20 of 2017

Newsletter No.20    02 June 2017

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Gelvenor & DuPont Keep K9’s Safe in the Line of Duty.

Police dogs are critical to numerous operations including narcotics and explosive detection, tracking and the apprehension of criminals. Considering the important role that these dogs play, the increasing need for trained K9 Officers and the life threatening situations these dogs are often put in, it has become an absolute necessity to protect these valuable and highly trained members of our police force.

The need for protective measures to assist with keeping the K9 Officers safe on duty was identified some time ago by DuPont and Gelvenor Textiles. In 2006 DuPont and Gelvenor combined their market knowledge and expertise to produce a tactical solution to protect K9 Officers from various threats in the field. Gelvenor wove the aramid fabric and DuPont oversaw the manufacture of the canine vests, developing larger vests for big breeds such as Rottweilers and German Shepherds, and smaller vests for medium breeds like the Malinois.

“Gelvenor believes strongly in developing local value chain projects, and cooperation with suppliers is very important,” explained Gelvenor CEO Dicky Coetzee. “For this reason we partnered with DuPont to promote Gelvenor and the Kevlar brand.”

Last week, 50 Canine Bullet Resistant vests were handed over by the Gelvenor CEO and DuPont Segment Leader for Kevlar Life Protection Sub-Saharan Africa, Allen Chimhandamba, to the Shongweni K9 Unit, where they will be utilised and distributed to other Units in the Durban area.

“It is important for companies to be involved with social responsibility projects within their communities. Gelvenor has tried to select projects which allow us to use our products and expertise to provide solutions for local community needs which we have identified,” said Coetzee.

DuPont Segment Leader for Kevlar Life Protection Sub-Saharan Africa, Allen Chimhandamba, K9 Oscar and Dicky Coetzee (Gelvenor Chief Executive)

DuPont shares Gelvenor’s sentiments as Allen Chimhandamba stated, “This opportunity came to give back to the community. Sustainability is at the core of what DuPont do, with the opportunity to grow the Kevlar brand within local communities. We appreciate Gelvenor’s assistance with this initiative.”

It was a challenge to get the vests into the field. Once they were manufactured (each vest costing approximately R5000.00) and ready for distribution, various supply complications resulted in the vests being placed into storage.

The discussion to supply the vests into the K9 Units was reopened by Gelvenor in 2015.

“The Shongweni K9 Unit has a very high success rate when it comes to fighting serious crime over a large territory, and we wanted to ensure that our local K9 Officers are afforded the same protection as their human colleagues,” Coetzee explained when asked why Gelvenor had selected the Shongweni K9 Unit as their preferred beneficiary.

Earlier this year, Debbie Smith, a civilian who volunteers at the K9 Unit in Shongweni, assisted with arranging a demonstration which consisted of placing one of the Canine Bullet Resistant Vests onto a K9 officer at the facility. Due to the K9 reacting favourably to the vest, the Unit was able to commit to accepting the 50 vests originally intended to go into circulation.

“Thanks to Gelvenor and DuPont for this generous donation,” says Smith. “This will go a long way to protect the dogs in combatting crime and in turn also protect the handlers and the public.”

Volunteer at the K9 Unit, Debbie Smith, Dicky Coetzee (Gelvenor Chief Executive), K9 Oscar, Allen Chimhandamba(DuPont Segment Leader for Kevlar Life Protection Sub-Saharan Africa) and Colin Buckthorp (Warrant Officer)

Despite the lengthy process, Gelvenor never lost hope that the innovative Canine Bullet Resistant Vests would eventually go into service and protect the loyal K9s that put their lives at risk to keep the public safe.

SAPS Shongweni K9 Unit Warrant Officer Colin Buckthorp was pleased with the vests. He said, “Thank you to Gelvenor and DuPont for their generous donation. It is greatly appreciated and is a positive step towards increasing the safety of our K9 Officers in the line of duty.”

Gelvenor is elated with the outcome of the initiative and would like to thank DuPont, the K9 Shongweni Unit, Debbie Smith and Lesley Ridgeway from the Dog Food Dude store for their involvement in contributing to the safety of the SAPS K9 Officers.

Meet the Afro-centric kidswear brand uplifting PE communities

Myang is an all-woman company, which provides employment and upliftment opportunities for several women in the poverty-stricken communities of Port Elizabeth. Producing shoes and fashion items with a strong African sense, it has made headway with its Afro-centric products for kids aged birth to six years.

Founded some five years ago by designer Sarah Massy-Hicks, the company started moving up the scale from its beginnings with the arrival of Margi Sheard, a well-known figure in the creative industries.

