Complying with the new BEE codes - EY's Sugan Palanee on how to get started

The BEE journey must not be seen as just another a tick-box exercise, says Sugan Palanee, Head of BEE Services at EY. Rather, it should be viewed as an evolutionary journey which, while it may come with several challenges, will bring with it as many opportunities that will benefit the entire business ecosystem.

"This will directly lead to the benefit of the wider society, thus achieving the ultimate goal of shared value."

By Sugan Palanee, Head of BEE Services at EY

In order to ensure compliance to the amended codes, there are several things companies can do. To begin with, they can align their operational strategies to their transformational strategies. This will, however, come with significant pressure on businesses that are already under strain in the tough economic climate, and thus there must be both short-term and long-term targets in place to achieve compliance.

Essentially, the first step is the acknowledgement that the company is not at the required or optimum B-BBEE status level.

The short-term plan will therefore include realistic targets per pillar accompanied by an implementation plan, which would facilitate the customer being able to monitor them. That said, an acceptance that the "old" optimum level would no longer be the "new" optimum level must precede this.

Furthermore, procurement officers, while needing to enforce their transformation and preferential procurement policies, need to heed technical advice around the specifications and quality required for goods or services being sourced.

The acceptance of a new B-BBEE compliance base will allow for supply chains to retain credibility.

The growth of a country is intrinsically linked to the ability of its suppliers (small, medium and large) to meet global standards and eventually be in a position to compete in international supply chains.

If this appreciation is felt and acceptance is achieved throughout the economy, then change will be addressed transparently with the country's and its people's welfare at the fore of all decision-making.