Kraft Foods SA on Monday, 28 March 2011, said it had invested R160 million in a pilot skills programme in its sub-Saharan African operations as it positioned itself to double its revenue in five years in an increasingly competitive fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market.
Kraft Foods SA is part of US-listed Kraft Foods.
The programme has already been initiated at its Cadbury Botswana sugar-free gum manufacturing plant in Gabarone, which has since increased its competency level from 9% to 52% over a period of nine months, and increased output on the existing technology platform by 40%.
Johan van Zyl, manufacturing director for the Kraft Foods sub-Saharan African region, told journalists on Monday that employee competency and capability must complement modernised infrastructure.
"We're marrying the hardware and software - that is, the physical assets with the people and skills - to create a sustainable operation. This has proved that there is a strong correlation between competence and capability development and operational performance," said Van Zyl.
The group's sub-Saharan African region comprises southern Africa, central-east Africa and west Africa - across which nine wholly-owned operations are located.
The "people development" concept at Cadbury Botswana utilises internal assessors to evaluate competence against job standards through formally defined job outputs, roles and responsibilities, as well as learning aids and objectives.
"It's a move from acquired competence to applied competence," added Van Zyl.
The training programme has brought about a 40% increase in plant output through a 25% improvement in productivity and a 30% reduction in cost.
The Botswana model, which typifies the growth potential that Kraft Foods projects in the sub-Saharan network of operations, is to be rolled out at other plants where significant investment is being made in transformation programmes.
They include the company's Port Elizabeth chocolate manufacturing plant, the site of a R750 million investment in capacity and capability technology, and Cadbury Nigeria, where a new Bournvita - a fortified chocolate beverage food drink - manufacturing facility is being built at a cost of R350 million at Ikeja, near Lagos.
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