The readiness of Exempted Micro Enterprises for digitisation
Transformation of business practices and the way in which business is conducted at present have opened up a wealth of trade and manufacturing opportunities in the global arena. As a result of digital technology (e-technology) developments in the world, South African businesses need to capitalise on this trend. Staying abreast or, at least, to be in the front lines of the digital era enables organisations to position their practices and processes for optimisation into the 21st century. The reality is that not all trading and manufacturing organisations are at the same electronic skills level at any given time. It is, however, in the interest of larger organisations to establish support forums for most of their smaller service provider entities to enable e-technology skills. Implementing new skills and systems may seem exciting, but the various business risks associated with this progress must be taken into account. An entity must also consider their e-technology support base. Being off-line more often than not can very quickly ruin a smaller operation when their commercial systems malfunction. Cyber security requires specific mention as a primary business risk to both the smaller entities and the large organisations. Research was conducted to establish whether small and medium enterprises (classified as EMEs) participating in the supply chain activities of the large organisation where the research was conducted, are experiencing difficulties in completing the online supplier application questionnaire that is required for vendor registration and vendor information management (vendor and supplier are used as synonyms in this study). A pre-coded research questionnaire was utilised, which allowed the researcher to target a large audience and gather usable and relevant data. A total of one hundred and sixty-two (162) research questionnaires were received and constitute the study population. The analysis of these results is presented in Chapter 4 of this this report. It is very re-assuring to note from the responses that the majority of respondents are comfortable with using a web-enabled device, accessing the internet and working on a computer. Conclusions derived from this research confirm that organisations in the 21st century face increasing pressure to keep abreast of technological advances as a driving force. Digitisation in its various forms constitute an important aspect of a competitive supply chain to ensure sustainable and profitable operations. The researcher also concluded that the size of a company does not have a material influence on the ability of small enterprises, defined as EMEs, to adapt to the use of new technology platforms. The research also found that the study population could complete the online supplier questionnaire with relative ease and within reasonable time, indication minimal constraints in the process. In closure, the research confirmed that Qualification does not influence the perception of the groups with regards to how they experienced the process of completing the online supplier application questionnaire. The online supplier questionnaire of the organisation where the study was conducted posed two hundred and sixty-eight questions to suppliers; this should be shortened and optimised. The organisation should develop and distribute training material to identified suppliers before they are requested to complete the online supplier questionnaire to prepare in advance and minimise frustration. Clear understanding of why applicants must comply with the requirements for an online supplier questionnaire will assist to build stronger relationships and trust.