Contributing to What the Mind Wants

October 2022

-The Success of Phumzile Engineering

Edition 2 of the Siyakhula newsletter, saw Martie Mpilo share her experiences as an entrepreneur playing in the “big boys” league. This issue was published almost a year ago, we now take a brief glimpse into her success between then and now. Her company, Phumzile Engineering, specialises in selling and maintaining motor graders in the Limpopo Province. Despite experiencing periodic setbacks, Martie says she would never bow out and choose another field. Although Martie is a scientist by profession, her heart has found its home in this field. Facing the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry has been her key drivers to success.

Martie’s tenacious spirit has touched many lives and has served as an encouragement to those who surround her, by leading by example and working hard today for tomorrow’s benefit. Her success in entrepreneurship led to her receiving the opportunity to stand on the centre stage and share Phumzile Engineering’s journey at the Barloworld Siyakhula Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) Summit 2022. The results of her appearance at the summit have been extraordinary. The exposure has not only given Martie a solid standing in this industry but has also afforded her the opportunity of growing her business through collaborative undertakings and a new league of clients. Mentorship has also opened its doors to Martie as her company moves forward on its journey to become South Africa’s top female-owned and managed earth-moving company.

Being a beneficiary of the Barloworld Siyakhula programme has allowed Martie’s company to constantly transform as they strive to become leaders in South Africa’s competitive market. Phumzile Engineering can now boast of its very own collection of branded fleet vehicles. Branding is a key marketing strategy all entrepreneurs should consider, as the exposure of the brand catches the public eye and builds intrigue in the mind. What the eye sees contributes greatly to what the mind wants. Martie can attest to that, acknowledging an increase in walk-in clientele and telephonic queries, reporting that they had seen the branded vehicles and sought to contract the services of Phumzile Engineering. This strategy has also promoted an influx of private clientele seeking the services of her company, which is something quite new to Martie as most of her clients are municipalities and other government entities. As part of the company’s ongoing growth strategy, they are in the process of establishing a quality management system (QMS), as well as working towards ISO certification, a requirement of most of the client contracts they wish to procure.

All in all, Phumzile Engineering continues to grow, and Martie says that her success is not hers alone but is shared with her beloved workforce. Their hard work does not go unnoticed and Martie claims that there is no definite secret behind it all. Only that as a woman managing a company of this type she fills the role of a team player, allowing everyone freedom of expression. However, if the occasion arises and she needs to put her foot down, she does so with immediate acknowledgement from the staff who respect that the boss has spoken. One other element that keeps her company on top of its game is recording everything. This is a message Martie conveys to all entrepreneurs, especially women: "record every detail of every project, including times and dates, observations, the actual work procedure, completion observations and dispatch details. This will assist with any customer queries or complaints." With that in place, Martie stands her ground as a woman who owns a company of its stature and as a result, Phumzile Engineering thrives.

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