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'Bulawayo industry needs remodelling'

by Staff reporter
20 Dec 2018 at 06:21hrs | Views
BULAWAYO needs to transform its industrial focus through adoption of an agile approach and investing more on new business lines consistent with global demands, the Project Management of Zimbabwe (PMZ) has said.

Once the country's prime manufacturing hub, the second largest city has in recent years suffered closure and relocation of several strategic companies across sectors, resulting in loss of jobs and demise of numerous value chains.

"Industrialists in Bulawayo must forget about the past glory of the 1990s and go 'agile' and think of completely new business lines consistent with present global demands," says PMZ head, Mr Peter Banda. He said the same Belmont factory shells and buildings that appear idle and dilapidated today can be rekindled with new paint.

Mr Banda said the factory shells now house new industries such as bottled water production, mobile phones assemble and repairs, recycling of rubber and scrap metals among others.

"Going agile is all about breaking away from rigid historical business mentality and responding to arising business opportunities and threats overnight without going via rigid strategic change processes that will be overtaken by the new opportunities."

Mr Banda said, for example, Chinese entrepreneurs have gone agile and come all the way from Beijing to Bulawayo to cash in on scrap metal processing business, an opportunity that local businesses have missed.

"They (Chinese) have set up small factory shells in the Kelvin North this year and are now producing various handy products for the local and export markets from the molten recycled steel on a small scale," he said.

The term agile defines a new management approach that is now imbedded in the project management body of knowledge, which requires practitioners to use adaptive tools and techniques of managing change breaking away from predictive and pre-emptive approaches, as the environment and needs of citizens are highly dynamic.

Leading software development companies like Microsoft are known to have largely gone agile in their business processes, said PMZ, adding that business and project plans must never remain fixed during implementation but must be open for incremental changes in response to environmental demands and the evolution of consumer needs.

Mr Banda said agricultural, mining, manufacturing and ICT sectors could embrace the agile take and diversify into new products. The revival of Bulawayo industry and attracting investment across the country took centre stage at the recent International Project Management Conference that was held in Bulawayo.

During the indaba, PMZ threw its weight behind Government's mission of opening up the country for business investment and the vision of uplifting citizens to an upper middle income economy by 2030.

As part of resolutions for the meeting, delegates urged Government to adopt an agile approach in tackling the country's economic challenges and enacting legislations that augment the proposed 2030 upper middle income economy vision.

Project managers then pledged to play a leading role and demanded swift conclusion of doing business reform project. They advised Government ministries to draft specific timelines for project implementation as well as enactment of legal instruments to lock out incompetent bidders.

PMZ was established in 2009 and is the country's largest association of project managers and project management practitioners. It is a membership based organisation operating as a non-profit adult vocational education and training trust with more than 3 500 members.

Source - chronicle