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39% of businesses increased productivity with remote work during covid restrictions

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New report by The Economist Intelligence Unit into productivity and remote work

Two-thirds of business executives believe that remote work will continue in some form beyond the pandemic, despite a clear divergence in views over employee productivity when working from home, according to a new report, Reshaping Productivity, by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

While 39 per cent of survey respondents witnessed an increase in productivity in their organisations since the pandemic forced the adoption of remote work practices, 32.6 per cent reported a decline in productivity, and the remaining 28.5 per cent saw no change.

The global survey of more than 360 business executives was conducted in May 2021 by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Kyocera Document Solutions to investigate the implications of remote work on organisations, employees and productivity. In-depth interviews were also conducted with experts in the field from companies such as Google, Mercer and the Human Capital Leadership Institute.

The study found a strong positive correlation between increased productivity and employees’ support for the uptake of digital tools, such as collaboration tools, digital workflow solutions and online project management applications.

“This supports what we’ve been seeing amongst our own clients managing the effects of the pandemic on their workplaces,” said Gareth Fletcher, Corporate Sales Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa. Case studies of Kyocera clients and interviews with senior leadership within the global company provide further insight into the report results and the role of digital solutions in driving business growth.

“Even before the spread of covid-19, companies had been trying to create more flexible working styles,” said Hironori Ando, the president of Kyocera Document Solutions.

“Those that have invested heavily in the right tools to enable their employees to work from home are definitely benefiting in terms of productivity gains, business continuity and resilience, and innovation in the current environment,” added Fletcher.

In fact, one in five executives who witnessed a decrease in productivity in the study said that it was because they hadn’t fully implemented the remote working capabilities needed for their staff to work from home effectively.

The report concludes that it is the companies that have adapted quickly and built their capacity for flexibility throughout the pandemic who will benefit most in the future workplace, whatever it looks like.

“Our view is that the future of work is hybrid, and this report goes a long way to providing businesses with actionable insights to help them make a successful transition to a permanent remote or hybrid work model set-up,” concluded Fletcher. Discover more insights into remote work productivity and download the full report by visiting the Reshaping Productivity ebook download page.

Supply Chain

Greening your Supply Chain

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Businesses of all sizes, both new and old, are increasingly adopting more sustainable practices in response to the worldwide environmental issue.

Greener methods decrease waste, improve the environment, and satisfy environmentally concerned clients. It can also increase efficiency and lower operational expenses, resulting in more earnings.

Reduced environmental impact, reduced costs

According to the World Trade Organization, global product and commercial services trade have expanded by around 7% per year over the previous 30 years. This entails that businesses are utilising more energy, packaging materials, and warehouse space year after year.

Fortunately, many organisations are implementing strategies to reduce emissions and waste throughout their supply chains. This not only improves the environment, but it may also save operational expenses. Optimising transportation routes, for example, saves CO2 emissions and fuel costs. Packaging optimization minimises waste and packing material costs.

All while these practices are effective, they stem from informed decision-making. How would you know where there is extra logistical expenditure if you are lacking the data to understand where you’re overspending?

Public Image considerations

Adopting green supply chain efforts may improve your public image, which is vital given current consumers’ high rise in environmental awareness.

The growing pressure to hold various governments and companies responsible cannot be overlooked. Customers who care about the environment want businesses to respond to the need to manage our planet’s finite resources responsibly and sustainably.

Where to start?

To green your supply chain, consider all parts of your organisation. Everything from production and storage to shipping and waste disposal is evaluated with the objective of selecting goods, services, and procedures with the least environmental effect.

Understanding your company’s spending, supply chain, and consumption trends is critical for enhancing sustainability.

Below are a few ideas for reducing your environmental footprint, cutting expenses, and increasing efficiency:

  • Sourcing locally = Reduce waste, CO2 emissions, and fuel expenses by obtaining supplies locally.
  • Down-size warehousing = Reduce shipping distances and expenses by employing smaller regional warehouses.
  • Ship materials directly to the point of use = Ship raw materials for manufacturing directly to the site of use to save gasoline and perhaps minimise the requirement for protective packaging.
  • Conserve energy = by employing low-voltage lighting and motion sensors or timers on lighting systems in your warehouse.
  • Go electric = Reduce your paper use by switching to electronic technologies.
  • Consolidate shipments = Shipments should be aligned and consolidated to decrease carbon emissions and perhaps reduce labour and fuel expenses.

