Representatives from national, provincial and local government, academia and the business sector today 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, KwaZulu-Natal 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,’ says Professor Barnes.
The TWIMS campus was officially opened on 26 November by representatives from all tiers of government, Toyota, GIBS, several leading academics, the Toyota SA Educational Trust, and members of the founding Wessels family.
Academic programme starts in 2019
In 2019, GIBS will offer a manufacturing focused masters 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.
Lastly, TWIMS aims to become the 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.
Mrs Elisabeth Bradley, a founding member of the Trust, emphasises that ‘the Trust has 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 further notes that ‘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.’
Prof Barnes notes that TWIMS has 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.
‘While Toyota is globally renowned for its world-class manufacturing practices, TWIMS will cast its net much wider than just the automotive sector. Students are recruited from the full range of manufacturing sectors and associated services, and our case studies, research and field research will reflect this wide focus,’ says Prof Barnes.
‘At TWIMS, we hope to showcase some of the best manufacturing solutions on the continent. Our research covers all sectors – from garment making to high-tech manufacturing – and all tiers of academic knowledge on the industry.’
Located on 74 Everton Road, Kloof in KwaZulu-Natal, the TWIMS campus marries historic architecture with ultra-modern technologies.
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.
TWIMS was created with funding from the Toyota South Africa Educational Trust, which in turn received its seed funding from the Wessels family and Toyota Motor Corporation Japan.
It is incorporated as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), which means any retained income will be used to fund deserving, but needy students from designated groups who would like to study at TWIMS.
TWIMS will report on its activities to the Toyota SA Educational Trust, whose board members will also be responsible for the allocation of any bursaries or funds to deserving students.
The Toyota SA Educational Trust was founded by Toyota SA Motors founder Dr Albert Wessels. Since its creation, the Trust has focused its funding on the development of primary and secondary education through its Toyota Teach Primary School and Toyota Technical Education Programme (T-TEP). TWIMS represents its first formal support of the tertiary sector.
‘With the creation of TWIMS, the Trust will contribute to each level of education. It underscores Toyota’s belief in the power of education as a pivotal investment in the success of other economic endeavours.
‘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,’ says Professor Jonathan Jansen, the chair of the Toyota SA Educational Trust.