Business & Economy

Monday, 29 October 2018 12:39

SAPPMA HOSTS 2018 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM)

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South Africa’s watchdog when it comes to the quality of plastic pipes that are locally produced and enters the market, the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (SAPPMA) hosted its 2018 Annual General Meeting in Midrand on the 25th of October 2018.

SAPPMA counts pipe manufacturers (large, medium and small), polymer manufacturers, suppliers of materials and services, fabricators and installers as members.   Addressing the SAPPMA members and other interested parties who were in attendance, CEO Jan Venter reiterated that the primary purpose of SAPPMA is to create absolute customer confidence in the plastic pipe industry and to ensure the long term sustainability of the industry with top quality piping systems.  To this end, the Association says it is more interested in focusing on quality as opposed to quantity when it comes to growing its membership.

“Looking back at the past 12 months, we are grateful to be able to report on a constructive and fruitful year.  During 2018, our main focus remained on ensuring that members meet the international quality standards and that the plastic pipes they produce continue to be of excellent quality.  Only then they were they allowed to clearly differentiate themselves from the rest of the market by proudly displaying the SAPPMA logo,” Venter said.

The following were only some of the milestones the association reached this past year:

Quality, standards, testing and certification

SAPPMA stepped up the frequency and intensity of its factory audits at SAPPMA pipe manufacturers and IFPA fabricators/installers.  According to Venter, “these audits serve as an excellent barometer of the standard of quality management by members and is indeed welcomed by most members as a very valuable, objective assessment of their operations.”  He mentioned that a third round of audits is presently underway.

Ensuring technical information that is up to date and relevant

SAPPMA’s Technical Committee continued to fulfil an important role in ensuring that the information that is communicated to membersand the rest of the industry is up to date, practical and relevant as it relates to quality, standards (national and internal), testing and certification. When more intensive investigation and resolutions were required, smaller and specialized workgroups were formed to complete the job and provide feedback.  

World class exposure and benchmarking

SAPPMA ensured that its members enjoyed the benefits of world-class exposure and expertise by hosting the very successful Pipes XI conference in association with the International PPCA in September last year. The benefits and impact of this world class event continued to be felt as SAPPMA engaged on a regular basis with its international counterparts such as PPI of North America, Teppfa of Europe and Pipa of Australia for benchmarking, sharing of ideas and networking.

Expanding the SAPPMA brand contact and influence

SAPPMA continued to pay personal visits to registered consulting engineering firms and major municipalities. throughout South Africa in 2018.  These in-depth discussions centred around explaining the SAPPMA brand and service offering and has enabled the association to expand its reach to more than 200 consulting firms and more than 500 professional engineers.

Looking ahead: less policing, more support

Although SAPPMA still maintains contact with the SABS, most of its members migrated to the alternative routes this past year, with the majority of product testing now being performed at PESC (the Productivity Engineering Services and Consultants) and certification by SATAS (South African Technical Auditing Service (SATAS).

Thanks to the development and increasing effectiveness of these two industry bodies, SAPPMA will be handing over the “policing role” to the accreditation organisation, allowing it to shift its focus to that of offering a more supportive role to its members of its members, growing the market and stepping up problem solving with customers. 

“SAPPMA will continue to be a voluntary, non-profit organization with a strong brand, that acts as the voice of the industry. We will maintain our focus as industry watchdog who ensures sufficiency of standards, offers technical support, coordination and marketing, but will hand over the proverbial “whip” and responsibility of conducting factory audits to an accredited organization,” Venter explained.

However, he stressed that this change will not soften SAPPMA’s stance on product quality in any way.

SAPPMA will also be changing the frequency of their conference events to every second year, with the next one planned for September 2019.

Board members for 2019

SAPPMA announced that two new board members have been elected for 2019.  Don Coleman of Sizabantu Piping Systems and Terence Hobson of Sun Ace will join Jan Venter (Chairman/CEO), Mark Berry (Safripol), Vijay Naik (Flotek), Derek Faulds (Macneil Plastics) and Renier Viljoen (Rare Plastics) on the SAPPMA board.

Merit Award Winners

Mike Smart, George Diliyannis and Jacques van Eck received this year’s SAPPMA Merit Awards – an annual award that was instituted in 2008 with the aim of recognizing and rewarding the input and effort of individual SAPPMA members

Conclusion

“Even though business conditions in South Africa are far from ideal, our members continue to innovate and improvise, without following the way of least resistance, namely dropping quality standards. We are very grateful for their commitment, unswerving dedication to this long term view and for their wonderful support and co-operation during the past year. We operate in, arguably, the most important infrastructural industry in the country, without adequate recognition and support of Government. Regardless, SAPPMA will continue to fight the good fight to improve and to grow the industry, bearing in mind we are doing it as a non-profit organization, for the citizens of South Africa!” Venter concluded.

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