Direct marketing, variable print and mail processing specialist LaserCom, a division of Bytes Technology Group, has been rated as a Level 2 (AAA) Contributor and Value-Adding Supplier according to the BB-BEE Codes of Good Practice by accredited verification agency Empowerdex. This is the second year running that the company has achieved the rating.

In 2009, the rating was awarded to LaserCom after a surge in compliance with the DTI's Codes of Good Practice, and the company moved from an overall score of 68,6% to 91,02%. The latest rating gives LaserCom an overall score of 96,86%, an increase of 5,8%.
"BEE is not about just about compliance,” says Gene Pillay, the manager tasked with coordinating LaserCom’s BBBEE efforts. “It’s about enlightened business practices and a commitment to making a difference in the broader community in which we operate.”
Pillay highlights the importance of the input received from people across the company, right up to board level. “We approached each of the codes as a project, the overall objective being to change the dimension in which we operate.”
He also notes that LaserCom’s compliance drive is driven by Transformation Vision 2012, parent company Altron Group’s strategy for black economic transformation. “The group recognises that transformation is not only a moral imperative but that it is also critical to the stability and future prosperity of the South African economy.”
The score entitles LaserCom clients to claim 156,25% of the value spent with the company as BEE procurement due to the value-add component. “This is an excellent incentive for our customers as none of our competitors has a comparable BBBEE rating, so this gives us a significant competitive advantage over them.”
In the last 12 months, LaserCom achieved the following:
* It scored 22,83 points out of a possible 20 for ownership. This is because Bytes Technology Group, which is 27% owned by broad-based empowerment group Kagiso, received the additional points above 20 as a result of various bonus points awarded to Kagiso.
* It maintained its training and skills development, scoring the maximum 15 points.
* It enhanced employment equity to 13,35 out of a potential 15 points. Of its 354 employees, 85% are previously disadvantaged individuals.
* It scored 19,45 out of a possible 20 points for preferential procurement. The company even assists its own suppliers to improve their ratings. It scored a maximum 15 points for enterprise development, and a maximum five for socio-economic development.
Among the small businesses which benefited from LaserCom’s enterprise development drive are LaserCom’s catering company which is owned and operated by a black woman, and its mail returns tracking system, which is owned and operated by a coloured woman.
Socio-economic development initiatives include a R1-million grant over three years to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, as well as grants to the Starfish Foundation (Mr Price Youth Foundation), Project O (Mr Price Youth Foundation), and Scatterlings, an early childhood education organisation.
“The endorsement from Empowerdex affirms LaserCom’s holistic approach to transformation as indicated by each of the individual scores we achieved,” says Pillay.