Sasol is a global chemical and energy company, headquartered in South Africa. It was founded in 1950 in South Africa and remains one of the country’s largest investors in capital projects, skills development and technology, research, and development.
Case Study: Sasol
Sasol is a global chemical and energy company, headquartered in South Africa.
In 2017 the company brought together approximately 3000 employees from 17 office locations across Greater Johannesburg into one, custom-built building. Sasol worked with real estate and facilities management company Betapoint, and interior design and space planners Paragon Interface, to realize their vision for the project.
Fay Hoosain, Senior Vice President for Strategic Project at Sasol, explains: “It wasn’t just a relocation to another building, it was rather part of a strategic journey to see Sasol as a collective. But people had a very inward focus, they just wanted to work amongst themselves and not really collaborate.”
By working with Herman Miller, Sasol could create a solution which was bespoke for them. Claire D’Adorante, Director at Paragon Interface worked with Sasol on planning their new space. She comments: “Herman Miller’s insights globally in terms of cutting-edge workplace design, and the furniture, which is associated with that, was very important to the success of the project.”
Sasol’s approach to collaboration was focused on creating a professional space where colleagues are taken seriously, but they are also able to enjoy camaraderie and team spirit within the neighborhoods where they are work. The office has been designed to accommodate a range of working styles from focused, detailed work through to team meetings and workshops.
The new building has brought around a real change to the way people work at Sasol. Adam Sargent, Managing Director at Betapoint and the Program Director of the Sasol project says: “They’ve adopted and embraced the new work environments very well, and we see people working in a far wider range of work settings than they were ever able to in the past.”
This was achieved through the strategic partnership between Herman Miller and Sasol. Fay explains: “For us the key differentiator was having a partner who really works together with you to find solutions. It was amazing to work with a partner to co-create something.”
Part of the strength of the partnership was working with Sasol to develop local manufacturing for some of the products. Robert Keddie, Regional Director for Middle East and Africa at Herman Miller explains why this was important: “One of Sasol’s project requirements was to have a high proportion of local product content, to help support the local economy and reduce environmental impact. We already had local production capability, but in recognizing the importance of this to Sasol, we managed to increase the local content of our Layout Studio workstations to over 90%, by working with both existing suppliers and also developing new local capabilities. The advantage to us is we are able to bring this benefit to future clients as well, so both clients and suppliers see a long-term benefit.”
Fay concludes: “For me personally, it is one of the most gratifying strategic partnerships I’ve been privileged to enjoy.”