Technology and people : an analysis of the forest workforce, technology and the sourcing decision in forest harvesting in South Africa

Manyuchi, Killian Tendai (2002-12)

Thesis (MScFor)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Technology and People: an analysis of the forest workforce, technology and the sourcing decision in forest harvesting in South Africa. M.Sc. Forestry thesis, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. 124pp. This thesis looks at the profiles of the workforce in forest harvesting in the forestry industry in South Africa. It provides methods and models to measure and understand people (human capital) and technology. It highlights some of the current and strategic challenges in: employee conditions of employment; occupational health and safety; worker nutrition; training; worker dynamics (employee absenteeism and labour turnover); and the technology in forest harvesting. This study puts additional emphasis towards measuring and understanding the grower company/contractor interface (i.e., the contractoring philosophy, contractor profiles and competitive strategies) and discusses the contracting decision by the grower companies. The latter, the contracting decision is important because it forms the foundation and framework upon which forest harvesting contractor businesses are built and the background for both the people and technology dynamics. Forest harvesting employees in South Africa are working in forestry because they cannot get other jobs elsewhere. They have the following profiles and mobility characteristics: median age, 34 years; median completed school level, Standard 3; median time spent working for forest contractors and grower companies, 2 and 7 years, respectively (contractors have been in the business for a median period of 7.5 years); and median labour turnover and absenteeism, 4 % and 6 %, respectively. The employee median daily wage is R24.00 and the budgeted employee training cost per year per employee is R41.40. There is a high level of occupational safety awareness amongst both the contractors and the employees and significantly high injury rates in forest harvesting. Contractors and staff from grower companies believe that the current and future forest harvesting technology depends on the type and nature of contracts between the grower companies and the harvesting contractors, backup services from machine suppliers, the exchange rates between the Rand and other major currencies and worker health linked to HIV/AIDS. The study shows that in forest harvesting, there is a need to develop approaches and business strategies to define and manage the workforce since it is the people and the technology that work together to generate results. The thesis concludes that, human skill and knowledge should form the base of an industry along with logic of systems or operations. The study challenges forest harvesting organisations to measure and integrate human capital and technology with business objectives. Thus, sustainability in forest harvesting in South Africa will depend on the ability of forest harvesting organisations to handle the human dimension and to develop/acquire, exploit and manage technology.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Tegnologie en die Mens: 'n Ontleding van technnology, die dinamika van uitkontrakteer en bosontginnings arbeid in Suid Afrika. M.Sc in Bosbou tesis, Universiteit van Stellenbosch, Suid Afrika. 124 bl. Tegnologie en die mensepotensiaal is van uiters belang in alle industrieë. Technologie moet toepasbaar wees en die mens moet van 'n geskikte gehalte wees met 'n paslike profiel. Hierdie proefskif focus op die tegnologie en die menslikehulpbron in bosontginning en evalueer Suid Afrikaanse Bosbou maatskappye se besluit om uit te kontrakteer. Dit bied metodes en modele aan om die menslikepotensiaal en tegnologie te evalueer en te verstaan. Die klem word geplaas op huidige en strategiese uitdagings in: diensvoorwaardes, beroepsgesondheid en -veiligheid, voiding, opleiding, arbeidersdinamika (arbeidsafwesigheid en -omset) en tegnologie in bosontginning. Hierdie studie plaas verdere klem op die ondersoek en begrip van die interaksie tussen bosbou maatskappy en kontrakteur (b.v. kontrakteur's filosofie, profiel van kontrakteurs en mededingende strategie) en om die bosbou maatskappye se besluit, om oor te skakel na kontrakteurs, te evalueer. Laasgenoemde, is van uiter belang, aangesien dit die fondament en raamwerk daarstel waarom die kontrakteurs se besigheid ontwikkel en dit gee agtergrond tot die dinamika van beide die mens en die tegnologie. Die grootste gedeelte van die arbeid in diens van die Suid Afrikaanse bosbou industrie het daarop gewys dat hulle slegs in die industrie werk omdat daar nie ander werksgeleenthede beskikbaar is nie. Kenmerke aspekte van die arbeidersmag in die Suid Afrika se bosbou industrie is die volgende: middellyn vir ouderdom - 34 jaar; middellyn vir skool qualifikasies - standard 3; middellyn vir dienstydperk by bosbou kontrakteurs - 2 jaar, en by bosboumaatskappy - 7 jaar (middellyn vir tydperk as kontakteur - 7.5 jaar); arbeidsomset en -afweesigheidis 4 % en 6 %, onderskeidelik. Daaglikse arbeidsloon is R24.00 en die begrotte opleidingskoste is R41.40 per arbeider per jaar. Beroepsveiligheid geniet 'n hoë vlak van bewustheid by beide die kontrakteurs en arbeiders. Kontrakteurs en maatskappy bestuurders glo dat die huidige en toekomstige tegnologiese ontwikkeling afhanklik is van die aard van kontrakte, ondersteuning en diens van verskaffers, die wisselkoers en arbeiders se gesondheid (gekoppel aan HIVNIGS). Aangesien die mens en tegnologie gesamentlik bydra tot werksproduksie, bestaan daar 'n behoefde in bosonginning vir die ontwikkeling van naderings en besigheids strategieë om die bestuur van mense en tegnologie te defineer. Die werkstuk beslis dat die menslike kennis en vermoeë, saam met logika van stelsels of activiteite, die fondament van die industie daarstel. Bosontginnings maatskappye word aangespoor om die gebruik van tegnologie te ondersoek, en die menslike hulpbron en tegnologie te meet en met die maatskappy se doelstelling te integreer. Ten slotte, die standhoudenheid van bosonginning in Suid Afrika sal afhang van die vermoeë van bosontginnings maaskappye om die menslike dimensie korrek te kan bestuur en om tegnologie effektief te ontwikkel (of aan te koop), te gebruik en te bestuur.

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