“We can facilitate the transactions to form an alliance for Japanese companies.” --Interview with an executive chairperson of a consulting company in South Africa--
Majeke Macheke Consulting
Mr. Collin Macheke (Executive Chairperson)
Many business people from abroad including the emerging countries have participated in AOTS training programs. Positions of the targeted participants vary with the programs including the ones for top executives.
We conducted an interview with an executive chairperson of a consulting company in South Africa.
Growing and connecting companies
We run a management consulting firm concentrating on areas such as small business development, business finance facilitation, fund raising, training, mentorship and coaching. We support SMMEs (Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises) to grow their business. In South Africa, the economy is growing very slowly and there is a government strategy to grow those small businesses to balance the existing imparity. To grow businesses, you need experienced consulting experts. That is our task. We assist them with their strategy by looking at them in depth and mentoring them. We also make deals for them. We connect these companies to other companies all over the world. Depending on the particular sector, we play a different role in guiding them to where they need assistance.
We focus on all sectors but particularly franchising, mining, agriculture, construction, hospitality, manufacturing, and finance. We deal with strategy development and implementation, feasibility studies, and research, etc.
The company has been in operation for six years and we currently have 9 employees. Since we have a flat structure, our management has an owner management and participatory management philosophy. Performance is driven through deliverables, and through openness we provide an atmosphere that leads to optimum performance from employees. We have the strong belief that our people are our greatest assets. We share our visions with employees to motivate them. Since each employee needs different training to develop him/herself, we always encourage them to develop through a purposeful individual development program, mentorship and also self-development.
A lot of small businesses are collapsing
-Please tell us about business customs of your country. How do you address your challenges?
At the present moment, the South African economy is growing at a slow pace, so a lot of businesses are collapsing. There is still the issue of transformation, where previously disadvantaged people are developed to be able to participate in the economy.
- Moreover, the diversity of the population coupled with a low skill base makes a company-run business very difficult, although people have working ethics and the working environment is highly unionized.
As a company, the following are currently our main challenges:
- Developing employees to optimum productivity
- Effectively marketing the company with minimum resources
- Building long-term strategic relationships that are financially rewarding to contribute to the sustainability of the company
- Generating sufficient business going forward
To address these matters, our company handles its operations by setting up systems and processes including:
- Positioning the company to become niche based and sign lasting contracts with clients
- Training of employees to understand the philosophy of the organization
- Subscribing to programs such as offered by AOTS to streamline operations
- Looking at formalizing partnerships with established businesses
Many things to exchange with Japanese industry
Currently, we do not have partnerships with global companies such as Japanese companies. We are however interested in teaming up with Japanese companies.
Since Japan also has many small businesses, we would like to form an alliance and extend their business by establishing networks, forging partnerships, training and funding.
The world is changing very quickly. We have got the Fourth Industrial Revolution of ICT industry. Even if we are from a developing country we still have many things to exchange with Japanese industries. We are looking forward to coming to Japan or welcoming Japan to do our business together.
Small and growing
-Please tell us the current market environment of your business in your country.
Currently our company is small and growing. We are looking at consolidating certain opportunities. For instance, we just landed a contract to run a small business development program for a mining company within the villages in which it operates.
There are many players as there are no barriers to entry. However, many are not specialized. As a founder of the company, after having had many years’ experience of working for banks, I am well versed in the SMME development across South Africa.
We can facilitate the transactions for you.
-Do you have any comments to Japanese people or companies?
In 2008, I attended an SMME program in Yokohama, so this is the second time for me to participate in an AOTS program. My impression about Japanese companies is that they have made 5s and Kaizen a way of life. The most critical part is the philosophy of the companies that answers the question, “Why are we in business?” That is all reflected in the mission of the company. When we visited the Japanese companies during the Program on Corporate Management for Africa, we found that all the managers we spoke to put emphasis on the mission. It seems work is being done to make sure that the company's mission is embedded at all levels within the organization, particularly on the factory floor.
The most touching moment was visiting Omron Kyoto Taiyo Co. Ltd. Here is a company that stands on its own two feet and yet employs many disabled people. Their pay-off line, "No charity, but a chance!" says it all. By using science and technology, they assist employees with physical challenges to be productive. They have modern workshops and they enter into credible joint ventures with reputable companies.
We are eager to do business with Japanese small companies in any industries. You can ask us to extend your business in South Africa, so that we can facilitate the transactions between Japanese companies and South African companies.
Thank you very much for your kind understanding and cooperation.