At Dolphin Bay, we have been reflecting on the huge leaps forward that our industry had made in just a few years, and came to an exciting conclusion: that together, we are now launching the wood treatment sector into its “adulthood”.
The life cycle of any business, and even an entire industry, can be compared to that of a single person. Decades ago, the few founding fathers of our industry launched their businesses in an era when anything seemed possible. They tested the waters, established companies, and made a few seminal business connections. This was the start, or childhood, of wood treatment in South Africa. We were establishing our identities and exploring new terrain, but our scientific knowledge and business expertise were limited. Nobody knew exactly what the future would hold.
Years later, with little regulation governing our industry and opportunities beckoning, we began an adventurous era of expansion. We were quick to introduce new products, set up treatment plants, and start new business ventures. Our growth was heady and, in these teenage years, anything seemed possible.
In the past few years, the industry has begun a serious process of reflection and substantial improvements. This has occurred in response to both substantial outside pressures and reflection upon our own decades of experience. We have begun to take responsibility for the consequences of all our business decisions and practices; work with the authorities, who have been putting us under increasing pressure to comply with national standards; forming sustainable, win-win business partnerships that will last for many years to come; and testing all our decisions in the light of our growing experience.
In previous issues of the Dolphin Bay Brief, we have outlined the various ways in which the industry is taking responsibility for running responsible, sustainable businesses that produce top-quality treated timber. In summary, these are just a few of the many measures under way:
• Ensuring that treatment operators are properly trained;
• Digitising our treatment processes;
• Taking increasing care to comply with local environmental, and health and safety regulations;
• Obtaining the necessary registrations to do business in other African countries;
• Working collectively to set new, improved SANS specifications;
• Kick-starting much-needed research into timber treatment again, to fill the void that has been growing over the past two to three decades.
We acknowledge that our clients have been working hard to bring their own businesses, and thus our industry as a whole, into this new era of maturity. Thank you to each one of you for your efforts. We are proud to be your partners in this process!