Litha Kutta – Top Empowered Business Leader of the year 2020 – Thinking of unique ways to address complexity and still broaden participation in enterprise and supplier development

Written by Topco Staff Writer

12/08/2020

Litha Kutta has a wealth of experience at senior level in enterprise and supplier development (ESD) BEE procurement and supply chain transformation.

When he started at Tiger Brands his mandate was to set up its enterprise development portfolio, develop the company’s ESD strategy, transform Tiger Brands’ supply and value chain through re-engineering procurement strategies to unlock opportunities for black-owned and black women-owned suppliers and to develop ESD programmes to support black suppliers, farmers and distributors.

Enterprise and supplier development strengthen ecosystems that deliver long-term benefits to corporates and small suppliers. It offers huge opportunities for economic inclusion across South Africa and in order for it to perform optimally, Litha advocates for stronger cohesion among ESD practitioners with a view to not only transform organisational supply chains but to enhance ESD within and across sectors.

Tiger Brands is actively investing in local, broad-based suppliers to ramp-up local food manufacturing capability and reduce the country’s reliance on imported goods.  One of the biggest challenges facing black small businesses in South Africa is the lack of access to finance, which hinders access to secured market opportunities. Tiger Brands set up the Dipuno Fund under Litha’s leadership as a R100-million ESD investment to enable businesses to participate in the supply and value chain.

The fund offers qualifying suppliers’ fast access to below-prime interest rate funding so they can deliver to Tiger Brands effectively and efficiently. The fund is one of four components in the company’s ESD strategy since Litha started. He makes it his job support SMEs and encourage them to hire young people.  A thriving SME sector is good, not only for youth employment but for the country’s sustainability.

And Tiger Brands’ new Agriculture Aggregator model (launched in 2019) is set to increase the number of participating small-scale farmers while growing the number of black suppliers for the company holistically.

“The biggest issues facing small-scale farmers are producing at the scale and at the quality standards that corporates demand. This means that farmers need to graduate from being standalone entities and develop the operational and financial capacity which enable them to sustainably compete. This requires a great deal of development and support often spanning several years and adds additional complexity for corporate supply chains.

“But real business value and opportunity for Aggregators will be unlocked when they develop agro-processing capabilities, moving from the ambit of primary agriculture alone into the beneficiation of value-added inputs that Tiger Brands can procure directly. Such diversification significantly enhances their sustainability.

“The success of our ESD programme is hinged on our ability to evolve our focus and approach in line with our desire to rapidly progress economic transformation as an organisation. Thinking of unique ways to address complexity and still broaden participation will certainly help any organisation quicken the pace of their supply chain transformation” – Litha Kutta 

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