In a move to support local manufacturing and small enterprises, Dis-Chem Pharmacies has partnered with corporate clothing group Worksgroup to outsource the production of its staff uniforms via a small manufacturing incubator in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Worksgroup has established incubator groups at its Durban manufacturing plant which sees small pods manufacturing goods for Worksgroup’s customers. Dis-Chem is the first major retailer which will be supplied with thousands of items through this channel.
Rafi Bricker, Worksgroup’s managing director, says the incubators work from its Durban factory or open small businesses within surrounding communities. Worksgroup supports them by providing machinery and equipment, and constant direction and guidance ensure that high levels of quality are maintained throughout the manufacturing process.
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Long-term commitment to local clothing manufacturing
Bricker says the company’s enterprise development initiative is showing clear results in growing the pool of skilled textile workers. “We’ve realised the importance of a long-term commitment to growing local clothing manufacturing in a sustainable way. We want to rebuild this industry and use the skills we already have, while developing new ones.
"The clothing and textile sector has contracted significantly over the past two decades, shedding thousands of jobs, yet we believe there is still much potential for growth. Retaining and growing skills to improve the local supplier base is crucial to support the sector and encouraging growth,” he explains.
Saul Saltzman, executive director at Dis-Chem, says that staff uniforms are a significant contributor to staff morale. “It’s hard to find corporate clothing that meets the combined requirements of good quality items, at the right price and that our staff are proud to wear. We partnered with Worksgroup earlier this year for an initial run of winter jackets, and this has been extended to the production of 45,000 masks and our full summer uniform.”
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Saltzman adds that Dis-Chem is pleased that it has sourced locally-produced corporate wear rather than relying on imported goods. “Apart from quality and price, the key factor that drew us to Worksgroup is its focus on enterprise development. Coupled with this is an increasing drive to support Made in South Africa goods which ties into our priority of actively supporting local business where possible.
"It’s important to us from a corporate citizenship perspective that we can contribute to clothing and textile production and in doing, play a role in contributing to the development of the Worksgroup incubators.”