Entering African markets
Our SPAR strategy for development places a strong focus on growing the SPAR brand in new markets like Africa, while supporting the ongoing progress of long-term partners in our already established markets. During 2014 we continued to seek global expansion opportunities for our brand. The challenges of entering into a completely new market, however, cannot be underestimated. At SPAR, we take the evaluation of both risk and opportunity very seriously and believe that solid, steady progress is the way forward.
The Republic of Angola is the latest country to partner with SPAR in 2014. The first SPAR supermarket opened in the oil rich province of Cabinda in late June and covers 2 700 m2, of which 1 600 m2 is retail selling space. The remainder of the space is dedicated to a restaurant, which enables consumers to enjoy the surroundings and experience the quality food available. The opening of the store saw a gathering of local government dignitaries such as the Governor of Cabinda, who opened the store.
An important part of our risk mitigation strategy in entering new markets involves developing local partnerships, which offer key insights on domestic activities and growth opportunities. In this new endeavour we are collaborating with Webcor, an importer of foodstuffs into Angola, who opened the store.
Our Western Cape distribution centre provides the logistical support for the supply chain, not only delivering SPAR private label products but also arranging for the importation of products from SPAR in Portugal, which gives consumers access to Portuguese goods – a great benefit of being part of the international SPAR organisation.
Looking to the future, plans are in place to open further SPAR stores with Webcor in Angola, looking in particular at Luanda, the capital city.
Changing our warehousing to be the most efficient: slow-moving and fast-moving stock
During 2014, SPAR identified an opportunity to improve efficiencies in the Gauteng region. In every distribution centre, a significant portion of the stock items carried consists of slow-moving items, from health and beauty products to groceries and general merchandise. To free up space and maximise how goods are picked, a shared business unit is planned for 2015. All the slow-moving stock will be stored in one central location, allowing for specialised handling and freeing up space for more fastmoving stock in the other distribution centres. This is an example of how we are constantly striving to find ways to drive supply chain optimisation.
Sponsoring disability awareness
For the second year running, SPAR has been the title sponsor for Wheelchair Wednesday. Held on 14 August, the initiative helps raise awareness of the real-life challenges faced by people with disabilities. This important task is accomplished by encouraging able-bodied business people to spend four hours in a wheelchair completing the various tasks that are everyday challenges for a disabled individual. The participants, who represented 40 companies, were then encouraged to give feedback on their experiences. Areas identified as being particularly challenging were insufficient parking, counters that were too high, public toilet facilities and inaccessible ATM machines.
Brian Bezuidenhout, executive director of the Association for People with Disabilities, said he was delighted by the public’s positive response. “It’s been absolutely amazing. The initiative has really helped to highlight some of the practical and social issues faced by people with disabilities.”
As part of this initiative, close to half a million rand was raised to assist people with disabilities and to date more than 250 people have received wheelchairs.
The SPAR Group and the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative
The SPAR Group entered into a relationship with WWF’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) in December 2010. The initiative is aligned to the SPAR sustainable business strategy, in which the group commits to:
|•||Driving innovation in our house brands to reduce the environmental impact of their full lifecycles|
|•||Raising awareness and improving education around sustainability issues within our own organisation, our retailers’ businesses and our own communities|
|•||Engaging and collaborating with our suppliers and retailers to ensure that their business practices are ethical and environmentally sustainable|
Since initiating the association with SASSI, SPAR has developed a sustainable seafood policy for SPAR private label seafood products.
SPAR’s commitment is to ensure that by 2016 all SPAR private label seafood products will be:
|1.||certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC); or|
|2.||certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) (or equivalent standards for farmed products); or|
|3.||categorised as Green by SASSI; or|
|4.||sourced from a fishery or farm engaged in an Improvement Project.|
Highlights on our journey towards fulfilling our commitment:
|•||Completed assessment of private label seafood range|
|•||Created internal awareness of SASSI and SPAR’s commitments through training, documentation and presentations|
|•||Created external awareness through presentations to the regional guilds|
|•||All SPAR private label products have been aligned to the commitments|
|•||SASSI linked to the SPAR supplier portal to have direct access to seafood data|
Challenges on our journey towards fulfilling our commitment:
|•||Resource capacity and focus to drive the internal programme|
|•||Ability to effectively shift mindsets to recognise the long-term value in sustainability initiatives|
|•||Ability to influence retailers to align direct supply initiatives voluntarily|
|•||Ability to fully trace and test integrity of seafood products|
Plans for the next year:
|•||SPAR distribution centres to start collecting critical sustainability information from suppliers to determine the level of risk in procurement streams|
|•||Focus on aligning retailers’ independent procurement to group policy|
Quote from Kevin O’Brien, Group Risk, Sustainability and Governance Executive:
“SPAR’s commitment to sustainable seafood procurement has probably thrown us into deeper waters than initially expected. As this initiative is perfectly aligned to our sustainable business approach over the long term, we are continuing our efforts to improve awareness, influence our retailers and support our distribution centres in achieving our SASSI aims.”
For more information, please refer to our website, www.spar.co.za.