THE BKB GROUP COMPANY OVERVIEW
A commitment to core values and innovative agri-solutions have over the years transformed BKB Limited into a leader in the Agri-Industry, the BKB Group, the Trusted Home of Agriculture. Our values, core competencies and reputation ensure the sustainability of our long- term competitive advantage with particular focus on:
- Wool and Mohair Brokerage Services
- Livestock, Auctioneering and Sales
- Property, Sales and Leasing
- Retail Shops
- Grain Storage
- Grain Processing
- Lucerne, Processing, Packaging and Marketing
- Sugar Processing and Packaging
- Fruit Processing, Packaging, Marketing for domestic and international markets
- Radio Frequency Identification Solutions
- Digital Platform Solutions
Recognized as the Trusted Home of Agriculture, we pride ourselves in having secured the widest and deepest-rooted footprint across our agricultural landscape.
The BKB Group has developed into an organization where our people are our differentiating factor with common values that are underpinned by integrity. We encourage a growth mindset and acknowledge exceptional performance. We have a dedicated team of 3608 proud employees across various spheres of business Service excellence is a non-negotiable shared value that motivates us as a team to go the extra mile for our 62 000 customers. We also encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and constant renewal. In understanding the impact we have on mother nature, we are committed to rethink, revive and conduct our business in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.
BKB Ltd is at its core, profit-driven in the interest of all stakeholders with a major stake held by primary producers and agricultural groupings.
We are subject to the agri-sector specific scorecard for Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE). We therefore proactively implement policies that are in accordance
with the required BBBEEE guidelines. These policies promote equitable human resource practices for greater inclusivity amongst all groups.
The BKB Empowerment Trusts (Ciskei, Transkei and Lesotho) are testament to our commitment to BBBEE in the truest sense with 14,66% of BKB shareholding being owned by these previously disadvantaged groups. Black individuals (22 613) from mainly the rural areas of the Eastern Cape are represented by this shareholding.
The BKB Empowerment Trust (Lesotho) is not considered for BBBEE scorecard purposes, it however plays an important part in the lives of wool and mohair producers in Lesotho.
Our company has earned a reputation of trust and we ensure peace of mind to our clients through comprehensive services and skilled technical field advisors in the production of wool, mohair, livestock or grain.
The BKB Fibre division provides a brokerage and full service offering to producers in Southern Africa. We invest a great deal of effort into strengthening a mutually beneficial partnership with our customers and our employees on a daily basis. Throughout the process, we also aim to provide an effective service through highly skilled and knowledgeable BKB Technical and Shearing advisors. The BKB Fibre division is ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment) certified. These are highly sought after certifications when working with international authorities.
With the welfare of wool and mohair growers remaining one of our prime objectives, and as the market leader in sustainable small stock farming, our BKB Fibre Trading division’s state- of-the-art pressing and shipping facilities ensure an effective and timeous handling and shipping function to complement a professional offering to international wool buyers.
Encompassing the entire South Africa, BKB’s Livestock and Auctioneering division focuses on marketing activities relating to livestock, properties and agricultural equipment by means of auctions and through liaison transactions. The division trades under the brands of BKB, BKBLouwid, BKB van Wyk, BKB Riverview and BKB Wildlife.
The Real Estate division of the BKB Group namely, Home & Hectare specialise in investment property, estate living, developments, residential property, commercial property, agricultural land and farms. Home & Hectare’s team of qualified and experienced real estate agents are focussed on the marketing and auctioneering of property or land and have a thorough understanding of the demands associated with the South African property market and agricultural landscape.
Our national network of 50 BKB Retail Shops offer a comprehensive range of agri- and general products. Selected BKB Retail Shops include a convenience store and forecourt as part of their offering.
As the agri-industry is ever changing, BKB AgriFin acts as a trustworthy financial partner to our clients throughout our business divisions.
RFID Experts Africa compliments stock farming and game breeding in South Africa as a system integration solution provider. The provision of system based solutions aims to increase productivity and accuracy through the use of radio frequency identification technology. These solutions are available country wide.
The BKB Group has strategically embraced and invested in the digital revolution. SHIFTDX is the vehicle that drives this initiative. SHIFTDX provides digital platform solutions that enhance the efficiency of our own operations, but also develops products which is taken up in the broader market.
