In the spirit of transformation

Posted on 23 July 2019

By identifying small local companies to work with, Mediclinic empowers quality suppliers and fosters a culture of transformation.

Transformation is more than just another buzzword at Mediclinic. “At Mediclinic we know we have an obligation to the community,” says Andrew Boden, Related Business Executive: Mediclinic Southern Africa. “In the past few years we have seen some significant success in transforming the company, and we are working hard to transform even further.”

As part of its comprehensive transformation strategy, Mediclinic places great value in the area of enterprise and supplier development. As Boden explains, Mediclinic takes a proactive approach in retaining a wide range of suppliers to facilitate services all across the business – services that include everything from warehousing and distribution to security, incident management technology and even imported linen.

“How we source these suppliers, and how we help them grow and develop their businesses, is a big focus for us,” Boden says. “We want to go further than simply comply with the B-BBEE Codes. We want to adhere to the spirit of those guidelines: to create jobs and uplift people from the ground up.”

New Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice were introduced in SA in 2014 – a set of incentives and guidelines designed to foster a culture of comprehensive economic transformation within the local corporate sector. These new guidelines encourage large businesses to prioritise a transformation strategy and use that to empower smaller companies.

“When we source new suppliers, we look for qualifying enterprises that need investment,” says Boden. “So many of these small-scale businesses have been let down, or perhaps recognised for their potential or innovations, but not supported in a meaningful, practical way. To be a good corporate citizen in SA, we must support the emergence of small, black-owned businesses, and develop them wherever we can.”

Just three years ago, Mediclinic Southern Africa was categorised as non-B-BBEE compliant. Today, the healthcare group is listed as a Level 4 Contributor, which positions the business at 100% B-BBEE recognition level.

Boden says this rapid growth has been challenging, but rewarding. “We made significant progress because all legs of the scorecard have worked hard to make a range of advances. This has been a broad team effort under the guidance of Mediclinic’s Transformation Committee.”

Enterprise and supplier development has a knock-on effect, says Boden: developing quality, trustworthy suppliers is crucial for the wellbeing of Mediclinic’s patients.

An example of this effect is ituAssist. In 2016, the company approached Boden and his team with a view to purchasing the software development company Reg Alert, which would allow ituAssist to market and deliver “Uber-like” mobile assistance services. Mediclinic provided support in the form of interest-free loans, while ER24 accommodated ituAssist at their premises for about a year, to establish a client base.

Now, ituAssist is fully integrated into the Mediclinic and ER24 supply chain. By graduating this enterprise into a trusted supplier, Mediclinic Southern Africa was able to claim a bonus point on the Enterprise and Supplier Development Scorecard B-BBEE scorecard – but more importantly, Boden says, “we were able to create jobs, and help develop and secure valuable, cutting-edge mobile assistance technology”.

Globescope Security Solutions is another supplier reaping the rewards of Mediclinic’s transformation strategy. Boden and his team were able to alleviate some of Globescope’s prohibitive cash flow concerns in the form of an interest-free, R1-million loan. This financial injection was used to service other, existing orders and installations, which had been placed on hold, to upgrade computer systems and software, and to invest in training toolkits for technicians. The result: Globescope’s turnover has increased by 30% in just three months.

And that’s not all: Mediclinic is also assisting with Globescope’s expansion into Johannesburg, allocating rent-free office space and dedicating new security projects to the 100% black woman-owned company, allowing the small enterprise to grow in stature.

“Globescope has been recognised by various outlets as an entrepreneurial success, but until now they haven’t had the support they need. We want to help them from the ground up – to market them to our associates, and to help them expand,” says Boden. “In a case like this, the B-BBEE points we accrue for graduating a business into our supply chain are not important. What is key is that we are creating jobs, and developing a small company into a bigger one.”

Published in Business