Fri, 23/02/2018 - 06:55
Current Issue 58
Versatility that Surprises
Positivo BGH has built a trusted reputation in Africa after only four years of operations on the continent, surpassing expectations at every turn and providing exceptional service to its customers
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki
Positivo BGH is renowned for providing reliable and innovative technology products and services, especially for educational purposes, achieved through adapting to the diverse needs of its clients and end users to transform their lives.
In its formative years the Company positioned itself in Argentina as a leading sales entity within the PC market, and as it became more established Positivo BGH branched out to enter both Latin America and Africa.
The Company is the result of a joint venture between two prominent groups operating within South America, named Positivo Tecnología of Brazil and BGH S.A. of Argentina. The former was a particularly intriguing company with an illustrious history in the education sector, founded by teachers and professionals with the prerequisite that it would always be about providing the best education.
“Then there was the equally impressive BGH, an Argentinean Company with more than 100 years of experience in the manufacturing and technology sector,” begins Juan Ignacio Ponelli, Chief Strategy Officer of Positivo BGH. “Between the two groups we were handed a total of 140 years of experience to tap into, not only in the education sector but also technology and manufacturing.”
Over the years since the joint venture was established in 2011, Positivo BGH has started to expand its activities more prominently into manufacturing and developing technology, including computers and smart phones.
“Not only do we have an excellent track record in our educational services, but we now are well renowned in manufacturing consumer products for global brands,” adds Ponelli. “For instance, if you were to buy a Sony smart phone in Argentina, it will be made by us, and the same can be said for both Toshiba computers and Samsung monitors.
“This is something that we are hoping to continuously improve upon and roll out in Africa as we move forward and expand upon our services.”
The two groups joined forces seven years ago after realising that they would be able to bring out the best in each other’s service offering; initially setting out to solely provide operations within Argentina and only for computers programmes. However, due to the Company’s unbounded success, it now delivers one of the biggest programmes for educational technology around the globe.
“Around four years ago we had achieved our business targets for Latin America and subsequently decided it was time to expand the business,” explains Ponelli. “We knew we wanted to go global with the business, and decided that Africa was the place for us to start.”
A competitive advantage for the Company is the fact that it has emerged successfully from a developing country, and was therefore used to running its operations in harsh environments and volatile economies.
Ponelli continues: “We knew that Africa held a unique value proposition for our Company and therefore started to develop our business in Africa, starting with a contract in Rwanda in 2014.”
A year after its move into Africa, the Company’s factory in Rwanda was delivering 150,000 units and proved to be a raving success. Since setting its high standards of delivery from the off, Positivo BGH has continued to deliver on its promises to the local community.
“As well as delivering our service to the industry, we also wanted to help make a difference locally and therefore have made an effort to employ locals,” affirms Ponelli. “More than 95 percent of our staff are local and we have had to put a lot of training hours in to ensure that the standards of service and skill meet the requirements of our clients.”
Due to the fact that this was the first time the industry was being developed in the region, a lot of developmental processes were required, all of which proved to be incredibly successful.
“After our first year we went on to participate in a tender in Kenya, involving an ambitious digital literacy programme,” states Ponelli. “We won the tender in a JV with a local university in order to bring the best of the local knowledge and the technology and experience from our side in these types of projects.
“The required installations were carried out in the school classrooms and by the end of the project we trained more than 16,000 teachers with the required skills to make it a success.”
Despite the success experienced during the past four years in Africa, the Company is still very much in a developmental role.
“If we continue to experience the success we have up to this point, soon we will announce further expansion within Africa,” adds Ponelli. “When looking back at our growth portfolio, we started out with the intention of working with computers and educational programmes.
“However, since starting up operations in Africa we have expanded our services; for instance in Rwanda we are providing smart electricity metres this Q2 and are steadily providing technology for a more efficient measurement and distribution of energy.”
Although Positivo BGH has experienced some difficulties in terms of electricity voltage and structures, as previously mentioned it is used to dealing with this sort of environment and therefore is the perfect Company to come up with solutions.
“With thanks to years of experience, we have established the importance of implementing a strategy that involves engaging with local partners to build strong relationships,” explains Ponelli. “In doing this, we ensure that the entire structure within the industry is being strengthened and not just our Company portfolio.”
When starting a project, the Company has always made it clear that it is planning for long-term outcomes as a part of being a local player.
Ponelli affirms: “Our customers appreciate this aspect of our business and they know that we are not just going to give them a product or service and within one year have completely disappeared, we will be there for them whenever we are required.
“We pride ourselves on delivering high quality products and services at an affordable price, while having the opportunity to develop our services and offering through expansion into new regions.”
An advantage for Positivo BGH when it comes to entering new markets and remaining competitive is its flexibility and ability to customise a product, differing from some of the larger companies in operation.
“We will often sit down with our customers to explore their needs and the direction they would like us to take them in,” continues Ponelli. “We ensure that we deliver the right products for the right performance, but at an affordable price.”
As well as its locally focused work, the Company is looking to branch into providing more end-to-end solutions for bigger corporations as its track record of this service in Latin America was held in high regard.
Ponelli concludes: “Moving forward I hope that we will continue to experience growth both in our local work and larger-scale projects while also expanding our offering across Africa, engaging with local partnerships and continuing the transfer of knowledge and skills for many years to come.”