New non-profit Manufacturing Institute opens in KwaZulu-Natal

28 November 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201812885

Education & Training
 New non-profit Manufacturing Institute opens in KwaZulu-Natal
From left: Dr Johan Van Zyl, Elisabeth Bradley, Dr Rob Davies and Prof Nicola Kleyn

REPRESENTATIVES from national, provincial and local government, academia and the business sector this week welcomed the establishment of South Africa’s newest manufacturing institute and academic research hub – the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS).

TWIMS is situated in Kloof and will welcome its first group of students in 2019. It has partnered with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) which will deliver the academic programme. A team of leading academics – led by Professor Justin Barnes, the new TWIMS Executive Director – has developed the manufacturing-focused curriculum.

“We believe that manufacturing holds the key to the long-term, sustainable development of the South African and African economy. Unfortunately, this sector’s contribution to our gross domestic product is in decline. We hope to address that by developing a new generation of world-class, business-minded manufacturing specialists,” said Barnes.

The TWIMS campus was officially opened on 26 November 2018 by representatives from all tiers of government, Toyota, GIBS, several leading academics, the Toyota SA Educational Trust, and members of the founding Wessels family.

In 2019, GIBS will offer a manufacturing focused master’s in business administration (MBA) and a post graduate diploma in business administration (PGDip) at TWIMS. The manufacturing-focused MBA includes a range of unique electives in lean operations management, lean supply chain management, African trade and industrialisation, green manufacturing and future manufacturing.

TWIMS will also facilitate and host a number of non-academic programmes, including executive development programmes, short certification courses, specialist conferences and thought leadership seminars.

Additionally, institute aims to become a hub for manufacturing research in Africa. For this purpose, it is creating dedicated research fellows and is facilitating links with manufacturing research centres across the world.

Elisabeth Bradley, a founding member of the trust said it “invested for many years in upgrading technical facilities and teaching skills in many schools in the eThekwini area and this investment in a higher education tuition centre in partnership with GIBS represents a pinnacle achievement for the trust”.

Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Europe and a trustee of the Toyota SA Educational Trust said “the creation of a deep manufacturing culture (‘monozukuri’ – which means making things in Japanese) has contributed to the development of Asian economies such as Japan, Thailand and Korea. I believe we need to start building a similarly deep culture of manufacturing – in its widest possible interpretation – in South Africa. The development of this culture can transform South African society”.

Barnes said that TWIMS had already created structures for the study of manufacturing on a macro (global and regional markets, industrial policy), meso (infrastructure development and clustering) and micro (training, management models) level. It also has a dedicated focus on green manufacturing, future technologies and applied lean research.

The TWIMS campus is housed in the historic Crowhurst Manor, which was built at the turn of the twentieth century by the industrialist Sir Guy Hulett. While the historic sections of the property have remained intact, TWIMS will add an auditorium, and has already added classrooms with high-speed links to global academic partners and a modern technology “sandbox” that will allow for the testing of manufacturing concepts on site.

The campus also has a boutique hotel for visiting students and academics, and a coffee shop, exercise facility and library.

“We trust that our contribution to creating a sustainable and flourishing manufacturing culture in South Africa and on the continent will support the efforts of government and the private sector to develop our economy,” said Professor Jonathan Jansen, the Chair of the Toyota SA Educational Trust.

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