Sowing the seeds for even more concerted growth in the future, Puma Energy Malawi continues to embed itself into the country’s domestic development plans from both an industrial and environmental perspective
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
As Malawi’s leading oil industry operator and with the backing of a globally significant Puma Energy International Conglomerate with Press Corporation Limited, Puma Energy Malawi is compounding its longevity in the country with a series of investments and improvements.
Entering the market in the 1950s - then as Shell - the evolution that has occurred over the following 60-plus years has leveraged its parent Company’s multinational petroleum reputation for growth, diversification and product line development.
Puma Energy Malawi’s Managing Director, Davies Lanjesi introduces: “Puma Energy’s activities in the midstream sector include the supply, storage and transportation of petroleum products, and the Company’s day-to-day activities and growth are underpinned by extensive investment in infrastructure which in turn optimises supply chain systems and captures value for Puma Energy as both asset owner and marketer of products.
“[Meanwhile], Puma Energy’s downstream activities include the distribution, retail and wholesale of a full range of refined products. We have a reputation of trust and commitment to all customers and vast experience of understanding the Malawian market. The Company is involved in supplying petroleum products to a wide spectrum of business sectors including industry, transport, construction, agriculture and mining.”
Operating a total of 60 retail sites across all corners of the county, as well as a fuels and lubricants depot in each of the two regions, and a comprehensive fleet of bulk delivery vehicles; the Company’s influence in Malawi is epitomised by long-term agreements with the Government for the supply and storage of fuels.
“We are therefore positioned as a competitive national marketer of both fuels and lubricants,” Lanjesi continues. “And furthermore, Puma Energy Malawi is indisputably an industry leader in health & safety practices and in environmental standards. We believe that good health, safety and environmental performance is an integral part of efficient and profitable business management.”
Such considerations and commitment to continuous improvement across all facets of the business help to facilitate a more flexible approach to the industry - its fluctuations and trends. At present, the escalated use of renewable energy serves as an apt example to this end, and Puma Energy Malawi is replying in kind through the installation of renewable power sources at its retail sites in the near future. The business is also a key stakeholder in the introduction of ethanol-driven vehicles in the country as a further renewable step forward.
“In summary, Puma Energy Malawi arguably has the best grasp of the sector, and the best nationwide distribution network, and in the event that emergency supplies are required, Puma Energy Malawi also has the size, resources and staff commitment to implement a number of contingency plans which place a high priority on ensuring that our customers do not run short of products.”
Unprecedented set of services
Over the years Puma Energy Malawi’s concerted development has been driven and guided by three core company values, encapsulating passionate, pioneering and performance.
The first ‘P’ ensures the delivery of quality products and services via a workforce that is committed to increased prosperity of stakeholder communities.
“Puma people work hard to deliver the best possible value,” the Company affirms, “and we deliver performance through people that are dynamic and enthusiastic. We care about customers and are committed to best practice standards. Puma people bring their A-game to work every day”.
The concept of being pioneering is perhaps the most critical facet, especially given the duration of time that Puma Energy has managed to remain so in Malawi.
“Puma people are entrepreneurial,” to this end, the Company adds. “Always innovating, they’re prepared to try fresh approaches in order to respond to customer needs and market opportunities in a flexible way. Puma people lead the way and make a difference.”
Applying these overriding philosophies across all regions of Malawi from very strategic locations, it is no surprise that the Company has evolved to become a preferred fuel supplier in Malawi; its leadership position attributed to both excellent customer service and safety practices that have led to the Puma Energy name becoming synonymous with notions of trust, commitment and - of course - project success.
Lanjesi explains: “In recent times, we have continued to upgrade our retail network and built new retail sites on a yearly basis. Our experienced staff are always meeting potential customers and project developers. A few of our new retail sites includes Bangwe retail site which was commissioned in the last quarter of 2016 and Kameza site which was commissioned in first quarter in 2017.
“We are also in the final stages of opening another modern retail site in the capital city of Malawi which will offer an unprecedented set of services to our customers at Palm Rock Shopping Centre.”
Over the years, Puma Energy has also enhanced its reputation through projects such as the Paladin Uranium Mine which consumed as much as 15 percent of gas oil in the country at peak production. No matter the project though, every customer reports positively about the Puma Energy experience, noting a lack of supply interruption and a personable partnership as two main contributors to the mutually-beneficial relationship.
Projects don’t just revolve around industrial application though. An integral facet of Puma Energy’s strategy in each country of operation has been its willingness to ingratiate the business into each nation’s local fabric. And Malawi is no different, as seen through a number of CSR projects entered into over the years, comprising safety programmes aimed at improving road safety for children, and an environment-focused tree planting project which began back in 2013.
As ever, ongoing improvement is the name of the game from this perspective, with the business never shy to invest where necessary. From an operational perspective, this is recently transpiring in the form of numerous technological, equipment, facility, administrative and personnel refinements.
“On the technology front, we are operating a fuel card system that is pre-loaded with values for our customers at National Bank,” Lanjesi details. “The customers use the card to pay for fuel and lubricants from our retail sites anywhere in Malawi. This innovative solution is secure, reliable and environmentally friendly and our customers receive real-time reports on the usage of the card and fuel utilisation for their vehicles among other reports.
“Equipment-wise, we have purchased state-of-the-art trucks to service our aviation customers at the two international airports, Chileka and Kamuzu. The service vehicles will facilitate refuelling of any size of aircraft that will land at the airports now and into the medium-term.”
Restaurant and shop upgrades at some retail sites epitomise the facility strand of Puma Energy’s investment drive in Malawi while the business is also a pioneer in the installation of water tanks at sites to ensure the availability of water for customers. Sustainability is also addressed visa the supply of standby diesel generators.
“Finally, the Company puts great emphasis on recruiting and retaining local talent,” Lanjesi adds. “In fact, all the staff members at the moment are Malawians, but we do receive various coaching and guidance from our regional office.”
A similar localised focus is adopted from a supply chain management perspective too, aiding levels of efficiency and enrichment in equal measure.
And when every human resource, CSR, supply chain and operational structure is combined, it makes Puma Energy Malawi’s decades of dominance all the more understandable.
“In the years to come, Puma will increase its market leadership position to a significant level ahead of the next competitor,” Lanjesi concludes. “Importantly for our future in Malawi though, Puma will have planted more trees to address the severe deforestation in the country.
“Since 2013, Puma Energy Malawi, in partnership with journalists, retail leaders and community leaders, has planted trees in various locations of the country. The prevailing plan is to plant up to one million trees.”