The Gold Standard in Tanzanian Transportation
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Callam Waller
Having aggressively expanded its fleet of trucks over the past seven years to meet the overwhelming demand for goods’ vehicles across East and Central Africa, Golden Coach | Golden Fleet Ltd has proudly built a high-profile brand known in Tanzania and the surrounding countries for exceptional customer service and industry expertise.
Starting out as coach transportation Company, Golden Coach in 1990 – an operation which was joined by the establishment of Golden Fleet in 2002 – Founder, Mohamedraza Dewji made the decision to capitalise on the increased demand for goods transportation, particularly in the mining industry. To stand out in this increasingly saturated market, the Company has invested in a series of continuous improvement initiatives, focusing on the quality of its drivers and fleet; as well as implementing the relevant employment practices, and health, safety and environmental challenges that face modern businesses today.
“We have been quick to adapt and implement these practices in our business in order to build on our pre-existing brand and reputation garnered from Golden Coach. Setting the benchmark high remains an important pillar of our business,” says Managing Director, Ali Dewji.
These high standards have allowed the business to diversify in terms of the goods it can carry; such as becoming fully compliant with international legislations and training for an audit of cyanide transportation, which Golden Coach | Golden Fleet has been transporting since 2004. The Company’s services now comprise specialised warehousing, cyanide storage, general storage, consultancy, and logistics and transport services.
Moreover, joining hands with a clearing agency, Freight Forwarders Tanzania Limited (FFT) has enabled the Company to reaffirm the foundations of its excellent customer care and service. “The Managing Director of FFT, Hassan Dhalla, had an excellent vision for the next 10-15 years and their strong ties with the mining sector, together with our level of dedication, meant it was the perfect partnership for both companies,” Golden Coach | Golden Fleet’s Founder highlights.
Specialising in the transportation of bulk goods, machinery and equipment for the mining industry, Golden Coach | Golden Fleet has capitalised on the recent gas reserve discoveries in Tanzania which promise to boost business in the coming years.
“Our fleet of 250 trucks and 270 trailers, as well as supporting vehicles – including several three tonne and 10 tonne trucks, patrol vehicles and spill response units – puts us in a good position to answer the transportation needs of the mining industry now and in the future,” says Ali Dewji.
Working with the local mines has necessitated the adoption of very high health and safety standards throughout Golden Coach | Golden Fleet’s operations. Furthering this aptitude for continuous improvement, the Company is currently aligning the business with the requirements of international standards’ ISO 9001 and 14001 with the hopes to achieve certification soon.
Supported by a team of more than 80 specialised repairmen situated at its workshop, the Group has invested in an end-to-end maintenance and quality process that is designed to continuously monitor possible faults or areas of concern and deal with them in the most efficient way possible.
“We want customers to see what quality means to us. In our industry, the real differentiator is the way we react when something goes wrong and the steps we take to make sure that the incident won’t happen again. With a strong focus on processes and working to international standards, we are enabling the highest quality of delivery and service levels possible,” the Managing Director emphasises.
In readiness for an industry upturn, Golden Coach | Golden Fleet has 20 new trucks in its main yard currently being serviced and fitted with its signature safety and tracking equipment. “We have recently purchased another 1.5 acres adjacent to our main yard on Mandela Road, which has direct access to the port and several container terminals within five-10 minutes travel time. This is where our head office is located; as well as our parking facility, maintenance workshop, painting facilities and our fuel station for private use. Our second yard is located in Mbagala and is used to store our trailers and act as an additional parking facility,” he adds.
As one of Tanzania’s first-adopters of satellite tracking in all its vehicles, Golden Coach | Golden Fleet is keen to keep up-to-date with the latest technological advances and implement those most beneficial to the Company’s needs.
“We are constantly replacing our fleet with the newest and most advanced vehicles in order to offer our customers the best quality of service,” says Ali Dewji. “Having studied abroad in the UK, I was able to return to Tanzania with an informed and more tech-savvy approach to business. I propelled the implementation of the GPS tracking system to monitor our fleet which turned out to be one of the best business decisions we ever made.
“We are still one of the few companies locally who offer a GPS tracking system, which gets updated every three-five minutes via global satellites. GPS gives us a more accurate and much more frequent position status as opposed to GSM which relies on base stations nearby, which can be patchy in certain areas.”
After the successful launch of the GPS tracking system, an ERP system was developed from scratch to streamline existing processes, mitigating the need for paperwork and repetitive data entry.
The transport sector has grown to become one of Tanzania’s biggest industries, which makes recruiting the majority of spare parts and sourcing employees locally a much less daunting task than in previous decades. With 99 percent of its staff sourced from the local area, Golden Coach | Golden Fleet prides itself on hiring locally and taking part in social upliftment in the community.
According to Gallup’s recent 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, only 13 percent of employees are engaged at work. This statistic is something that Golden Coach | Golden Fleet strive to change by creating a motivated workforce with a sense of belonging and incentives to show the Company’s appreciation of each employee encompassing a broad range of rewards; from hosting an employee of the year award ceremony to office trips, bonuses to gifts.
“We have a robust training scheme that consists of several elements that ultimately make our drivers, maintenance crew and support staff the best they can be,” Ali Dewji notes. “Our people and reputation in the market are two key factors that have allowed us to build concrete and long-term relationships with local banks, tyre suppliers, spare part dealers and more.”
Building trust and a strong local reputation has resulted in an impressive 98 percent customer satisfaction rate, something which is reaffirmed by Golden Coach | Golden Fleet’s SMART goals strategy. Mohamedraza Dewji concludes: “We believe in having SMART goals; which stands for ‘Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound’. With this strategy in place, we hope to reduce our incident account to zero major incidents within the next year.
Moreover, by obtaining the ISO certifications, we hope to unlock further opportunities locally and we forecast this will expand our fleet size by 25 percent, pushing Golden Coach | Golden Fleet closer to becoming the leading transport Company in East Africa.”