WHY MY COMPANY SHOULD BELONG TO SAPMA – Part One: Dealing with officialdom.
I have discovered a strange anomaly in the concept of association membership - companies reluctant to pay annual subscriptions cannot find benefits or reasons why they joined the association in the first place - or should remain a member. We experience it here at SAPMA every year when we try to renew memberships: “There is no benefit to me being a member,” or “It’s a club for the big guys”, are typical responses not to pay subs.
So, putting myself in the shoes of a small manufacturer (which I have been), or a multi-national Chief opening a branch or factory in South Africa, or just being Joe Bloggs who is about to open a paint plant, why do I need to be part of a body representing my sector of industry?
Firstly, logic tells me that I should know something about the market I want to enter, as well as the Regulatory and Legislative requirements such an entry may prescribe. My check list will probably include some of the following very basic information, not necessarily in the order below:
- I should enquire from the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and ITAC (International Trade Administration Commission) about the importation of raw material and import duties on imported products, and the protection against dumping of products from other countries. Note: to do this, I would first have to establish how to contact this state body and all the ones listed below, and then find the right person to address your inquiry to - the extent of this obstacle is akin to trying to contact your local municipality;
- I should also contact the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for assistance regarding dangerous “agricultural remedies” like biocides, pesticides, formaldehyde and algaecides, and ask whether these are banned or illegal, so that they are not confiscated before they get to the market place;
- By contacting the Department of Labour, I should be put in the picture about labour practices and Health and Safety;
- The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) should have input regarding environmental waste practices;
- Next, I would have to speak to the Department of Health about what is allowed - or not - in terms of the Hazardous Substance Act; whether I am allowed to use lead pigments or alternatively methanol; or any other toxic chemical in my manufacturing processes or formulations;
- The Department of Transport should be able to brief me about restrictions about the transportation of hazardous goods, so that I am not going to get stopped by the police on my first delivery;
- The SABS – or what’s left of it – would be the target of my enquiry as to what quality standards I need to meet and how much SABS would charge for the testing of my products; and
- The National Registrar of Compulsory Specifications should be approached for advice on my protection against unfair imports of sub-standard products.
Now all SAPMA members who have tried to do all the above steps required to start and stay in business in coatings production, will urgel you:
RATHER JOIN SAPMA AND PAY THE MEMBERSHIP FEE. YOUR ANNUAL SUBS WILL ANSWER ALL THE ABOVE QUESTIONS, AND KEEP YOU SANE.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?