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Eskort Limited December 09 www. bus- ex. com 107 each area provides workers with a matrix of skills they can train to do, with each discipline ticked off once complete. We have brought production costs down and seen an improvement in quality and staff morale." However, Eskort's commitment goes beyond staff training. Its philosophy of " charity beginning at home" is richly demonstrated by its sponsorship of an AIDS orphanage in Estcourt and a shelter for the street kids of Heidelberg, with countless other projects currently underway. Prinsloo feels that South Africa is not yet out of the woods as regards the economic downturn, but sees plenty of opportunity for Eskort in the near future. " Our focus is to grow our range, supply top quality products and improve our yield by one or two per cent. There might be opportunities to supply to new markets such as the restaurant trade; and if these come to fruition, we will be ready," he confirms. - Editorial research by Don Campbell in Europe, where we are regular visitors," Prinsloo explains. " You have to travel to look at new products and equipment if you are going to remain innovative. Indeed, we purchased our crumbing line from Holland and the deboning line I am about to sign off came from Germany. We have also seen a lot of innovation coming from the spice companies and our belief is that it is important that you continually invest to improve quality," he adds. The need for innovation is perhaps best illustrated by the adjustments the company needed to make as a result of soaring electric costs and the softening economic conditions, which was affecting consumer spending. Eskort responded by putting a greater emphasis on cost-effective processes to keep costs under control. Training has formed a large part of Eskort's initiative to provide not just on- the- job skills but to encourage shop floor efficiency through productivity training. " We are four and a half years into this process now," says Prinsloo, " and " We have brought production costs down and seen an improvement in quality and staff morale"

108 www. bus- ex. com December 09 Sonnendal Dairies is an exclusive supplier of dairy products to South Africa's largest food retail chain, Pick n Pay. Ben Sansom finds out how the company has been achieving world class standards while fighting off the effects of falling consumer demand competition cowed the Not