There are a number of challenges facing each and every person involved in the fuel retail industry. Especially in South Africa, these issues can relate to any number of factors such as local government, oil price changes or a general service decline. But it’s these very issues that SAPRA wishes to address and solve. Let’s take a look at some of these issues and see how we – together with you – can bridge these gaps.
The first of these issues is that the fuel price in South Africa fluctuates monthly. Local factors such as inflation and tax may increase the fuel price at any given time. The international oil price also affects the entire globe—and South Africa is certainly not excluded.
Price-altering factors include:
Fortunately, SAPRA currently fills a gap in this area. We receive early notification of fuel price changes and notify our members ahead of time. Our members are able to take necessary measures in order to prepare for these price hikes – and the occasional decrease.
Another important issue that many fuel retailers overlook is staff management. This is especially true in the event of a labour dispute or a countrywide strike. How to manage these situations often leaves retailers up the creek without a paddle. More often than not, fuel retail owners are left with high settlement costs or are forced to shut down because of staff shortages.
But this does not have to be the case. SAPRA has dealt with all kinds of labour issues related to the fuel retail industry. We are aware of the various procedures that need to be followed and we are happy to relay this information to our members.
Remember: SAPRA is a member of the RMI. Because of this membership, our members benefit from IR specialists who can assist on many motor industry matters.
Many fuel retailers in South Africa have fallen victim to health and safety inspections. These inspections can end well if you are adhering to all the requirements. But often, managers forget to implement the necessary systems or are unaware of which systems to put in place.
Again, we stand in the gap for fuel retailers who are part of the SAPRA group. By providing members with health and safety procedures, we empower them to set up their stations with all necessary requirements. SAPRA also makes a point of emailing reminders to members and notifying them of any changes or updates to OHS legislation.
A big problem that plagues the South African retail industry is poor service. Forecourt attendants are often rude to customers and disgruntled customers are unlikely to return to those stations. There’s also the issue of the station owner losing business because no up-selling is being done by staff – and sometimes managers.
SAPRA provides training guidelines for managers who want to be known for superior service delivery. This includes points such as: