May 2016 CEO’s Message
As we pace through the second quarter of 2016, one can acknowledge the string of not-so-good news.
The country has had its credit rating downgraded which means South Africa is no longer a preferred investment destination as a result of the perceived risk.
Unfortunately this perceived risk has its origin in:
- A perception of wide spread corruption in government circles
- Major safety & security issues (Armed robbery, highjackings and murder rates amongst the highest in the world)
- Unstable labour force bent on striking every year
- Numeracy and literacy levels the lowest out of 140 countries as
measured by the DAVOS economic
Furthermore, the Rand has weakened against most major currencies in the past 12 months. This has resulted in major price escalations of virtually every household commodity and also of vehicles, appliances and machinery.
To rub further salt in the wounds the South African Reserve Bank has increased interest by 50 basis points on a completely misguided philosophy of somehow apply ‘inflation targeting’ to our economy. The interest rate rise and further rises predicted will push the South Africa into recession which will further aggravate the hardships people are suffering. This might just escalate social unrest with the usual tragic consequences.Now we know the bad news. At Orion we always have a CAN DO attitude and we cannot allow these external factors to slow down our quest for growth.
What do we do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to make things happen;
- We focus more sharply on where we can improve our operations
- We focus on productivity and process re-engineering
- We do more with less
- We re engineered our corporate structure eliminating duplication of admin & management process
- We converted Orion Real Estate Ltd to a REIT
- We engaged corporate advisers to assist with more innovative ways of long and medium term funding
- We raised many millions in project finance
- We invested heavily in IT and
- We restructured some head office functions and management.
- We analyse every expense to see where we can extract savings and efficiencies
- We cross train our staff to do multi tasking making them more productive
- We engage more with our customers to understand their needs better
- We work hard on delivering better quality customer service
- We research and look in all the nooks and crannies for new customers
- We increase our advertising and marketing spend
- We continuously work on improving the value proposition to our customers
- We spend more resources on staff training
- We continuously expand and refine our business and life skills coaching interventions
- We expand our business models by adding upstream and downstream services to the current offering.
• Star Storage – www.starstorage.co.za
• Bakwena Day spa – www.bakwenaspa.co.za
• Best Western Hotels – www.bestwestern.com
• STAAH Reservations – www.staah.com
• Orion Business Solutions – www.oriongroup.co.za/orion-business-solutions/
• Orion Developments
- We engage with other like minded businesses and business people to form partnerships and joint ventures;
• Fargoscene (Pty) Ltd
• Student Housing joint venture
• Bethlehem retail project joint venture
• Stay Now Pay Later project joint venture
From the many actions and projects indicated above it is very clear that we do a lot more RIGHT than Wrong at Orion.
We have a dedicated workforce of over 1000 people who work very hard around the clock to make things better.
Yes, there is still huge room for improvement but there is enough physical evidence everywhere that Orion today is a better and stronger company than 5 years ago.
We shall persevere and grow despite the adverse conditions.