The Ford Struandale Engine Plant, GMSA VWSA are throwing their weight behind a unique programme to boost the wellness of workers within the automotive supply chain of Africa’s largest automotive manufacturing city, Nelson Mandela Bay.
The Programme driven by the AIDC Eastern Cape supported by the GIZ (German Development agency) with the participation of the three large automotive employers, aims to re-double wellness resources with a special focus on HIV AIDS of up to 1500 workers directly at suppliers contracted to the OEMs over a set period.
The AIDC EC Workplace programmes manager Arnelle Heynes said, “we are excited to announce that our three Nelson Mandela Bay OEMs have partnered with the AIDC EC to take employee wellness within the automotive supply chain to a completely new level, where the workplace programmes focus has shifted from mainly focusing on HIVAIDS and other health impacting factors, to a more holistic approach for employee well-being”.
“This demonstrates the serious intent of the major automotive companies in the region to not only ensure that workers’ health programmes are world class but their commitment to the programme also acknowledges the effect that worker wellness has on productivity, profitability and in fact the competitiveness of the automotive supply chain.”
“As an agency of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), the AIDC EC is mandated to assist the automotive sector become more globally competitive and wellness programmes, in addition to technical improvement programmes, are key,” Heynes said.
The OEM’s would play a lead role in the programme as a “big brother” to the respective supplier companies within a cluster, where best practice and resources would be shared to optimise the value of the initiative.
Over 5000 employees at fifteen component manufacturing suppliers to GMSA and Ford SEP were directly impacted by the programme over the past four years, now the addition of VW and its suppliers brings wider scope and reach to the programme.
Selected participating suppliers benefit from:
Positive behavioural change of employees;
Increased employee awareness and knowledge about negative health impacting factors and specifically HIVAIDS;
Increased productivity and indirect reduction on absenteeism;
Decrease in stigma related to HIVAIDS and/or other chronic illness.
The programme model acknowledges that large companies such as the OEM’s have already instituted extremely successful Wellness Management programmes. The AIDC EC-GIZ programme model takes the unique approach of tapping into this structure by having the OEM adopt a supporting “big Brother” role to their suppliers’ Wellness Programmes in association with the AIDC EC, GIZ and programme partners.
Through a cluster approach, the Wellness Management Programme performs an organisational assessment for each supplier company to identify and analyse gaps in testing uptake. This baseline data provides the foundation for the development of strategic and operational plans for implementation of a high impact, integrated and sustainable workplace wellness programme at supplier level.
Following the success in adopting a cluster approach to Workplace Wellness Programmes at GMSA and Ford, VWSA joined the partnership with the AIDC EC as an extension to their own supply chain initiatives over the past 7 years.
The AIDC EC Wellness Management programme has aligned its model to the Automotive Industry Cluster – Eastern Cape, the objectives of which include sharing of information, standardisation of best practice programmes and the accessibility of best practice resources to Eastern Cape automotive suppliers.
On 10 May 2013, AIDC EC and the three OEM’s invited selected suppliers to a briefing session at the GMSA Hummer Track, where the programme offer was made available to no more than four medium sized companies for the programme period of June 2013 – December 2014.