NTGR Engineering Projects, which received the Manufacturing Solutions Award; Kobus De Beer, the current Chairman of International Steel Fabricators of South Africa and the Structural Steel Export Cluster and a Commissioner on the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa, who received the Lifetime Contribution to the Industry Award; Michelle Austin, the group financial director at Keegor South Africa, who received the Business Woman of the Year Award; Keegor South Africa, which received the Workplace Health and Safety Award; and Bell Equipment, which received the MEMSA Member Manufacturer of the Year Award.