Famous Brands Launches BEE Programme
Integrated food and beverage business Famous Brands on Monday, 7 June 2010, said it had launched a Black Economic Empowerment owner-driver initiative aimed at developing entrepreneurs.
It said the programme was the product of extensive input from industry experts, and is based on financial rationale for both the company and the owner-drivers.
Key to its success would be optimising fleet utilisation and productivity, resulting in enhanced earnings’ potential for the drivers, and improved customer service, the group said.
Famous Brands currently owns 105 vehicles. The intention is to convert 50% of the fleet to owner-drivers within the next three years.
Tony Stephens, managing executive of Famous Brands’ Supply Chain, said: “A crucial supply chain strategy is to grow critical mass by reclaiming business which was previously outsourced.
Significant investment has been made in upgrading our fleet and facilities in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) to accommodate greater volumes and a broader range of multi-temperature products. As a result, we have selected this region to pilot our owner-driver programme.”
The KZN pilot version of the programme will be rolled out to the Eastern Cape by the end of the year, followed by the Western Cape and Free State early next year, with Gauteng to follow over the longer term, Famous Brands said.
Kevin Hedderwick, CEO of Famous Brands, said: “Famous Brands’ supply chain is a significant contributor to the Group’s financial performance.
“Owner-managed businesses are inevitably more productive and more lucrative than company-owned operations; we have experienced this in our franchises and anticipate that this model will transform our proficiency in logistics to first world levels of performance.
“Prudent investment in training and mentorship will increase the success rate of this programme and we are confident that there is significant upside benefit to be gained for the drivers and the company,” he said.
The programme will focus on developing a new skills’ set for the owner-drivers, including business skills, financial competence, time management, employee training and understanding of industrial relations and legislation.
According to Famous Brands, the owner-drivers are selected from its existing employees and undergo a stringent interview process.
“They must meet key prerequisites in terms of health and ITC credit rating and display a strong record of attendance, discipline, customer service and responsibility.”
Famous Brands pointed out that two owner-driver candidates were already in training and would become the first owner-drivers, effective 1 July.
The conversion of employees to owner-drivers comprises two phases. In the first phase Famous Brands will guide and mentor the driver over a one year period. During this time, the company owns and continues to insure and service the vehicle.
In the second phase, the driver purchases and insures his vehicle, is responsible for the running costs, and operates his business independently from Famous Brands, but under the guidance of a business advisor, the group said.
“The goal we share with our owner-drivers is for them to own their R800 000 vehicles within five years. We are confident that with efficient management of their businesses this is achievable,” Stephens said.