PaKHouse Brands is the holding company of the agro-processing subsidiaries within the BKB Group and has interests in various supply chains from producer to consumer. The main activities of PaKHouse Brands are related to grain, lucerne, dried fruit and sugar, and include procurement, storage, processing and marketing functions. The company owns world-class processing and storage facilities, all of which are operated in accordance with various accredited standards and best practices. Production and storage facilities are strategically located throughout Southern Africa. Scale and footprint ensures the sourcing of quality raw materials and products whilst also providing producers access to a wide variety of markets.
PaKHouse Brands comprises of Atlanta Sugar, Desert Raisins, BKB GrainCo, AlphaAlfa, and GrainCo.
Atlanta Sugar houses agro-based consumer goods with it’s main operation in Matsapha, Swaziland. The product range includes various categories of sugar, grain products and sunflower oil. Activities include pre-packing, sales and marketing.
Desert Raisins is a fully owned subsidiary of PaKHouse Brands. Desert Raisins is an international supplier of high quality raisin products, which include bulk and pre-packed raisins, mixes and fruit mince. They are one of the larger processors in South Africa and operate from Kanoneiland in the Northern Cape.
BKB GrainCo specialises in the storage of grains. All grain depots are JSE/SAFEX and FBO accredited.
AlphaAlfa encompasses animal feed activities involving both lucerne and hay processing at their facility in Kimberley. The key focus is export of double pressed lucerne to international markets.
Grainco is responsible for yellow maize processing at it’s grit mills in Bultfontein and Bethlehem.
The BKB Group embraces the future of the agricultural industry. In the fast changing world we will accelerate our development and growth, embrace digital transformation and advance through innovation, efficiency and by adding value to our customers.
BKB, The Trusted Home of Agriculture
BKB is a significant player within the agricultural industry with a permanent staff complement of 1,543 employees and 2,110 seasonal employees, learners or contractors. We pride ourselves in being a high-performing organisation that puts its people first. Our best practice processes act as enablers to our people, empowering each individual to grow within the organisation.
The Group’s focus on employee training as part of the employee value proposition allows BKB to attract and retain a high quality workforce, reduces employee turnover and improves customer satisfaction and efficiencies in our business.
We are constantly striving to enhance the level of interaction and relationships with our employees to ensure continued advocacy and employee engagement.
Our values are simple, concrete, meaningful and capture the essence of our culture, who we are and how we interact with one another.
SERVICE EXCELLENCE, ENCOURAGE ENTREPRENEURSHIP, DRIVE EARNINGS, VALUE EMPLOYEES AND CONSERVE THE ENVIRONMENT.
This speaks of how we go to market and our commitment to delivering a culture of excellence to all stakeholders as the Trusted Home of Agriculture. Integrity is the golden thread encompassing all our values and also binds our trusted relationships.
VISION & VALUES
Our values are simple, concrete, meaningful and capture the essence of our culture, who we are and how we interact with one another. This speaks of how we go to market and our commitment to delivering a culture of excellence to all stakeholders as the Trusted Home of Agriculture.
To craft agri-business through trust and shared values.
Maximising value creation through innovation and efficiency.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF OUR PEOPLE
At BKB we view learning as an integral part of growing our competitive advantage, our people. We recognise that when employees grow, they in turn grow our business. Our annual investment in training and development stands at 3,5% of payroll expenditure. This year offered learning offerings ranging from leadership development programmes, emotional intelligence and mentoring programs to technical training and product knowledge training initiatives (maize and wheat grading, animal health and animal handling training) across all levels of staff. Compliance training (legal and tax updates, health and safety training etc.) plays a vital role to ensure up to date skills and knowledge. There were more than 1,200 beneficiaries of training programmes and 27 of our employees benefitted from our staff bursary programme to further their part-time tertiary studies.
Wool Handling Learnership Programme
This year saw the launch of our Wool Handling Learnership for deaf employees on our wool floor. BKB currently employs ± 150 – 200 seasonal contract sorters and pressers on the wool floor. It is our goal to upskill 25 sorters and pressers annuallyand to equip them with either the Wholesale and Retail Distribution qualification, or the Wool and Mohair Handling qualification. In keeping with the national drive to uplift our disabled population, we place only deaf female employees onto this programme.Contract employees who have completed the programme will be guaranteed continuous employment with the company.
