Beier Group proves ‘local is lekker’

Building up domestic production to create a robust and labour-intensive manufacturing sector is at the heart of government’s recovery plan as the country navigates the challenges of post-pandemic economic reconstruction.

This commitment to supporting growth in local production and reducing South Africa’s reliance on imports is shared by the Beier Group.

Whether it is safety footwear and personal protective equipment or world-class medical devices and export-quality coated fabrics, the products made at Beier’s four operating companies across the country represent the industry, innovation and potential that are inherent in our home soil.

“It is vitally important for an economy to have a strong manufacturing base,” notes Beier Group CEO Wolfgang Beier. “A thriving, sustainable manufacturing sector drives innovation and creates well-paid jobs. And this is what builds an economy that works for everyone.”

A shared mission

To fully unlock the economic growth and much-needed employment opportunities that a thriving manufacturing sector can deliver, we need shared effort and close cooperation – not just between government and the private sector, but also between businesses large and small.

It is encouraging to see this sentiment at the heart of the ‘comprehensive social compact’ that President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to deliver as part of his effort to reinvigorate South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

The Beier Group already has a long track record of working with government to expand its local operations, boost local manufacturing capacity and create more job opportunities. Over the last eight years the Group companies, with assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry, have collectively invested more than R230 million into local expansions and infrastructure growth.

Local is win-win

The group plans to continue ramping up productivity and investing in production capacity – but giving shape to the President’s vision for recovery also requires that larger manufacturers extend support and strengthen connections with smaller enterprises and women- and youth-led businesses.

This is why the Beier Group has invested heavily in nurturing domestic suppliers and other SMME partners, and rerouting its supply chains closer to home.

“Whichever way you look at it, sourcing local is a win-win,” notes Beier. “It makes your business more efficient and more resilient – and it supports jobs in local communities, boosting the domestic economy. In the president’s words, local is lekker, so let us do that.

”Beier’s long-standing strategy of maximising local procurement allowed it to withstand the supply-chain disruptions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to identify opportunities to localise even further.

By working with local suppliers who were able to deliver on critical components during this time, the group also played a role in improving the skills and capacity of these smaller producers.

“Government’s commitment to cutting red tape and enhancing the shared business environment in which we all operate – big and small – will also go a long way towards making these local supplier partnerships even more fruitful,” adds Beier.