BEE rules are no burden, says SA defence equipment firm

5 May 2011
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Helping suppliers prove they meet criteria for black economic empowerment (BEE) 
has assisted armoured vehicle manufacturer Land Systems to meet its own targets for preferential procurement.

Supporting vendors has enabled the firm to comply with legislation and develop its own supply base, according to operations director Piet Krüger.

“We have to teach our suppliers because some [of them] comply with the requirements, but do not realise,” he told SM. “So we have to educate them and make sure that they understand that they need to be accredited.”

Land Systems is a division of global defence equipment supplier BAE Systems. BAE owns a 75 per cent stake in the company with the remaining share taken by South African black economic empowerment group DGD Technologies.

The procurement department also helps black-owned businesses that are strategic suppliers to achieve Land Systems’ required standards on quality. “We have people on site with them, helping them to plan their processes and with quality assurance. We can already start seeing the benefits,” Krüger said. This helps a supplier invest in its capabilities because it is assured of long-term business with the firm.

BEE legislation has led to a different way of working with suppliers, rather than creating a burden, Krüger added. “We are a South African company. We understand the region and we understand the people. We can work with this [legislation], yet we are still competitive in the world market.”

He also said Land Systems was at the early stages of working with the University of Pretoria to develop a procurement certification or degree.

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