Dunnottar-based train manufacturer Gibela has hosted a Local Business Orientation Day, the primary objective of which was to give entrepreneurs in communities closest to the company’s factory insights into how it operates and what opportunities exist to work together.
More than 350 invited guests turned out for event, which took the form of a mini expo at Gibela’s on-site training centre.
The company’s sourcing team, supported by colleagues from several other disciplines, were at booths to share information on Gibela’s direct and indirect sourcing functions, as well as its economic development and supplier development initiatives.
There was also an opportunity to see – up close and in detail – the high-tech X’Trapolis Mega commuter train, 580 of which will be built by Gibela for the Passenger Rail Authority of South Africa (PRASA) at its Dunnottar premises over the next 10 years.
Reflecting on the day, Gibela’s Economic Development Director, Dr Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani, said: “It was valuable certainly, for ‘local-local’ potential suppliers of goods and services to us to understand what we do and some of the complexities involved.
“However, this was also an invaluable opportunity for us to get greater insights into what capacity there is for business on our doorstep to supply some of our need, and to benefit from the development initiatives we have in place.”
A simple, six-step facilitated plan to both ease and expedite absorption of ‘local-local’ suppliers into Gibela supply chain had been unveiled at the Local Business Orientation Day, Mcono-Liwani said. In response, several requests for information (RFIs) – the first step in the six-step process – had been received from such suppliers, assessment of which by Gibela’s supplier team was already under way.
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Gibela was established as a consortium to replace South Africa's outdated rolling stock and will deliver 600 state-of-the art passenger trains into the South African rail network over the next 10 years. Fully empowered, Gibela is conscious of its role as a catalyst for economic development and the creation of new skills through its majority shareholder, Alstom. In a contract signed in 2013, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) assigned Gibela the task of replacing its rolling stock with new trains.
Gibela is headquartered in Dunnottar, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Through the rolling stock project, Gibela will generate 1 500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs through the supply chain over a 10-year period. Thousands of people – engineers, artisans, technicians, train drivers and technologists – will benefit from training and upskilling.
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