The recent Southern African Wood, Laminate and Flooring Association’s (SAWLFA) annual general meeting emphasised the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the flooring industry, adversely affecting key areas such as membership, training & accreditation and finally, the association’s turnover.
However, the overall tone of the meeting was one of proactive strategic planning and looking to concrete action plans to help drive the association forward.
SAWLFA President, Pasi Muzvidziwa, recognised that despite the Covid-19 challenges, SAWLFA needed to embark on a strategic shift to ensure not only development, but also the very survival of the association and its ability to deliver on the following mandate:
- Financial stability.
- Development of completely independent inspections and impartial opinions.
- Adding value to current members and attracting new members.
- Guaranteeing viability.
“How we seek to achieve this will be presented to the membership shortly and it is for you our members to decide as the team operates from the mandate that you give. The fact is that if we don’t change the way we do things, we will not have an association in the next 3-5 years,” noted Pasi.
He added that the onus was now upon the current generation of leaders to prepare the association for the future, and that this calls for a fundamental shift in thinking and going outside the box to ensure that as an industry body, it delivers in the following key areas:
• Improving the value offering to the membership.
• Improving the financial viability of the association.
• Improving the corporate governance and maintaining a high level of ethical governance by ensuring that the various organs of the association, like inspectors, become fully independent.
• Aligning training to national standards to give the members tangible and universally recognised qualifications.
Pasi continued, “We have been engaging with various stakeholders and potential partners to enable us to achieve this vision. These engagements have resulted in the signing of an MOU with a team of experts that have been involved in skills development and fundraising activities. This initiative is meant to streamline SAWLFA into a modern and dynamic organisation with the capacity to add value to its members beyond the current offering.”
SDC – Planning for the future
SDC objectives for 2022 and onwards:
• Manage and attract membership within the wood and laminate flooring industry in SA. The bigger the base, the better benefits they can attract for members.
• Improve the SAWLFA inspections and the objectivity thereof, through the creation of independent inspectors, transparent process and substantiated reporting.
• Modernize current training offered to members, incorporate digital content and explore other improvements to Skills Development in the industry.
• Align to SETA and QCTO industry specific qualifications and enable SAWLFA members to develop key technical skills in current and future employee.
• Add access to broader range of accredited and non-accredited learning programs, including Business Management, Administration, Finance and Marketing skills.
• Provide access to funding, both for employment and skills development in members organisations.
• Expand SAWLFA scope to other sectors of the flooring industry through relevant programmes, products and initiatives.
• Realise the potential benefits of the use of technology in SAWLFA / SDC initiatives (in the future look out for SAWLFA online platform)
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