INTEGRATED food and beverage business Famous Brands says it anticipates stiff competition for its newly launched black economic empowerment owner-driver initiative - aimed at developing entrepreneurs.
Famous Brands currently owns 105 vehicles. The intention is to convert 50percent of the fleet to owner-drivers within the next three years.
Key to its success would be optimising fleet utilisation and productivity, resulting in enhanced earnings' potential for the drivers, and improved customer service, the group said.
Tony Stephens, managing executive of Famous Brands' Supply Chain, said: "A strong response is anticipated. The selection process will determine the success of one candidate over another, but critical to that selection will be the flair for entrepreneurship shown by candidates."
The programme will focus on developing a new skills' set for the owner-drivers, including business skills, financial competence, time management, employee training and understanding of industrial relations.
The owner-drivers are selected from its existing employees and undergo a stringent interview process.
"They must meet key prerequisites in terms of health and ITC credit rating and display a strong record of attendance, discipline, customer service and responsibility," the group said.
"Among the criteria are: length of service, performance record, extensive psychometric testing aimed at ascertaining aptitude and attitude, particularly related to owning a business," Stephens said.
The strategic intent is to spread this programme fairly evenly across the country, the group said.
Stephens said that a crucial supply chain strategy was to grow critical mass by reclaiming business, which was previously outsourced.
"Significant investment has been made in upgrading our fleet and facilities in KwaZulu-Natal to accommodate greater volumes and a broader range of multi-temperature products. As a result, we have selected this region to pilot our owner-driver programme."
The KZN pilot version of the programme will be rolled out to the Eastern Cape by the end of the year, followed by the Western Cape and Free State early next year, with Gauteng to follow, Famous Brands said.
Two owner-driver candidates are already in training and will become owner-drivers on July 1. - I-Net Bridge