Shearing Learnership Programme
The Shearing Learnership Programme, where we endeavour to skill 1,500 sheep shearers over a period of five years, is fully operational. BKB currently employs ± 1700 people to shear 5.5 million animals for the South African wool and mohair industry. Of these 1 700 people, 80% are Lesotho citizens. BKB recognized the need to start training South African citizens to alleviate unemployment in SA.
The training of shearers is a complex and difficult task due to the following reasons.
- The pure physical effort of the task is a stumbling block. Shearers not only need to be trained in the skill of shearing, but also need to be physically conditioned, to be able to take the strain, especially on the back muscles.
- Shearing is a migratory occupation. Shearing happens on farms throughout SA, for at least 9 months of the year, during which the shearer
- will not be able to return home.
- Shearers can earn a decent salary, but it depends on their own effort, since shearers are paid on a pay for work basis.
New recruits often do not come from a farming background, and need to be sensitized to the rhythms of farm life.
It takes at least a year to get pupils to a level of shearing, so that they can shear enough sheep to be able to earn a decent living wage.
With this in mind we decided to register shearing as a SETA accredited course. The course runs over six weeks, and it covers a very basic farm management course. During this time the pupils are introduced to the basic skills needed to survive in an environment like this. Special care are given to physical training and cooking skills. Once the theoretical course is finished, pupils are trained in the physical shearing ofthe sheep. Training happens on a farm, and takes two weeks, after which a pupil will have a basic ability to shear without causing damage to a sheep.
From this point on shearers are required to exercise their skills on farms up until the point where they will be able to shear at least 60 sheep per day. The idea of this period is to hold pupils in an incubation period. For the year that it takes to qualify, pupils earn a stipend every two weeks, and all lodging and food are supplied. After the year period shearers will have the opportunity to become full time employees of the BKB shearing service where they will be deployed into shearing teams to operate nationally.
It is our vision to equip shearers with all the training and skills needed to eventually venture out in teams as entrepreneurs to the sheep farms, providing a fully-fledged shearing service in exchange for payment. Each team will have a vehicle to travel with from farm to farm, a fully-equipped caravan to cook and sleep in, as well as shearing equipment needed to provide a professional shearing service. These teams will operate as mini-businesses and will be self-reliant for food and transport.
We will ensure the customer base.
It would most likely take three years to achieve this goal and training would need to include driving skills, basic management and finance skills, vehicle and caravan maintenance as well as entrepreneurial skills. Given the level of investment into upskilling the shearers, it is imperative that screening process for the intake onto the programme is rigorous as to ensure the sustainability of the success of the programme.
Graduate Training Programme
A further strategic initiative has been approved by management to invest in a pool of trainees that over time, would be the source of appointments into permanent vacancies throughout our business.
It is our vision:
- That we develop a workplace that is neither black nor white, but simply South African;
- That the recruitment drive is not only underpinned by a general commitment to employment equity, but also with due cognizance of customer requirements, the nature of each position, and availability of candidates;
- That we appoint based on the principle of future ability to do the job, given the correct training and motivation to do so;
- That we identify disadvantaged employees who wish to enhance their skill levels or supervisory/managerial potential;
- That we document training plans for such employees, based on acceptable skills-assessment testing. All new appointments are linked with career development programs that clearly indicate the potential and the time frame for progress. Progress and the development of required abilities are duly monitored and reported on.
- That this group has an innate and passionate desire to contribute, to know our organization and to continue the enjoyment of sustained growth because of what they do each day.
The Graduate Training Programme, powered by Deloitte/DDI, addresses the need to fast-track the development of workplace ready future leaders. This high impact, modular programme consists of 5 phases, each phase lasting 3 days and covering topics ranging from communication, leadership, decision making, dealing with change, diversity, coaching, networking, influencing others, selection, performance management, to building successful teams. Each internationally benchmarked, competency based module has built in, practical application tools to be used back at work, and reinforces key foundational leadership communication skills. As part of their ongoing assessment, in teams, graduates research and prepare business improvement opportunities to be presented to senior management for evaluation, showcasing application of the tools and techniques mastered during the formal learning sessions. Strongly aligned to the BKB core values, the programme provides opportunities for top leadership guest speakers to communicate the BKB vision, leadership philosophy and values.
