The National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam) is offering a scholarship to an exceptional candidate looking to develop skills and expertise in business administration. This master’s degree focuses on manufacturing and is suitable for an individual who has demonstrated a significant contribution to the industry in their career so far. 

The move towards developing local managerial talent, especially in the field of manufacturing, is much needed in South Africa. Globally, industries are transforming as we enter the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart manufacturing is revolutionising all types of industries, and the automotive industry is no exception. 

As a leading supplier of car parts and components to the automotive industry, Formex looks forward to welcoming new talent, especially individuals with the high-level skills needed to transform South African industries. The merging of new technologies with existing resources, digitising supply chains and driving economic and social change are just a few examples of the types of skills needed to reap the benefits of modern manufacturing in South Africa.  

The MBA scholarship

IoT comes to life in smart manufacturing. We can witness the merging of mechanical and digital machines, interrelated computing devices and an ecosystem of web-enabled smart systems and production lines. In South Africa, it is essential that manufacturing leaders are able to implement these new technologies, train and support their teams, and provide enhanced customer service. 

The MBA scholarship offered by Naacam promises to address all these key competencies. The decision to offer a scholarship came as Naacam members decided to honor the memory of Dr Johan van Zyl. Due to complications associated with Covid-19, Dr van Zyl passed away at the age of 63 in July 2021. His valuable contribution to the automotive industry sparked the desire to honour his legacy.

Throughout his long career in manufacturing, Dr van Zyl was dedicated to the development of the automotive industry in South Africa. He joined Toyota in 1993 as the Director for Vehicles Sales and Dealer Network and went on to become the chairperson of Toyota until his retirement in early 2021. Dr van Zyl has been lauded for driving Toyota’s success in South Africa and internationally. Sihle Zikalala, KwaZulu-Natal Premier, described Dr van Zyl as “one of the most formidable business minds that the country has ever produced.”

Developing talent in manufacturing 

Dr van Zyl was also the chairperson of the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS) – the institution delivering the manufacturing-based MBA that this scholarship will finance. TWIMS is a non-profit organisation that aims to upskill manufacturing executives in Africa. It was established in 2015 and this once-off scholarship covers the full tuition costs for the successful candidate. 

Naacam members raised R400 000 to fund this educational opportunity. It will be awarded to an African female who is a South African citizen and currently works in an SME. During the 27-month programme, the candidate can continue working while pursuing her studies. Exceptional talent and a deep commitment to developing ‘monozukuri’ in Africa are key characteristics that the board is looking for. 

‘Monozukuri’ is a Japanese term that roughly translates to “the pride of making things.” Dr van Zyl was well-known for saying that ‘monozukuri’ is what helped Asian economies, in particular Japan, South Korea and Thailand, develop their production capabilities and economies as a whole. It was his vision to develop a similar culture of manufacturing in Africa, transforming local economies and human resources. 

Manufacturing-based tertiary education

The MBA offered by TWIMS is the only manufacturing-focused MBA in Africa. This world-class programme strives to support the development of African manufacturing. Industry 4.0 stimulates the need for highly-skilled engineers and manufacturing managers. 

Manufacturing-specific MBAs at TWIMS include green manufacturing, sustainable finance and future manufacturing. African trade and industrialisation, operations management and supply chain management are other avenues of study for MBA students. 

The most relevant for this scholarship is TWIMS’ MBA, which focuses on women as manufacturing leaders. Closing the gender gap, especially for top-tier positions, is essential for the creation of a more equal society and the upskilling of women into top-level managerial roles. 

While large-scale production tends to dominate the market, innovative manufacturing models often come from smaller-scale local manufacturing where innovation is given priority. Learning how to maximise inclusive technology that stimulates sustainability, innovation and employment are essential skills for Industry 4.0 managers. 

Smart manufacturing skills and expertise 

Leaders in manufacturing recognise the need to upskill their successors. Industry 4.0 managers need to be able to respond to increased digitisation, while still maintaining and training staff. Jobs can only be secured if workers are able to keep up with the demands of emerging technologies. Manual processes are being rapidly replaced with automation as industries look to increase manufacturing speeds. 

Managers need to be able to respond to competitive pressures with innovative business models. Customers are looking for more customisation and personalisation, and Industry 4.0 addresses this need. Smart manufacturing allows managers to cater for increased customer engagement.

Successful industry leaders drive economic, social and environmental change. Manufacturing has been a major contributor to environmental issues such as carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. Because of this, reducing waste and boosting efficiency has become a much higher priority for smart manufacturing executives. 

Supply chains need to be agile and supply chain management systems must quickly respond to changing market conditions. Adapting operations to the demands of a changing market is a key skill for industry leaders. Global disruptions, such as those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, have shown that the more agile and adaptable a business is, the more likely it is to survive and succeed. 

Formex supports the skills development of manufacturing leaders. South Africa’s workforce is in need of key skills and competencies related to Industry 4.0. This scholarship is a positive move towards ensuring the future of manufacturing in South Africa.

Formex Industries is a metal forming and assembly company that supplies a variety of complex products to the local automotive industry and the export market. The company is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole, South Africa’s foremost region for automotive manufacturing and export.

Formex is a supplier with 69% black ownership, of which 37% are black women. The company is owned by Deneb Investments Limited – a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI) – one of South Africa’s biggest true B-BBEE companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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