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Strategy evolution

Over the past five years our company strategy has evolved from transformation to transparency to scrutiny as we faced up to the challenges confronting us. With our strengths and weaknesses laid bare we reverted to a basic platform from which to forge a sustainable balance in the way we operated. Now that the foundation has been laid, we can pay attention to the detail that is needed to optimise our business.

A full explanation of the last five years’ annual report theme best captures this development:


In 2007, we used the Japanese art of origami to symbolise transformation, showing how a flat piece of paper can become a work of art. This process may be slow, but behind the scenes there is a flurry of activity happening unseen. We stated that we believe in the value of transformation and value the positive impact it would have on our business.


In 2008, a 3-D rendering of a prototype vehicle served two purposes. Firstly, our stakeholders got a bird's-eye view of the range of components that Metair companies produce. Secondly, the image underscored the transparency that accompanied that year's reporting. We knew that bad news does not translate well in difficult times, but an honest appraisal of challenges and lessons learnt laid a firm foundation for the better times that we were confident would follow on this challenging year.


In 2009, both the automotive industry and Metair found themselves at a crossroads. Crucial decisions in the year ahead would determine whether we accelerated to join the high road or geared down for the low road. Global trends demanded that we revert to the drawing board to rethink, refine and regroup. The call to "get to basics" – symbolised by the visual of the illustrative model above – was never clearer.


In 2010, we used a spirit level to show how Metair had been focusing on precision and balance in all areas of its operations as well as the spirit (the way) we did things. Achieving a sustainable balance was the goal for that year: the balance between markets and products; high costs and labour; and, most importantly, customer expectations and meeting these needs.


In 2011, the image of a craftsman performing fine adjustments through a magnifying glass, honed in on the importance of human focus and adjustment for the current year. The balance established in the prior year is now being finely adjusted to optimise the business for the future. As the image shows, this optimisation depends on the right people with the right focus using the right tools. These tools are necessary not only to develop the right products for the future, but to measure the company’s progress against its strategic goals.