Workplace Challenge Programme (WPC)

The Workplace Challenge Programme (WPC) is a focused supply side intervention of the dtic, managed by Productivity South Africa, aiming to actively encourage and support negotiated workplace change towards enhancing productivity and world-class competitiveness, best operating practices,  continuous improvement, lean manufacturing, while resulting in job creation.

The WPC assists South African manufacturing, agriculture and agro processing, mining and beneficiation businesses. WPC is operated in the context of enterprises participating in regional clusters that are made up of five to seven companies in the industrial areas of all of the provinces. The clusters are facilitated over a period of 24 months by Productivity SA coaches called Change Facilitators. The WPC is a joint initiative of the National Economic Development Labour Council (Nedlac) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic).

Objectives of the Workplace Challenge Programme* (WPC)

The key objectives of the WPC programme include:

  • Implementing leadership practices in participating enterprises that promote teamwork, participation, continuous learning and flexibility.
  • Focusing on simultaneous improvement of quality, speed/delivery; cost and morale in participating enterprises.
  • Establishing close links with customers and suppliers of participating enterprises
  • Driving both linear (kaizen) and non-linear (kaikaku) improvement initiatives within the participating enterprises.
  • Eliminating all forms of waste and making value flow within participating enterprises.

*Productivity SA – following Womack, James P. & Daniel T. Jones (1996) Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Simon & Schuster.

WPC Programme’s Workplace Transformation Toolkits

The Workplace Challenge Cluster Programme utilises five Workplace Transformation Toolkits to effect development within companies participating Workplace Challenge clusters.

  • Management system toolkit
    • The Management System of the Workplace Transformation Toolkit aims at helping organisations to make a successful transition to a culture of continuous improvement. The Management System teaches participants to apply the principles of plan–do–check–act or plan–do–check–adjust (PDCA) – to plan, to implement according to plan, to review plans, to take corrective actions, and to celebrate achievements. It teaches participants about consistent and regular communication and to start off on the right foot by having a purpose and a vision for the transformation of their workplace.
  • Goal alignment toolkit
    • Performance is only possible if common goals are owned and pursued by all teams. Goal alignment is often the first Toolkit implemented by the WPC Coaches. The toolkit aims to encourage communication and aligning goals and targets throughout the organisation, down to first-line team level; aligning top-down and bottom-up management; creating effective organisation structures so that everybody will know where they fit in and what they are responsible for.
  • Cleaning and organising toolkit
    • Cleaning and organising is one of the most important foundations for continuous improvement. Cleaning and organising is about making work easier and creating a functional, visually organised workplace of which people are proud. A sustained, high level of implementation supports high levels of safety, quality and productivity, low cost and fast, on-time delivery. Cleaning and organising is also known as 5S, sort and discard: set in order: shine: standardise and self-discipline.
  • Teamwork toolkit
    • Teamwork is one of four foundation elements of the Workplace Transformation Toolkit. It aims at creating an understanding of the importance and role of teamwork in workplace and business improvement; it helps to create a culture of continuous improvement; the toolkit equips teams with the knowledge to implement small group activities and Kaizen projects; it equips teams with the knowledge to apply basic problem solving techniques
  • Leadership toolkit
    • The aim of leadership is to strengthen the skills of every first-line manager to develop, lead and inspire productive teams to ensure that all team members are developed to their full potential. The managers of team leaders play an important role in the successful implementation WPC programme, they need to coach their team leaders on an ongoing basis, on the skills introduced by the WPC Programme, as well as provide support for implementation of other elements of the Workplace Transformation Toolkit.
  • Green productivity toolkit
    • The WPC Coaches use the Green Productivity Toolkit to coach participating enterprises to implement Kaizen projects aimed at improving their own carbon footprint; water footprint; chemical footprint; paper footprint and human energy footprint

Facilitation / coaching approach 

Productivity SA provides Continuous Improvement / Best Practice Coaching and doing regular audits, to assist Cluster members with the implementation of Workplace Transformation Toolkits. The coaching process focuses on developing capacity in companies to understand Operational problems and implement a Continuous Improvement Culture and solutions by themselves.

Benefits of cluster membership

  • Participating enterprises are assisted to focus on business objectives and alignment throughout the organisation.
  • Enterprises are coached towards improved competitiveness and service delivery through continuous improvement of quality (improving customer satisfaction), speed (ensuring on-time delivery), cost-effectiveness (reducing reject rate / waste) and morale (reducing absenteeism).
  • Enterprises often see immediate, results in the workplace, in the form of a visually clean and well-organised workplace.
  • Leaders and teams are equipped with the tools and skills to implement world-best practices. Companies are coached in implementing world-class manufacturing principles.
  • Usually one of the results is enhanced teamwork and spontaneous participation, continuous learning and useful product or process innovations from the shop floor.
  • Attendance of Milestone Workshops where participants can benefit from mutual sharing in the lessons learned by each.

How to join the Workplace Challenge Programme

Any stable enterprise, from micro, small, medium sized, up to large or corporate companies, in the manufacturing, agriculture and agro processing, mining and beneficiation sectors may approach the WPC Programme contacts in the Regions to sign a contract with Productivity SA (the WPC Programme) for participating in the 24  months programme. The Regional WPC will make an appointment for discussing the implementation of the WPC Programme, before contracting. Participation fees payable

Participation is subsidised by the dtic, on a sliding scale as follows:

  • Black owned SMEs smaller than 50 employees – 90% subsidy. The enterprise pays 10% to Productivity SA, based on the number of coaching / support days needed
  • Small enterprises between 15 to 100 employees – 78 to 76% subsidy. The enterprise pays 22 – 24%.
  • Medium enterprises between 101 to 400 employees – 67 to 64% subsidy. The enterprise pays 36 to 33%.
  • Large enterprise between 401 to 700 employees – 53 to 49% subsidy. The enterprise pays 47 to 51%.
  • Corporate enterprises between 701 to larger than 900 – 40 – less than 38% subsidy. The enterprise will pay more than 60%, based on a customised quote.

Notice pertaining to the processing of personal information

WPC Programme contacts:


Justice Tshifularo: Senior Manager WPC Programme 011 848 5315
Manuel Netili: Gauteng Regional Project Manager 011 848 5364
Phila Ngcobo: KwaZulu Natal Regional Project Manager 031 268 9770
 Pieter de Bruyn: Western Cape Regional Project Manager 021 910 8149


Print Friendly, PDF & Email