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Supply Chain

RFA calls for 5l water donations and community drop-off points

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The Road Freight Association (RFA) is calling on its members and all industry stakeholders to support the call to provide desperately needed water and other essentials to communities devastated by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal. “Whether you are a large trucking operator or operate bakkies, vans, motorcycles – or someone who would simply like to support our ‘Truckers Making a Difference’ campaign – you too can help those who have been devastated by the floods,” says Gavin Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of the Road Freight Association.

“There are a number of ways in which people and organisations can assist our ‘Truckers Making a Difference’ campaign,” explains Kelly. “Everyone can make a donation – even a 5-litre bottle of water will bring relief to those in need. Although food, blankets and shelter are also needed, water is the overwhelming need for communities right now. KwaZulu Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala indicated earlier today that it could take months to repair flood damage to the Tongaat Water Works – the RFA would like to do what we can to make even a small difference in making the lives of flood victims easier.” 

For those wishing to donate water or other essential items for flood victims, there are two drop-off points: Airport Lodge Guest House, 6-273 Koppie Ave, Kempton Park, 1619, and 309 Malcolm Str, Garsfontein, Pretoria.

More drop off points will be announced on rfa.co.za and @RFA on Facebook as they become available

The Association is also calling on its members – and any other stakeholder – who have depots and storage facilities, to open these facilities as community drop-off points.

The communities of Tongaat, Umdloti and The Bluff have appealed for urgent assistance and have been targeted as the initial priority areas.

Organisations and individuals wanting to make donations or facilities available to “Truckers Making a Difference” can contact Charlene on [email protected] or call 074 490 0974.

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Supply Chain

Durban port working to clear backlog of thousands of containers

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Durban port will, within days, clear the backlog of thousands of containers that came to a grinding halt during the disastrous floods that lashed KwaZulu-Natal’s road, rail and port infrastructure last week.

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan assured businesses and local manufacturers during a joint media briefing with Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, at the city’s port on Tuesday afternoon that the backlog of between 8000 and 9000 containers would be cleared within the next six days. He said the port had moved from the emergency phase of the recovery process and was now “fully operational”.

Gordhan attended a meeting with Transnet, Eskom and eThekwini Municipality officials at the port where he was briefed on the status of its business recovery plan.

He said between 40 and 60 ships had been serviced – loaded and offloaded – in the port since Saturday (16 April) after a 72-hour clean-up operation to remove debris, including logs and appliances such as fridges that had washed into the port. Three rivers and at least 52 canals run into the port’s waters.

“That continues to improve with each day. Durban harbour is functional – ships bringing in imports are being serviced and ships taking out exports, food and fruit are being serviced,” he said.

“As a result of the impact on Bayhead Road, we had a situation where some 8000 to 9000 containers had accumulated because trucks could not reach the harbour area. Within the next six to eight days those containers will be cleared,” Gordhan said.

“The next work that is being done by the port authority is to ensure that the port remains in a state that it can be used. A dredger that was on its way to Cape Town is now on its way to Durban so it can clear the harbour.”

He said reinforcements had been placed in Bayhead Road which had been impacted by a 60m “crater”. This key port road was now accepting some truck and vehicle traffic, although a temporary route through the Bluff to Island View was also still in use, he said.

Gordhan estimated that extensive damage to Transnet’s rail network to Cato Ridge, which incurred the worst damage, and along the North and South Coast lines, would take from two to eight weeks to repair, depending on the severity of the damage to specific sections of track. He said the Transnet fuel line that transported fuel inland had been briefly impacted due to an electricity outage, however, it was operational within 24 hours and was currently working as normal.

“As far as fuel and KZN is concerned, there is no risk of fuel shortages and the pipeline is functioning as well,” he said.

Patel added that the government would be meeting with business leaders in the province to discuss the economic recovery plan. Businesses are concerned about interruptions to logistics services, the impact on their supply chain and manufacturing processes, and the physical damages caused to infrastructure which also impacts operations.

“The physical damage caused makes it difficult to continue operations for at least a period. eThekwini’s largest industrial plant, Toyota, has been severely affected in terms of the water damage caused and in terms of staff because of disruptions to transport systems, damage to homes, and loss of life.”

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