Throwback Thursday: A New Vision and strategy for the "turned around" Senwes

(adapted from Time cultivates winners. Senwes - a century of agriculture by Elize van Eeden)

A moment in history

The value development strategy, which was actively implemented from 2004, was initially accompanied by uncertainty and instability due to external pressure from investors that prevailed for the sake of optimising the industry, some staff members of the group were laid off, and eventually the staff count was reduced to 1091.  In the turn-around phase of Senwes, some departments had to be temporarily reduced and then later built back up again after 2004 in order to enhance the growth of the company as a value creator where possible.

From 2004 until 2009, attention was paid more pertinently to the following objectives to actively create values in the company so that the process could be to the benefit of the shareholders and clients of the company and among Senwes employees. It was decided that attention would be paid to the following important objectives:

  • Developing of values for Senwes group shareholders.
  • The creation of black economic empowerment transformation (BEE)
  • The acquisition of a strategic partner.
  • More effective and continuous application of corporative management.
  • Attention to the development of business confidence and business success. 
  • Continued seriousness in the key role Senwes must fulfil among its producers in the agriculture industry.
  • The pursuit of long-term profitability to the benefit of all interested parties. Amongst others, it includes growth in the stock market price and a focus on a constant stream of dividends.

Management also paid attention to the development and growth of existing, continued core-businesses. The strategy occurred in certain phases over a period of four financial years from 2003 until 2006.  Other regions, like the Western Cape were also strategically targeted so that Senwes could obtain a larger market share in the provision of wheat as part of the expansion growth ideal.
To carry a company through a survival crisis requires committed personnel who have hope. When the turnaround process started in 2001, the staff also went through a process of uncertainty, stress and flailing morale. 

The successful implementation of the turnaround objectives breathed new life into the morale of the staff contingent. Soon, the buzzword of the time became the Senwes Business Alignment Project. The introduction of the intranet as a communication tool was amongst one of the things implemented through the business alignment project. Executive Manager at the time, Johan Dique again held roadshows in 2005 to speak to and pay specific attention to the needs of the employees. At that stage, Senwes had a healthy staff profile.