The complete list of modules:
- Phase 1 : Your Leadership Journey; Communicating with Impact, Valuing Differences, Taking the HEAT (customer service)
- Phase 2 : Networking for Enhanced Collaboration, Embracing Change, Navigating beyond Conflict, High Impact Feedback and Listening, Building Winning Partnerships
- Phase 3 : Working as a High Performing Team, Making High Quality Decisions, Strategies for Influencing Others
- Phase 4 : Setting and Reviewing Performance Expectations, High Performance Coaching, Addressing Poor Performance
- Phase 5 : Fostering Innovation, Targeted Selection Interviewer workshop, Launching a Successful team
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
As employer, we are committed to equity in all employment practices.
Our employment strategy rests firmly on the following pillars:
- Appropriate structures and resources to co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of Employment Equity;
- Aspiring that the composition of the organisation begins to reflect regional and national economically active demographics at all job levels;
- Equitable policies, procedures, practices and facilities;
- Instilling an organisational culture that is conducive to Employment Equity, diversity and sustainable business
- An equal opportunity situation for all women.
- The accommodation of people with disabilities.
- To retain, promote and develop employees from designated groups through focused and appropriate recruitment, retention and development initiatives.
BKB is committed to Transformation and has an Employment Equity Forum, chaired by our General Manager Human Resources, which provides a forum for representatives of labour, management and other designated groups to review the progress, and discuss the direction, of our equity employment policies. In addition, the Board has a Social, Ethics and Transformation Committee and Human Resources Committee that ensures compliance and governance and conscious leadership.
HUMAN RESOURCES POLICIES
We provide a variety of services to our employees. These services are diverse and range from general benefits such as medical aid and retirement fund schemes, with generous death and disability benefits, to overall employee care. We have previously converted to a “cost to company” remuneration structure which remains instrumental for ensuring reward parity, internally as well as for external benchmarking as a means to attract and retain talent.
BKB Wellness includes free trauma counselling as well as an HIV/Aids insurance protector providing psychological and medical (including free anti-retroviral treatment) support to all employees. In addition, we also have merit recognition events and long service awards.
On-line Recruitment Portal
BKB Sage SkillsMap, an online recruitment talent community portal, aims to bridge the gap between job seekers and ourselves. Attracting and retaining the right talent is at the heart of any business’ success. With the skills pool in certain sectors being limited, it is becoming increasingly challenging for companies to gain access to the right candidates in the quickest possible time.
Employee Self-Service Centres
Our Employee Self Service (ESS) centres are enabled through Sharepoint which provides a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device. Policies and procedures are readily available to all employees through this platform. ESS is designed to make administrative processes as effortless as possible by empowering staff to maintain their personal details, apply for leave and view payslips in a paperless environment. Capturing, approving and maintaining employees’ leave becomes a streamlined and paperless process.
The roll-out of the on-line and paperless performance review system was launched at Head Office in April last year. This workflow process has taken on momentum and in April 2015, 95% of all employee reviews were completed on-line.
BKB is committed to Transformation and has an Employment Equity Forum, chaired by our General Manager: Human Resources, which provides a forum for representatives of labour, management and other designated groups to review the progress, and discuss the direction, of our equity employment policies. In addition, the Board has a Social, Ethics and Transformation Committee and Human Resources Committee that ensures compliance and governance and conscious leadership.
Our Graduate Training Programme serves as a source of employment equity appointments into permanent vacancies throughout our business and as a result we have managed to appoint ten black professionals onto junior-middle management level in the past twelve months. Our total compliment comprises 85% black employees and shearers/ learner shearers.
We maintain positive labour relations, and we have lost only insignificant man-days from industrial action against us in the past five years. We are committed to maintaining our positive relationship with our employees.
Our industry is subject to the Agri-sector specific regulation under the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) legislation and we proactively implement policies that are in accordance with BBBEE guidelines. We are a level 5 contributor.
Our policies promote equitable human resource practices for greater inclusivity amongst all groups.
BKB BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
BKB GENERAL MANAGEMENT:
- The export ban of wool to China implemented by China in April 2022 still applies to the South African clip.
- The last mohair sale for the 2022 summer selling season delivered a mixed bag of results again [...]
- RWS certified wool in the finer microns found the most support and was as much as 3% dearer, with the overall market following currency and ended a little lower.
- The market surprised by outperforming the currency.