The lessons learnt locally and presented at last year’s APICS conference have struck a chord with industry experts, so much so that SAPICS director Colin Seftel has been invited to share his views and insights in Sydney, Australia, between 25 and 26 May at the bi-annual SMART Conference.

Seftel, who has more than 20 years experience in the industry, presented his paper, “Is 'Best Practice' really best for you?”, to delegates attending the APICS convention in Las Vegas and received strong, favourable reviews.
The paper details lessons that Seftel has learnt from experience, and includes examples that focus on topics such as the initial enterprise resource planning implementation, the continuous adoption of lean principles over time, concurrent engineering, and other techniques.
Seftel hopes that delegates will evaluate international best practices further before implementing them internally within their own organisations.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the industry, both locally and internationally, is the lack of education on all levels of management. So many companies are struggling to survive just because they don't know any better,” explains Seftel.
“Simply adopting international best practice policies may not necessarily add value to the organisation, especially if there is a lack of education on the most fundamental of levels.”
He notes that South Africa is not unique in the challenges facing its supply chain and operations industries, but that corresponding scenarios can be seen around the world, especially in developing countries.
“Globally, many developing countries have similar challenges to ours. Furthermore, Europe and America are emerging from a heavy recession with less self-sufficiency in manufactured consumer goods, which is making their supply chains longer, less manageable and more risky,” adds Seftel.
In order to address some of the challenges, Seftel suggests that companies should invest in their human capital, then leverage this knowledge to transform their businesses.
“In South Africa we are fortunate to have massive subsidies available from the Skills Development programme, yet many companies don't make full use of it. SAPICS has always emphasised the importance of quality education in our sector, and the lack thereof is still a huge barrier to development,” he continues.
With the SMART conference taking place in May, Seftel has already set his goals for the event.
“As well as giving what I hope to be a successful presentation, I'll be attending as many of the sessions as possible, networking with Australian Supply Chain professionals and representing SAPICS at the conference,” he concludes.
The internationally-acclaimed 33rd Annual SAPICS conference will be taking place at Sun City from 26 to 28 June 2011.