‘Teamwork makes the dream work’: the women of B.E.D. make a valued contribution to their company and the industrial sector

“We value each person, irrespective of their gender. Having said that, and while gender diversity is always important, this Women’s month we pay tribute to all the women who contribute not only to our success, but to that of the entire industrial sector.

The women of B.E.D. are an integral part of our foundation – just like fasteners in construction – and are vitally important. Women are making great strides in driving industrial growth, and each one of us in this sector are proof of how rewarding it can be – with limitless opportunities!  As a country, we need to build on this: equipping, mentoring and developing women in traditionally male-dominated sectors,” says Bolt and Engineering’s Group Marketing Administrator, Reinette Human. 

At Bolt and Engineering Distributors Group (B.E.D.) – which has supplied the mining, agricultural, construction and engineering sectors with quality fasteners and equipment since 1983 – women have always played a pivotal role. As a people-oriented company, B.E.D. values the opportunity to celebrate women’s roles in the workplace in August. However, Human is quick to point out that the company’s appreciation for the contribution that women make to the business is ongoing throughout the year.

“There is no differentiation between our male and female team members, and most departments have equal numbers of men and women. However, I believe that the highly valued contribution which women make to the business has much to do with the high standards that they set for themselves.

We know the importance of this both internally and externally. This is a very fast-paced, tough industry and we invest a lot of care and effort on a daily basis. As such, we are all focused on what we term ‘human-to-human’ interaction, especially when we work with suppliers or customers,” she adds.

Another mantra that she believes is particularly relevant to Women’s month is ‘it takes each one of us to make a difference for all of us’: “We all understand that we need to continually do the right things, right – for ourselves and for each other – so that we can all grow and improve,” Human enthuses.

Human points out that the women at B.E.D. also exemplify and embody the Group’s dedication to innovation, safety and quality: “As a ‘human-to-human’-orientated business, we focus on what our customers need. We are always on the look-out for the latest market trends, technology and innovation. That way, we get to be part of positive change within our customers’ businesses. Whether it is equipment that needs to be adapted for a specific project, or which needs to be specially manufactured and designed, we aim to continually – and consistently – get it right,” she says.

She points out that this ethos not only applies to the workplace, but also to what is done in the greater community, with many B.E.D. women participating in social investment initiatives. For Nelson Mandela Day, one branch embarked on a Warm-up Drive and ‘gave back’ to its staff by running a soup kitchen, another had its drivers collect and distribute blankets, jerseys and pre-loved clothing that had been donated by B.E.D. employees and still another did some much-needed gardening at a nearby old age home, ending the day with a braai for residents. They also visited a children’s home with donations of toys and blankets. 

Another example of how B.E.D. has become part of a ‘diversity evolution’ in the workplace is in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a division that is staffed by a specialist all-female team. Human says that this is a rapidly growing market that is growing year-on-year, both in terms of new product introductions and the volumes sold.

This is driven by various factors locally, including proposed new legislation which is trying to streamline strategies and improve the representation of women in the sector. This is aimed at encouraging leaders to make decisions that are in the best interests of women whilst also promoting gender diversity and inclusion at all levels in the workplace.

“Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the supply of PPE that is specifically designed for women. Men and women are of course anatomically different and, because of this, different PPE is required to ensure the right level of protection is maintained.  When PPE does not fit properly, this impacts the wearer’s performance, comfort and safety. PPE that is too big can hinder the wearer’s ability to move freely. The growth in the number of women in previously male-dominated positions within industry and mining, in particular, means that these sectors are having to adapt – and B.E.D. has gone all out to be at the forefront of this trend,” she advises.   

Human believes that having a female PPE team is a “perfect fit” – as they fully understand their colleagues’ safety concerns, performance and comfort needs.  “We offer the popular sizes in D59 acid- and flame-retardant overalls specially designed and cut for women, women’s size gloves, arc safety shoes made in smaller sizes for woman – and even harnesses designed especially for women,” she comments.

B.E.D also enthusiastically upholds the belief that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’, and strong relationships are actively cultivated within the company at all of its 9 nationwide branches.

“We often get complimentary reviews and feedback from customers, thanking female team members for going that extra mile or noticing efficiency and teamwork between different departments. This really shows that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’, as we all work together to build a strong, sustainable company and industry,” she concludes.