Nedbank's specialists offer tailor-made business solutions

From its deal-matching platform to solar energy, the bank is helping clients reach their goals

24 July 2023 - 10:55
Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

The manufacturing sector has been one of the hardest hit in recent years as it struggles to address a multitude of challenges including the persistent power crisis, disrupted global supply chains, inflation, rising fuel and energy prices and logistics. 

Amith Singh, national manager of manufacturing at Nedbank, says one of the biggest — and arguably most debilitating — challenges for the manufacturing sector is an unstable power supply.

“Though many manufacturers have invested in alternative power solutions such as solar, in sectors such as metal and steel, alternative power solutions are not sufficient for the needs of the business.”

Most manufacturing businesses have tried to work around load-shedding, but anything above level 4 is crippling for many businesses, he says. 

“The consequences for the local automotive manufacturing sector, which exports thousands of vehicles each year, is significant,” says Singh. 

Nedbank has a number of specialists who proactively assist clients to pivot their offerings so they can better realise their goals
Amith Singh, national manager of manufacturing, Nedbank

The local automotive sector is responsible for more than 300,000 jobs, accounted for 21.7% of the country’s manufacturing output, and contributed 4.9% of GDP in 2022. 

“If manufacturers are constantly not able to meet production outputs, this could lead to disinvestment in the country and severe impact on the economy.” 

Load-shedding, combined with challenging economic conditions, is causing havoc with business confidence levels. The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry business confidence index has revealed persistently low levels in recent months, while the RMB/BER business confidence index fell for the fifth consecutive quarter in the second quarter of 2023.

Geopolitical issues and SA’s so-called neutral stance to Russia's war on Ukraine, have done little to bolster confidence. “It’s the heightened uncertainty that's so damaging.” 

Singh says many local manufacturers remain reliant on local and global supply chains and efficient road networks and ports. “SA’s largely non-functioning rail network means that more freight is being transported by road, which is expensive. Add to this clogged and inefficient ports, and it’s clear that logistics has become an obstacle. The more expensive it is to transport goods — and the longer it takes — the less competitive an economy becomes.” 

Nedbank, the trusted banking partner

While most businesses have proved surprisingly resilient through the various crises of recent years, there is no more they can do to remain operationally viable without assistance from their bank. 

“It is through this journey that a trusted banking partner is crucial.”

“Nedbank has a number of specialists who proactively assist clients to pivot their offerings so they can better realise their goals. Gone are the days when all we offered clients was off-the-shelf solutions. Instead, we are increasingly offering bespoke and tailor-made solutions, many of which go beyond banking.” 

In 2022, Nedbank announced a partnership with Opportunity Network, a digital deal-matching platform that connects more than 50,000 businesses and private investors to business opportunities. Members on the platform are screened by financial institutions, professional services firms and associations, providing a degree of security and due diligence.

Membership to the Opportunity Network platform is free to Nedbank commercial banking clients, based on the premise that more operationally efficient clients benefit the bank in the long term. 

Nedbank has also partnered with Hohm Energy to assist businesses with solar, including overseeing its installation and maintenance.

Clients have the option of selecting Nedbank to finance the installations but are not restricted to the bank. “We’ve taken a long-term view and are putting our clients — and the markets — needs ahead of the bank’s,” says Singh. 

In a 2023 customer survey commissioned by Nedbank, staff expertise and service was a key differentiating factor for the bank. “This ranking indicates that we are on the right path.” 

This article was sponsored by Nedbank.