JOHANNESBURG - Since he has been enrolled on the Accenture Enterprise Supplier Development Programme (ESDP) in February 2019, a business idea of Arthur Mahlangu, Founder of Quality House (QH) Consulting, has come to life through a cutting-edge technology platform that serves a dual purpose—to enable small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth and to develop an assessment tool of SME’s supply chain readiness for corporates compliant supply chain for corporates. The platform will soon be ready to launch, as it is currently being piloted with key partners in three industries where it is undergoing minimum viable product (MVP) testing.
Previously, Mahlangu worked as a food technologist and quality manager in the FMCG space for six years, where he was responsible for auditing of SME suppliers. During this time, he noticed that there is a multitude of SMEs who do not follow best business practices and are not compliant with all the relevant legislation. “I then realised that there is a need for a tool to assist SMEs with these issues and the rest, as they say, is history,” he explains.
With the help of the Accenture team, Mahlangu has been able to bring his idea to fruition in record time, through an advanced technology platform that solves a number of business issues. It is for example widely documented that about 30 percent of SMEs fail in their first two years of their existence, and 50 percent of them, within the first five years. The QH Consulting platform acts as a diagnostic tool to identify the gaps in a business and produces a plan for corrective action. A major differentiator of this platform is the fact that it eliminates the need for lengthy face-to-face consultations and makes it possible for an SME to have a solid plan of action, within less than an hour from registration. Another advantage of the platform is that it creates a space for collaboration with other vetted SMEs to obtain the skills or infrastructure that are lacking in one’s own business.
Whilst SME development is the primary driver of the platform, a secondary spin-off is that it also provides an enterprise development solution for corporates. According to the revised Preferential Procurement Regulations 2017, organs of state may elect to apply so-called pre-qualification criteria that promotes use of tenderers that commit to sub-contracting at least 30 percent of the Rand value of the contract to exempted micro enterprises (EMEs) or qualifying small enterprises (QSEs) with at least 51 percent black ownership. On the one hand, use of the QH Consulting technology platform enables corporates to gain quick access to such compliant SMEs who they can co-opt for tendering purposes. On the other hand, corporates can use the platform to manage and develop the beneficiaries who form part of their own enterprise development programmes.
QH Consulting is one of a group of 19 SMEs that Accenture took on board for the ESDP in February 2019, and who will form part of the programme for 24 months, until 2021. Since its pilot run in 2015 with seven SMEs, the Accenture ESDP has successfully graduated 18 businesses. Six of the seven businesses from the pilot programme are still suppliers of Accenture with three of them now in their top spend category. In 2018, 11 companies who were part of the 2016 intake, graduated from the programme. Of the companies that have participated in the programme over the past two years, all are still operational and all have seen significant growth in their businesses.
Zandile Njamela, Accenture Global SI&S and ESDP Lead shares some statistics: “The 2016 – 2018 ESDP participants have achieved 63 percent growth in combined revenue with a total combined revenue of R127,851,750, as well as a 40 percent increase in clients, with 50+ clients across various industries now being serviced by them. They have also experienced a 55 percent increase in employment and employ a combined total of 271 people.”
“We believe that these SMEs’ achievements are testimony to the fact that Accenture stands for true transformation beyond just ticking the compliance boxes. We also believe that this is one of the main contributors to Accenture maintaining its Level 1 B-BBEE status in FY2019, with a 135 percent score for our procurement level, and top scores in black ownership, skills development, social investment, enterprise development and preferential procurement.”
This accomplishment occurred right on the heels of another milestone, as Accenture officially kicked off celebrations for adding 50 years of value to South African businesses. “As we gear up for another half a century, we are committed to ensure that unlocking abundance for all the people of South Africa remains a key cornerstone of our business strategy,” concludes Njamela.
More about the Accenture ESDP
As a global organisation, Accenture believe that it has a responsibility to engage proactively with the businesses in the communities in which it works. This is done through inclusive procurement practices and its ESDP which creates a more inclusive and empowered marketplace. It supports SME participants over a two-year period to grow their businesses through a blended, six-pillar approach, leveraging Accenture’s capabilities, resources and talent to provide tailored support for each SME. These six pillars are: training, business development support, access to market, mentoring, early payments and collaboration for high performance. More information on the Accenture ESDP can be found here.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions—underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network. Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 492,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
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