PORT ELIZABETH – An initiative to transfer big business best practices in health and wellness to small and medium enterprises has delivered a trio of positive results.
- General Motors SA won the Best Supply Chain Initiative category of the Nelson Mandela Bay Health & Wellness Awards for the Supply Chain Workplace Wellness Cluster Programme facilitated in partnership with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC);
- Two of the participating companies won their categories in the same awards programme; and
- The project itself exceeded its participation targets and has led to the launch of the Eastern Cape’s first OEM Wellness Cluster which aims to reach even more suppliers.
The GMSA health & wellness team who drive the company’s internal programme (itself a previous winner in the awards) as well as the supply chain cluster initiative, were also recognised in the NMB Health & Wellness Awards, earning second place in the category Outstanding Wellness Team.
The awards are the only one of their kind in South Africa, recognising corporate and non-profit initiatives to make workplaces and the city healthier places. The awards are organised by the volunteer Nelson Mandela Bay Health & Wellness Focus Group, with the support of the NMB Business Chamber.
GMSA employee benefits & services manager Malaine Hop Hing said the supply chain health and wellness project had seen GMSA support five supplier companies as a “big brother”, assisting them to replicate best practice, policies, procedures and activities over 18 months.
Of the five companies in the project, Tenneco SA won the medium-size business category and Veyance Technologies won the small-business category for their health and wellness programmes instituted as a result of the project.
The AIDC facilitated and project managed the programme, with support from the SA Business Coalition on Health & AIDS (SABCOHA) and the German development agency, GIZ.
The project initially targeted reaching 1 000 employees of the five participating companies. By the end of the project in December 2012, the actual number reached had almost doubled to 1 911.
Participating companies were assisted in hosting health-focused industrial theatre productions, conducting wellness drives, training for employees and peer educators, wellness assessments and voluntary HIV testing and counselling, raising awareness and securing the buy-in of top management.
In order to ensure sustainability of the programme, GMSA continues to support the participating companies, who will also join the AIDC EC support network.
The success of the supply chain project led the Nelson Mandela Bay area’s three Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to form the Eastern Cape’s first OEM wellness cluster, in partnership with AIDC, SABCOHA and GIZ, to reach more small and medium businesses in the value chain.
“Health and wellness affects everyone. It is not competitive information. We must share, join hands and touch lives,” Hop Hing said of GMSA’s approach to sharing its model with supplier companies.
She points out that supporting companies in the value chain to promote health and wellness, supports GMSA’s own internal health and wellness initiatives. “We always had a vision of a three-phase process: starting with our employees, where it took us three years to set up a full wellness programme, then into the community and our retirees, and then into the supply chain. We can’t operate without them, and so this project brings the process full circle,” she said.
GM Africa Human Resources Vice-President Chris Thexton praised Hop Hing and her small team of two for growing the company’s health and wellness programme from “a narrowly defined set of activities 12 years ago… to a source of innovative practices that make a real difference in the lives of many people”.
The consistency of achievement, he said, was even more remarkable given the economic turbulence of the past few years which had restricted corporate funding.