IOPSA executive director’s report

IOPSA executive director’s report

By Brendan Reynolds

The report is published according to the NATEXEC committee meeting held on 11 April 2019. 

Executive summary

The years 2018/19 have been challenging for the country as a whole, and our members in particular have felt the effects. I don’t think it is necessary for me to elaborate on the turbulent political situation or the tough economic climate in 2018; it was a really hard year for most. Notwithstanding this, I am proud to say that even in these tough times, IOPSA has managed to continue its growth and is in a very strong position to take on the challenge of 2019/20.

IOPSA has achieved a huge amount this year, most notable among these are:

  • The establishment of a working Transformation Committee
  • The launch of SA Watermark
  • The introduction of free first aid and firefighting training for members
  • Re-establishing a presence in North West and Limpopo provinces
  • Establishing a successful auditing service
  • Review of the Constitution
  • MOU signed with CETA
  • Market research into the plumbing industry.

These are but a few of the many tasks which have been successfully completed in the year. For the coming year, IOPSA will be focusing its efforts in ensuring the success of the SA Watermark and will actively enter the ‘standards development’ space which has needed serious attention for some time.

For members, the focus will be on delivering real value-added services, finding unique income opportunities, and delivering meaningful training. On the training front we will be focusing heavily on recognition of prior learning (RPL). All of this will be supported by a strong marketing campaign aimed at informing consumers about IOPSA and its members.

Financially, IOPSA is still in a very strong position; we have engaged the services of a new accounting firm and I am confident that our financial reporting will improve significantly, as will transparency and compliance. The merger of all IOPSA regions into a consolidated financial and statutory reporting model is an important step in this regard and will add huge value.

The IOPSA team has grown significantly this year and we have plans to add a few more team members in the coming year. We have been fortunate to be able to source excellent, dedicated, and passionate people. Their dedication and hard work during this year have led to some amazing achievements and I would like to personally thank each and every one of them.

IOPSA national financial position (for noting)

IOPSA is in a much better financial position than last year. We expect the improvements to continue especially with the additional income from audits and membership growth. IOPSA continued to produce good cash flows, although somewhat below last year’s achievements, but this is to be expected with such massive growth.

All told, IOPSA is in a very strong financial position. We are implementing stricter financial controls and management, and we are confident that these will lead to even greater financial stability.

IOPSA membership

Membership growth this year has been excellent; this is mainly due to real value being added for members, improved communication, and good marketing. Ultimately, this is the true measurement of IOPSA’s success or failure, and we are very pleased to see such a big vote of confidence from the industry.

IOPSA reportNew membership versus cancellations 

IOPSA national staff

IOPSA has added 2 new junior auditors, Ketiwe and Xolani, based in Johannesburg, working under the supervision of Steve van Zyl. Both have performed extremely well and we have received numerous compliments about them. I have the feeling that both of them are headed for very bright futures; keep an eye on them. In the coming year we have budgeted for an additional person to strengthen our administration.

Kwakho Mpepo has also joined the IOPSA team as an understudy to Nick Joubert, training manager. Kwakho brings a wealth of knowledge from his time at MBA and has fitted in well with the team. He is growing into his role and I am expecting big results from him.

Richard Bailie has been contracted on a part-time basis to represent IOPSA’s interests in the Western Cape and to manage audits in the region.

In the coming year we have budgeted for the following positions:

  • Admin assistant – National Office
  • Junior auditor – KZN
  • Junior auditor – Western Cape

Insurance forum

The last round of insurance forum meetings has produced some very good results. IOPSA has assisted several insurance companies with training, both of staff and of panel plumbers. We are regularly consulted by insurance companies on a range of matters and are becoming entrenched with many as their industry partners. On three separate occasions, IOPSA members were given the opportunity to join insurance panels in specific regions.

Several insurance companies have agreed to open the ‘rates’ discussion, which has always been a closed door. This discussion will be based on independent research that will be conducted by a university. We are in the process of finding funding for the study, which will hopefully start in the next few months.

We have elected to conduct the insurance forum meetings without using a facilitator. Debbie Donaldson has always fulfilled this role and I wish to thank her for her excellent work over the years.

Manufacturers’ forum

The manufacturers’ forum has requested IOPSA to involve itself much more actively in the development and maintenance of standards. We are currently looking into this and will report back in due course.

IOPSA training projects

The training department within IOPSA has been extremely busy with the existing projects — DSPP, COS, Builders Warehouse, and Nedbank. These projects are progressing well, albeit that there are some challenges with the DSPP project. We have only added one additional project this year, being the Installer, Repairer, Maintainer (IRM) project for NBI. In terms of major projects, IOPSA is at capacity and we will not enter into any major training projects for the next year. After a thorough financial assessment, it is clear that IOPSA needs to revise its costing model; a number of the projects have proved to be a financial burden; however, their importance to the industry cannot be underestimated.

IOPSA strategy moving forward

The strategy for the coming year remains the same as that presented in my last report.

  • Strengthen the regions; whilst we have some incredibly dedicated volunteers in place, they all have their own businesses to run and as such are limited in the time that they can give to IOPSA. If we had permanent employees in each region to support the volunteer committees and perform the required day-to-day tasks, we would achieve far more. Through the inspectorate we have a possible mechanism for funding this and we will be looking closely at how we can make it a reality as soon as possible.
  • We have got to grow our membership. At 700-odd members we are not truly representative of the market as a whole.
  • Over the past few years we have developed several great products such as App Plumber, LMS App, electronic and print newsletters, jobs portal, Facebook, and the website. We have never really leveraged the income-generating possibilities of these products. IOPSA needs to further develop alternatives to membership fees as income streams and these products provide an ideal opportunity for IOPSA to earn some marketing income.

In conclusion, IOPSA is in a very good position. The industry as a whole is experiencing very tough conditions and we hope that if we can continue to add real value to our members, we will continue to see growth, even in these tough times. 


 


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