The global pandemic has led many of the industry’s top performers to re-strategize their future paths and realign them with the new normal that is slowly emerging from the Covid-19 ashes.
As the country enters the third wave, it is becoming painfully obvious that there will be no return to the old ways any time soon, and that new business models will need to be developed to keep the industry and the country afloat in the medium and long term.
This is according to Nico Pienaar of surface mining industry association, ASPASA, whose members supply most raw materials used in everyday construction and whose businesses have also been severely affected by the pandemic. Minerals mined and worked by its members include sand, stone, limestone for cement, dimension stone, clay, ash, and a host of other materials used in construction.
Nico says that some of the highlights to emerge from the pandemic include:
- The unlocking of several high-profile Government infrastructure projects including largescale road, rail harbours and other building contracts.
- A renewed focus of training and access to a host of training courses on digital platforms.
- Strong upsurge in the use of technology and social media to communicate with internal and external stakeholders.
- More professional dealings between parties involved in construction projects with an emphasis on terms and conditions of contracts and tighter specifications for the supply of quality products and services.
- Better financial management of projects to ensure timeous payments and safeguard cashflows throughout the entire construction supply chain.
- The adoption of new strategies that take into consideration the changed landscape of the South African economy.
- Automation of processes in the processing and manufacture of construction materials.
He says these are just some of the measures that are being taken across the industry to ensure the survival of the sector, as well as develop required infrastructure. Close communication between companies and clients as well as Government and all the industry bodies will be required to ensure all role-players remain updated and are aware of future requirements for upcoming and ongoing projects.
“As long as there is constant communication between role-players and everyone knows what is required from their business, industry, suppliers, and customers, then we can all work together to rebuild the industry and uphold the economy. Cooperation and communication can ensure that resources within the industry are preserved and so ensure the success of future projects.
“In addition, there will undoubtedly be a strong rebound in the industry once we have the pandemic under control and then we need to be ready to supply all the materials and services that will be required to enable the swelling project numbers to be completed on time. Those companies that have planned for this eventuality will be the ones that will benefit the most,” says Nico.
He concludes that the construction and surface mining industries are among the biggest employers in the country and that the future success of the industry is a national prerogative – we simply must succeed!