IndustrySA Issue 53

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Construction and manufacturing remain two of the key industries in South Africa today – with more and more companies venturing into and succeeding in the market. In this month’s issue, we look at one of the leading independent retailers in the country – Build it. Speaking with CEO, Ray Whitmore, he reveals how it is that this company has built upon its reputation as a household brand, cementing its aim to provide the full solution to customers – from foundation to finish.

Despite the mirage of companies that operate in the manufacturing sector, they all seem to maintain that air of originality which is so vital to success. Whether concentrating on family values and historic roots or focusing on maintaining excellent customer service and employee satisfaction, many of the companies we have featured this month, whether in the steel making or business furniture industry, continue to thrive despite the indefinite market economy.

Michael Stein, Managing Director of Ukhuni Business Furniture, attributes much of the company’s continued success over the decades to its above average level of staff commitment: “The economy is under pressure and we need the economy to grow in order to grow our business. The protection of the level of employment we have is critical to our business, the staff really need to trust that this is their home.” It is certainly true that staff contentment and subsequent dedication is paramount – surely it is more beneficial to hire 25 happy employees than 250 who are disengaged and unmotivated?

Staff satisfaction forever comes up trumps when we speak with our feature companies, month on month, and perhaps this is why many South African companies continue to prosper and maintain a healthy client base. A company is only as good as its employees and without these, customers will certainly be far and few between. “Customer is king. You must do what the customer wants and you must look at the customer like they are your last breath, because they are the ones who continuously pay you. If you lose them, you are not going to be sustainable,” explains Lebo Gunguluza. A serial entrepreneur and making his first million at just 27, Mr Gunguluza is a shining example of sheer dedication with an indomitable flair – standing as the epitome of deserved success for the entrepreneurs that will assuredly follow in his footsteps.

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