2019 is looking to be a major year for Maizey Plastics, which has announced changes to its top management. The dynamic leadership team will develop a vision with new ideas and strategies that will see Maizey evolve and reinvent itself in an ever-changing modern business world. The company is working on major upgrades to its 8000sqm national distribution facility in Germiston and will be opening a branch in Pretoria East later this year.
Changes in top management
Maizey Plastics is pleased to announce the appointment of Wessel van der Merwe as the new CEO, which became effective on March 1st, 2019. Van der Merwe started with the company in 1998 as an internal sales person and his incredible work ethic, strong leadership abilities and industry knowledge saw his rise in the organisation from sales to management by 2004. He was instrumental in building Maizey’s aluminium profile product offering and, under his strategic direction, managed the National Sales portfolio for four years before being promoted to Group Purchasing and Operations Director.
Van der Merwe’s vision is to continue to grow the company’s ‘Largest and Most Professional’ Mission Statement, and further improve customer experience. ‘Not only are we the largest supplier, with 24 branches, but our products are also available in the most cities/towns in South Africa and through our partners, servicing neighbouring countries. With 530 permanent employees, we continuously strive to give the most professional service and product advice to our customers. We also offer unparalleled variety to our customers, with just over 5200 product items,’ he said.
Van der Merwe emphasised that every staff member is important and that the company is not a one-man show — everything is made possible with the dedication and loyalty of staff and the continued support of the Executive Commitee and shareholders. ‘We are all passionate about what we do, and our customers mean the world to us. We are a lean management team, but that makes one of our biggest strengths possible: flexibility.’
He succeeds outgoing CEO, Rikki Maizey, who will move into a Chairman role and enjoy continued involvement in the family business that he is so passionate about. Maizey mapped out the way forward for the business: ‘I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a wealth of talent at all levels of our great company and thanks to my staff’s dedication and hard work, we have been able to grow into the successful business we are today. I am giving the younger members of my team the opportunity to take this business forward and build on the strong foundation and ethics that have been laid over the past 69 years,’ he said.
‘Coincidentally, I recently read the interview with my uncle, John Maizey, in the 2002 September/October issue of Sign Africa Journal (formerly PSDG). He’d said: ‘After the age of 50, you should be passing on the reins for young blood to gradually take over the business.’ That time horizon has arrived for me. I am fortunate to be surrounded by an excellent management team, and it is now their turn to shine. This ensures that we keep up with modern trends in business and transition from the ‘baby boomer’ era to the Millennial way of thinking.’
His vision for the company is to continue adding value by creating opportunities for customers, suppliers and employees. He explained how he balances building on the long legacy Maizey has enjoyed and continuously evolving to meet future demands: ‘Global networking with technology partners and product manufacturers ensure that we remain up-to-date as our industry continues to evolve. Being associated with the top global brands in our industry is hugely advantageous as they are continuously doing research and development for new and improved products.’
There are also strategic portfolio changes in the newly restructured executive management team:
• Trevor Norman, Chief Sales Officer Commercial, is now responsible for all branch sales, which include Engineering Plastic Products, exports and Maizey’s new online business, which should be operational by June 2019.
• Kevin Govender, Chief Sales Officer EPP, will continue with his passionate development of the engineering plastics business, with more focus on OEM, end user customers, application development and engineering design consulting.
• Wynne Meyer will join the executive management team, taking over from van der Merwe as Chief Operations Officer, and will be responsible for Group Operations.
The new Business Development Managers include:
• Iain Mc Murray – Rigid Substrates/Flatbed.
• Dorothy Fouche – Architectural.
• Bernice Brits – Aluminium and POP.
• Hamilton Serekwana – Corporate and Specifications.
• Tilla Jordaan – Digital Print Media.
• Trevor Paulse – BDM Western Cape.
Another important change in the organisation is Rakesh Ramroop, who will be taking over the National Procurement function from van der Merwe, effective 1st April 2019.
Maizey is focusing on its Architectural, Aluminium (POS), and Flatbed Print sectors, and the Business Development Managers responsible are preparing for a big year. Trevor Norman, Chief Sales Officer Commercial, elaborated on two of these focus areas:
Flatbed printing: ‘This sector of the market is evolving fast and our focus is not on growing the commodity product offering, but to rather provide quality, niche products and focus on the end-users looking to diversify. Our range features a selection of products positioned at different price points with an increase in ‘green’ printing substrates. Higher quality products provide longer lifespans, are generally less prone to breakage and provide an overall cost saving, all benefits that are often overlooked.’
Architectural: ‘There are a number of traditional commercial products in Maizey’s offering that are or can be applied in interior design or architectural applications. In many instances, clients are not necessarily aware of this. Our architectural focus will address market education, customer product knowledge and the expansion of our architectural product offering.’
The Company At Present
• 24 Sales branches nationally.
• 530 full-time employees.
• A fleet of 62 branded delivery vehicles provide a daily delivery service.
• 60 product groups with an estimated 5200 individual product items.
• National Logistics Centre in Wadeville, Gauteng, with 8000sqm under-roof warehousing.
• Secondary distribution hubs in Pinetown, Kwazulu-Natal, Cape Town and Eastern Cape.
• 33,706.88sqm total under-roof warehouse space in the Maizey group.
2019 Expansion Programme
Besides the new, larger and improved Pretoria East branch, which will support product availability to customers in the area, Van der Merwe is excited about modernising the distribution facility. ‘During the planning phase, we took a step back and looked at it from a customer experience point of view. We asked ourselves: how do we get the right product at the right place at the right time at the right price? This project will promote change throughout the company, right to the customer without changing who we are and what we stand for,’ he said.
Maizey’s commitment to total quality assurance extends from its principal suppliers and manufacturers throughout the Maizey group of companies. The company forges long-standing relationships with its supplier partners and at present represents 42 world-leading international and 83 local suppliers.
Quick Q&A with Wessel van der Merwe, new CEO of Maizey Plastics:
What aspects of working in this industry do you enjoy most?
The industries we operate in are so incredibly diverse that no two days are ever the same. That in itself appeals to me. We serve two main industry sectors, which feed a range of different markets. Our Engineered Plastic Products (EPP) sector’s product offering remains fairly stable with the applications scope offering unique technical challenges. On the flip side, the rapid growth within the digital and graphics industries, continuous new application development and endless designs that take Maizey’s products beyond traditional use really increases the pace. So, our entire portfolio creates for an exciting working environment.
How does one balance building on Maizey’s long legacy and keep evolving to meet future demands?
As the saying goes: ‘adapt or die’. Your seniority cannot be taken for granted. You remain humble and keep building on the original blueprint set by the company’s founder, while listening to your customers and following global trends. The demand is set by the markets we serve.
What are the biggest industry trends?
I have been with Maizey for over 21 years and during this time the biggest industry trend was and still is digital printing. I believe it will still make a huge impact this year as the technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace.
How is Maizey keeping up with the most recent trends?
By listening to our customers, paying attention to the markets and visiting global exhibitions. As a result of technology, the world has shrunk so much and information is more readily available. We chose our suppliers carefully and depend on them to continue to set innovative trends that meet market demands. We work with them on information exchange and skills development seminars to up-skill us as their distribution partner in order to gain the knowledge and competitve edge our customers expect.