In the same month that SONA and the Budget Speech brought a mixture of positivity and apprehension to South Africans, a positive note was struck with the conclusion of the 2nd Annual Smart Procurement World Conference and Enterprise & Supplier Development (ESD) Expo in Bloemfontein.
The two-day conference, aligned workshops, and one-day expo attracted an enthusiastic audience. Endorsed by the Free State Department of Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) and the Free State Provincial Treasury, the event is a welcome addition to the Free State business calendar.
“We welcomed 160 delegates to the conference, which highlighted a number of pressing issues in the supply chain and procurement sector. Judging by the feedback from delegates, the subject matter was highly relevant and of great practical use,” said Debbie Tagg, COO of Smart Procurement (the organisers of the event).
“I attended the Contract Management Workshop, which was amazing because it will help me identify things that will hinder us from achieving our goals and projects as a department,” said Puseletso Muwape Chief Risk Officer, Xhariep District Municipality. “The workshops and two conference days were very informative and interactive, with great presentations shared and a superb selection of speakers,” said Mpho Tshilo, Procurement Specialist, Free State Provincial Treasury. “The event was very well organised, the speakers were exceptional. They covered a variety of topics, especially with respect to the national and provincial government,” said Joseph Senakgomo, Deputy Director, Northern Cape Department of Education.
The panel discussion, which focused on ‘Aiming for true value: Rands vs Sense’, discussed how Government can commit to creating more value for SMMEs through the procurement process. In addition, the Free State Treasury emphasised the importance of operational excellence, through strong analytics and governance. The participants also discussed how procurement processes could incorporate the cost of development in order to plug in small business to mainstream supply chains in order to make them more competitive.
The case study – ‘Transforming SCM to become a service delivery enabler’ – highlighted the key skills which are lacking from top supply chain appointments and looked at models on how to upskill supply chain professionals at local government level. The international case study – ‘Key features of the Swiss Public Procurement System’ – shared ideas on how to make quality management a key component of the procurement process in order to ensure value for money.
Each of the speakers was invested in assisting with the upliftment of local SMMEs, while at the same time streamlining and professionalising the supply chain and procurement processes.
Tshepo Mabilo, Chief Director: Asset and Liability Management, Free State Provincial Treasury, believes that the information shared was critical to the Free State Provincial Treasury’s mandate, in particular issues surrounding irregular expenditure. He also highlighted the importance of the Enterprise and Supplier Development Expo. “As a department we need to understand the challenges that SMMEs face in order for us to be able to assist and enforce procurement.”
“Topics covered in the plenary sessions are empowering to our emerging enterprises and the conference workshops provided for SCM practitioners allows them to implement new ways of doing things in their departments. The feedback we have received has been really positive,” said Dr. M Nokwequ, HOD of DESTEA.
For more information on the upcoming series of Smart Procurement World events for 2020, please visit the website at: www.smartprocurementworld.com