Plant pays off for Goodyear
Multinational tyre giant Goodyear has started seeing the returns of the R1bn investment it injected into its South African operation.
The company launched its state-of-the-art tyre production facility at its Uitenhage plant more than a year ago – and has bumped up production from 6,900 to 9,600 tyres daily.
On Wednesday, it also showcased its futuristic flagship performance tyres at the annual Geneva International Motor Show.
The tyres will do a pilot run in Europe before a limited-edition launch in South Africa later in 2019.
Group managing director Darren Hayes-Powell said the Uitenhage investment had been a good decision.
“We made the announcement a year and a bit ago, which was the investment of R1bn, and what we brought here was the latest technology in building tyres,” he said.
Ray Norris, the director of manufacturing in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the investment was not only monetary. “The team’s response is that you can take all of that money and equipment and put it in a plant, but it’s only as good as the people who run it,” Norris said .
“And I’m really proud of the team here and the way that they’ve not only taken to the challenge but engaged in what we call plant-optimisation.
“Plant-optimisation for us is an operating system that is designed to engage the employees, involve them in problem solving, really engage them in making production more efficient and more effective, and most importantly, safer.
“They’re really moving at a fast pace so they’re returning the investment we’ve given them.
“We haven’t just put it in there.
“The investment is there, not only for the local market but for EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa].”
One of the ways the company is giving back to its employees, is a free onsite gym facility.
The work-out hub became a reality following requests from workers.
The facility is a partnership with The Hope Factory to design a programme that enables the company’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) programme.
At the launch on Wednesday, employees took to the brand-new treadmills and bicycles to rack up kilometres for charity.
Goodyear said it would donate R17,250 to its partner school, Stephen Nkomo Primary in KwaNobuhle, for the 115km 10 employees racked up on the treadmill on the day.
“Promoting collaboration with our stakeholders and having energised teams is core to the success of our organisation,” Hayes-Powell said.
“All our stakeholders are critical to us having an agile and innovative organisation that sets the technology and performance standard for the industry.
“Here in SA, we are going to release another set of tyres made in this factory sometime this year.
“So, we are constantly releasing tyres that make sense in the market.
We are proud about having the factory here – we design tyres in South Africa for South African roads.”