Aiming High in Madagascar
With a continuous improvement strategy at the heart, Moustafa Hiridjee, CEO at OceanTrade Madagascar, discusses the current state of the market within the country
Writer: Sean Galea-Pace | Project Manager: Ben Weaver
Madagascar’s automotive sector is full of opportunity.
With the manufacturing sector undergoing significant transformation as a result of the influence of new technology within the space, it is now more important than ever before to adopt an agile mindset and leverage the latest technologies to keep up with competitors.
And since its founding over 30 years ago, OceanTrade Madagascar has become a leading player in the field of car dealerships (car sales, spare parts and after-sales services) as well as in the distribution of industrial supplies within Madagascar.
OceanTrade is constantly striving for continuous improvement. And driving operations is Moustafa Hiridjee, CEO at the organisation. It is his belief that his firm’s agility acts as its competitive advantage. “Most competitors are multinational corporations, we are a family business and not acting as mere shareholders but fighting the tide on the ground,” he explains. “We are swift, quick decision makers. We have embraced the transformation and made it our motto to try and make the change.”
Upon beginning work at the Viseo Foundation, Hiridjee had started to notice that most associations were inefficient in terms of project management and were mostly disappointed. “Instead of just giving aims, I felt the need to have a structure with dedicated executives managing projects from A to Z rather than episodic volunteers,” says Hiridjee. “My focus was the lack of education and I feel it is the root of most social disease in Madagascar. This is vital because children are the future of our nation and there’s a challenge to build 100 school rooms over the next five years.”
OceanTrade is one of the biggest automobile concessioners in Madagascar. The company specialises in solar energy engineering, car dealership, agriculture, building construction as well as in selling and distribution of industrial materials. OceanTrade Madagascar sits under the Viseo Group, along with Elecdis, Continental Auto and Izy Rent. The Viseo Group is renowned as a productive investor and is structured to better support the major actors of the Malagasy public and private sectors in their development research. Today, the organisation consists of 25 percent of the Malagasy market share.
OceanTrade Madagascar covers the fields of energy, agriculture and industry, supporting Malagasy industrialists with its partners throughout the world. “The trust worldwide manufacturers have on us is a huge asset,” discusses Hiridjee. “We would not grow without them. In order to achieve key success in our line of business, this isn’t solely accomplished by the customer relationship, the supplier partnership is just as important. Those multinationals are the heart of development and they take us forward with them.”
Inside the Viseo Foundation
Recognised as a public utility approved by decree, in council of the government, as a lever of economic and social development, the Viseo Foundation aims to intervene in the fields of health, education and culture.
It supports access to school and vocational training and the implementation of projects in the education system aiming for excellence. Its key objectives are to participate in projects to extend hospitals and health facilities. It seeks to promote inter-community culture and national heritage, in order to make it a factor of exchange and sharing in a bid to live better together.
The Viseo Foundation was initially formed by the industrial group Viseo, consisting of OceanTrade, Havamad, Continental Auto and IzyRent. In total, the organisation brings together over 700 people from across Madagascar and maintains business flow with over 50 international partners.
Elecdis, a branch of Oceantrade, is the department dealing with solar energy. A productive and beneficial solution for the environment, this branch is a company on an international scale. Considered an expert in its field, Elecdis can provide studies on projects concerning renewable energy with all the needed details and with the expectations of the customers fulfilled. Meanwhile, Havamad is one the youngest of all and it interferes in the section of food processing, especially in the industrialising and distribution of fruits in Madagascar.
Talent management is a key component of OceanTrade’s strategy. To Hiridjee, developing trust is paramount to long-term success. “It’s hard to work with someone you don’t trust even if they are the best in their area of expertise,” he explains. “We try to let people create and express themselves without putting them in a cage or a box. I believe making someone feel needed and trusted is one of the best ways to boost motivation.”
It is clear the Viseo Group and indeed, OceanTrade Madagascar, are displaying no signs of slowing down and remain determined to dominate not just the commercial and economic domains in the country but also charities through the Viseo Foundation.
“I believe solutions and strategies will emerge from the inside,” explains Hiridjee. “We need our people to keep on training. HR’s mission in the next two years is to accelerate continuous training within our people so they never stop learning. With an upgraded mindset, suggestions of business diversification will emerge and incubate.