As a business, the Associate Business Unit model works well. Economically, things are challenging in Zimbabwe, so if you own a business that is supported, it makes you feel more secure.
Growth means more jobs and more skilled people
“When we opened Malon in October 2011, we were stitching 500 canvas shoes per day,” explains Mr Rutsvara. “Then in 2012, Bata increased production to 3,200 pairs a day, and in 2013 to 5,300. This year we’ve been able to expand even further, adding a new conveyor for leather shoes. So now we have three conveyors in total, two for canvas and one for leather shoes.” What this means for the community is that Malon is providing an increasing number of job opportunities. So more and more local people are benefitting from the salaries Malon’s employees are earning.
One employee could be supporting five members of their family or more
Rumbi has been stitching for Malon since the ABU started three years ago. She worked for Bata for 14 years before moving to Malon, so is one of the most experienced stitchers Malon has. Her job is very important to her, at home she is financially supporting her parents, her younger sister and her sister’s four-year old daughter. At the same time, her own daughter is doing a degree in Computer Science at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, and Rumbi is paying her fees and costs. As a widow, Rumbi alone is depended on to provide for her entire family.
Leading a business with help from Bata
As an ABU, Malon is fully supported by Bata, especially when it comes to machinery, which is all Bata owned. There are also two full time Bata supervisors who are based here continually, making sure the ABU is operating to the Bata standard and maintaining the Bata values and ethics. This covers all aspects of the stitching process, but also how the employees are treated and what provisions are taken to care for their welfare and the environment. Health and safety is a key part of this as Mr Rutsvara describes: “We recently did a fire drill with the support of a team from Bata. Everyone here was involved and it was really motivational to have this close and supportive connection between the two companies.” Bata shares best practices and expertise across all areas of the business, empowering the ABU owners with the knowledge to be the best business leaders they can be.