South Africa’s export industry is crucial to the economic growth of the country. It can create jobs, generate foreign exchange, attract foreign direct investment, encourage the development of new infrastructure and stimulate the development of the SME sector.
Over recent years we have seen many positive growth points in the industry: the extension of special tariff-preferential treatment to South Africa, positive changes in trade relations within the African continent, increased trade with African countries, the support of the South African Government to facilitate the processes of exports and the list goes on.
In recent years, the Department of Trade and Industry has exposed a limiting factor however, in making South Africa more competitive, the lack of well-trained export managers, specifically skilled in marketing.
Export, supply chain and logistics management encompass the various elements of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient and effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, as well as sourcing and procurement, and integrating of supply and demand management within and across companies and different disciplines.
What is the common thread? Excellent supply chain and communication knowledge and skills! To date, the country has seen and experienced the lack of adequate proficiency in these critical areas.
Dr Beverley Waugh, an expert in supply chain and logistics management, concurs, “The glue that holds all these disciplines together and keeps processes moving in a smooth, organised and professional manner appears to be missing.
“The informed opinion of the industry is that managers in the field should have a wide-based knowledge of the world-of-business and be able to think across different disciplines, as export companies are increasingly confronted with challenges in the continuous process of developing and maintaining a feasible fit between organisations’ objectives, skills and resources and their changing global marketing opportunities.”
Beverley currently spearheads the widely-recognised IMM Graduate School’s export and new supply chain management programmes.
Supported by a Doctorate in Logistics Management from Rand Afrikaans University, a Certificate in Logistics Management (Rand Afrikaans University), a Masters Degree in Commerce in Transport Economics (Rand Afrikaans University), a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with Honours in Transport Economics from the University of Stellenbosch and a general Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Economics and Transport Economics from the University of Stellenbosch, Dr Waugh is a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
“I completed all, except my BCom, while still working,” she explains. “So I understand the challenges encountered by students doing distance learning. One requires extreme discipline, motivation and a strong support base. I recommend that anyone wanting to study while working chooses a reputable institution that provides content-driven programmes, supported by excellent structures which provide practical and pragmatic educational models.”
And her key achievement? “Completing qualifications with part time study required huge perseverance; I was constantly being challenged by circumstances, so for me, it was an emotional win as well. Being in the industry 30 years, I have also noticed, especially in recent years, a huge increase in the number of women studying Supply Chain Management. Women are good at coping with various challenging circumstances, and planning, organising and executing in a manner that keeps everything on track.”
The IMM Graduate School offers distance learning, complemented by a strong student support base, from online study materials to tutor support. Globally-accredited Supply Chain Management, Export Management and Business Management courses equip students and working professionals to become job ready, efficient and pragmatic in their approach.
These courses include a Marketing and Management Sciences component which provides the cement or glue that permeates the various disciplines and helps address challenges inherent in the complex processes of Export and Supply Chain Management.
The IMM Graduate School has redesigned and redrafted the Higher Certificate and the Diploma in Export Management, in support of these needs of the export industry.
The Higher Certificate and the Diploma in Export Management are designed as higher education distance learning qualifications that are suitable for students who aspire to be managers in the field of export management, or for employees who are ready to assume a managerial role in the industry.
These part-time distance education programmes allow employed students to pursue their studies while continuing to work on a full-time basis, and also seek to provide a focus which will ensure the delivery of students who are skilled in export administration, including a marketing element in support of the connection between export management and marketing.