“From our first steps, we had a core premise that we could combine great fashion and empowerment in a uniquely African product,” says Sheard. “We have fans and developing markets across the continent, who love our Shweshwe fabrics and fashion-forward designs.”

Myang started producing mainly tiny shoes but has developed the range to include accessories, toys and the like. A new clothing range will be launched for summer 2017.

“There are devotees of the brand in several African countries including Uganda, where we are exploring using some of their local fabric designs in our products.” The company has resisted the temptation to manufacture in the East to cut costs. It has eight full-time women in their design and manufacturing studio.

“We soon realised, however, that part of the challenge for our women is that they have young families that need them at home, so we provide training, mentoring and material that enable additional dozens of women to earn a living – without compromising their duties as a mother and often a breadwinner.

“European and American clients are supportive of our ‘ethically-sourced’ products and find the designs appealing. Our main challenges are logistics and the cost of delivery but we are making headway,” concludes Sheard.

The company now says it’s interested in hearing from African countries about distribution opportunities, as well as textile designers whose products suit the gorgeous fashion products

TFG EXPANSION: MAJOR BOOST FOR SA CLOTHING MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

TFG, SA’s leading retail investor in local textile and clothing production, yesterday officially opened its newly expanded and revamped Prestige Clothing factory in Caledon.

The company’s local supply chain division comprises of TFG Design and TFG Manufacturing. Prestige Clothing Maitland and Prestige Clothing Caledon are two wholly-owned apparel manufacturers which form part of this structure.

The move represents a vote of confidence in, and a substantial investment for the local manufacturing industry.

Graham Choice, Head of Design, TFG Manufacturing and Prestige Clothing, says the company, South African pioneers of Quick Response and fast fashion, is totally committed to continually expanding and growing its lead position as the top producer of in-demand apparel in South Africa.

“TFG’s Prestige Clothing is the leader in quick response manufacturing, and this latest investment in our manufacturing capacity means that we’ll be able to respond even faster, and in greater volumes, to our customers’ needs,” he says.

Choice says this recent R75 million investment, saw the construction of a brand new building as well as the refurbishment of the existing factory, including the re-tooling of the entire new facility. In addition, the establishment of a highly effective training school has ensured that more than 300 previously unemployed women have acquired the skills and a national qualification from the department of higher education in apparel manufacturing. This has seen employee numbers grow from only 8 in 2008 to 315 currently.

“This latest investment is not only good for business, as it enables TFG to boost our speed-to-market response and capacity, but also for continued job creation specifically in a rural area and the economy as a whole,” notes Choice.

The combined size of the new factory is now 4000m ² up from 900 m², with one third of energy needs being provided by solar energy. Additionally, the upgrade invested heavily in employee wellbeing on site with a range of benefits.

Choice says TFGs investment into manufacturing over the past five years since the purchase of Prestige in 2012, means that the company has:

  • Reduced assembly time from an industry average of 15 days to 4 days
  • Introduced multi-skilling ensuring employee retention
  • Increased versatility, capability and product range
  • Achieved substantial growth of 30% because of efficiency gains and the ability to maintain product cost below inflation
  • Increased output at a similar cost by 25% through increased efficiencies
  • Been able to keep manufacturing costs similar to those charged in 2010.

“TFG already produces 6 million garments annually, and our investment strategy has enabled us to ensure future scalability and growth. Our layouts, technology, processes and systems are independently recognised as matching and often beating global best practice,” says Choice.

He says the company’s focus is on continuing to develop its local manufacturing capability, and upgrading skills and machinery, to continue giving TFG a substantial competitive advantage locally and globally.

“Additionally, by working effectively with our various stakeholders, including national employer bodies, trade unions, government ministries, higher education and SARS, we are in a strong position to continue contributing to the lives of many South Africans, growing employment and skills development and enhancing our supply chain, ensuring the continued competitive advantage of our retailers,” he says.

Did you know….

Spin Street Cape Town, so close to our political epicentre, actually derived its name from a failed experiment in silk-spinning set up on this spot by Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel 300 years ago

Bradshaw’s Mill. Situated on the Bathurst river this wool-mill, the first in the Eastern Cape, was erected by the British Settler Samuel BRADSHAW in 1825. For ten years blankets and kersey cloth were manufactured until it was burnt down in 1835 during the Sixth Frontier War. After reconstruction in 1836 it was used as a grain-mill till the end of the last century when it fell into disuse. The building which is a milestone in the South African wool industry was bought in 1964 by the Simon van der Stel Foundation which restored it.

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