Shawn Theunissen, Head of CSI at Growthpoint Properties and Head of Property Point.
“Companies rarely procure services based purely on a profile document; they procure from someone who they have been able to build a business relationship with.” That was the word from Shawn Theunissen, Head of CSI at Growthpoint Properties and Head of Property Point, Growthpoint’s enterprise and supplier development programme initiative, speaking during the recent Smart Procurement World Conference.
As enterprise and supplier development (ESD) involves the complex interaction between the established corporate sector, emerging businesses and government processes, Theunissen believes that successful collaboration starts with establishing mutual goals.
“Identifying shared outcomes is key,” explains Theunissen, “striving to create win-win scenarios for all parties, and asking the questions ‘what am I good at? What are they good at? How do we maximise both our strengths so that we reach the end goal to the benefit of all parties and beneficiaries?’”
Effective collaboration also involves a keen awareness of the barriers to its success, and it’s here that Theunissen suggests all stakeholders have a role to play.
At the level between the corporate sector and emerging businesses, Property Point has created a development matrix that benefits both parties. It equips SMEs with technical skills to increase capacity to compete effectively in the market, while procurement departments also benefit from the execution of best practices which match up with internal standards, outcomes and deliverables.
“Another component is the issue of perception. One we are particularly keen to correct is the perception that working with small black businesses is a high risk, even before giving them an opportunity to prove themselves,” adds Theunissen. “The solution to this comes from entrepreneurs building a relationship with decision makers. SMEs can play a role in effectively breaking down perception barriers associated with ‘risk’.”
Since its inception in 2008, Property Point has been a catalyst for successful enterprise development in the South African property industry. To date, 96 businesses have participated in Property Point’s two-year programme, enabling them to generate over R398 million in procurement opportunities, with a reported revenue growth of a remarkable 54.5%.
The success of the programme has hinged on a focused engagement and collaboration at a macro level, through Theunissen’s role on the board of the Enterprise Development Council of South Africa (EDCSA), as well as at an industry level where Property Point forms mutually beneficial partnerships with follow property companies, including the JSE-listed real estate capital growth fund Attacq. In addition, multiple levels of collaboration happen within Property Point itself through information-sharing sessions and mentorship of suppliers.
“There are some definite and crucial guidelines to follow for any company looking to take the ESD space forward,” says Theunissen. “Having mutual goals is one, taking ownership and being transparent while being great at what you do is another, but perhaps most importantly, striving for a solution which will ultimately benefit the industry and all its players is what truly successful collaboration really entails.”