Servaco PPS has grown exponentially over the past two decades to become Ghana’s, and indeed West Africa’s, primary industrial facilitator with customer satisfaction at its core
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
As a leading supplier of high quality industrial and mining products, technical services and innovative solutions, Servaco PPS Limited can class itself as a truly all-encompassing industrial provider in the West African sub-regional market.
Celebrating its 20th year in 2018, the Company’s rise to full turnkey status is all the more remarkable when analysing its humble beginnings; where the initial entity, Process & Plant Sales Ghana Ltd (PPS) solely operated from its native country, Ghana.
Subsequently, by virtue of capital injection and strategic investments in 2013 and 2014, Servaco PPS has since gone on to establish a unique identity, not just in Ghana, but across the wider region; and now offers more than 100 products from 16 of the world’s leading industrial brands.
“This is more than any other local supplier in West Africa, enabling the Company to meet customers’ industrial needs right across the supply chain,” introduces Managing Director, Rudolph Matey. “Servaco PPS’ sales team are experts in their fields; trained engineers who appreciate their customers’ needs and understand the very latest innovations and technology to help increase their productivity.
“Over the years, Servaco PPS has grown steadily to become a leading supplier of industrial consumables and services to the mining, quarry and construction; industrial; oil & gas/marine; and power, water and telecom sectors in West Africa.”
Thriving as both a flexible and customisable facilitator of each respective industry, and indeed a turnkey provider able to oversee all industrial applications; strategic hubs in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone now host a knowledge staff and expertise that represents a sector yardstick in the region.
Rudolph continues: “Our current business activities are focused on four sectors: power, water and telecom; mining, quarrying and construction; oil, gas and marine; and general industrial.
“The former especially is booming in West Africa with more than 25 power generation, transmissions and distribution companies in West Africa. To this sector, Servaco PPS serves power generations, barges, renewable energy producers, telecoms companies, power transmitters and distributors, and community water and sanitation plants.”
Of course, the second facet of mining, quarrying and construction forms a pivotal portion of West African economy; as does the oil, gas and marine domain where Servaco PPS serves ports, harbours and docks as well as a host of oil exploration and production companies, oil refineries, gas processing plants, floating barges and many more operators.
“West Africa is home to some of the continent’s fastest growing economies, many of which are fuelled by the vibrant marine, oil and gas industries,” Rudolph says. “Oil & gas exploration in selected countries has resulted in many opportunities for these states, which are at different stages of economic development.”
The final strand addresses the rapid industrialisation that is occurring across the region at present in conjunction with all aforementioned sectors. Transforming both businesses and indeed wider economies, the opportunities arising from industrialisation are rife and Servaco PPS consequently represents countless global brands as sole distributers, agents or dealers to this end.
Oil refineries, flour mills, sugar mills, plantations, pharmaceuticals, breweries, manufacturing, agriculture, transport and cosmetics reflect just a minute percentage of this particular division, and - alongside the oil & gas segment - are beginning to match up to Servaco PPS’ previously paramount attentions which focused largely on mining and construction domains.
“Our diversification programme is on course to reduce our over-exposure to the risk associated with the mining industry and the oil & gas sector seems to be the sector with most potential for the growth of our business,” Rudolph confirms in demonstrating agility as part of the Company’s continuous improvement ethos. “Throughout the Company’s evolution, our continuous improvement strategies have centred on the total quality management concept (TQM) which focuses primarily on customer satisfaction, employee involvement, process enhancements, and communication. Essentially, Servaco’s total quality management is something that is integrated into every practice within the Company in order to strive for excellence within all business components.”
Becoming leaner, more efficient, less wasteful and more resourceful are similar strategies being applied to this strive for excellence at present which in turn is having a positive effect on employee morale and wider industry reputation.
Value stream mapping is an additional technique being adopted here as each step within every process, in every division of Servaco PPS is honed off the back of comprehensive data in order to improve internal efficiencies and external quality of service.
“Value stream mapping is a great tool to help identify areas of waste, to reduce process times and to improve overall current processes,” Rudolph states. “To be ahead of the competition, we adopt the use of latest technologies such as this to improve our business operations, while engaging in specialisation - rather than generalisation - across our selling approach.”
Acclaimed recognition and reputation
Central to the business’s success is the technical service provided in support of its products, which is facilitated by continuous innovations such as value stream mapping and lean supply. The second key barometer of Servaco PPS’ success though is its portfolio of projects; all of which have been attained through a competitive bidding and tendering process.
“Some of the key services undertaken for our clients include, but are not limited to, corrosion and wear prevention services for major mining clients in Ghana, Burkina Faso & Mali; project procurement for soap manufacturing for the Unilever plant in Ghana; conveyor belting splicing for key mining installations; grinding media supply to mining companies; and process automation and calibration of equipment for the oil & gas industry,” Rudolph lists. “Additional major contracts in place for 2018 then include the supply of mining chemicals; grinding media; conveyor belting; laboratory equipment; the supply of analytical and testing equipment; and welding equipment and consumables for our various clients across our four main sectors.”
Since 2013, such projects have been confidently achieved with the support of extensive, internal capital investments; not just on the tech front as previously explored but also across areas of equipment, facilities, administration, and even human resources.
Resultantly, the Company has witnessed the unveiling of new ERP software, a new fleet of vehicles, office renovations and expansions, warehousing enhancements, and a series of customer-focused administrative improvements.
Ultimately though, as Rudolph emphasises, the Company’s greatest asset remains the latter aspect of human capital.
“One of the sources of our acclaimed recognition and reputation in the industry is our skilled employees,” he details. “Through a dynamic, research-driven and experienced team, Servaco PPS stands out in most areas. We have created an environment where we see the team as a family. We show a lot of interest even in the personal lives of the staff body.
“Staff training which involves both local and overseas training is key to maintaining the level of competence that the market demands to enhance business competitiveness. And, importantly, all our staff are locally recruited, based on our local manpower development policy.”
Servaco PPS’ supply chain strategy cuts an equally considered and local-when-possible mould, helping to align the Company with likeminded organisations and decision makers to ultimately ensure safety and quality for the end user.
Trust and loyalty are therefore vital when forming such alliances and Servaco can thankfully allude to a number of long-term relationships based on values of communication, risk sharing, speed of delivery, flexibility, cost effectiveness and, of course, ability.
“The structure and quality of our relationships, networks and alliances among all supply chain partners are based on communication, trust and collaboration to ensure that a sustainable supply chain remains a strategic advantage for us,” Rudolph emphasises. “And while Sevaco may be local once again in its nature in this regard, we are always open to global sources in order to cover a wider array of possibilities to meet customer requirements.
“As such, the Company has developed standing business relationships with major brands in the industry, called Principals. This has been the bedrock of our uniqueness; a strong pillar to our growth; and pivotal for acquiring new resources, sharing business development costs, enhancing competitiveness, dividing risks, setting standards, and entering new markets.”
Ultimately, Rudolph intends on leveraging these partnerships and indeed Servaco’s own unique capabilities to stay on top and to remain West Africa’s leading industrial solution and support provider. Achieved as a customer-centric entity, the business can leverage 20 years of experience and reputation establishment to compound this drive; but the ambition doesn’t just stop here, as the MD describes in relation to the Company’s four-pronged growth barometer moving forward.
“Alongside profitability, margin management and cost efficiency, disciplined provision of quality solutions remain central to Servaco’s market success,” he says. “To ensure sustained profitability in the long run, adequate investment has been planned over the next three years, especially into the service provision section of our business.
“To promote quality of earnings and earnings growth, Servaco PPS is prioritising two profit sources in the coming years; service income and commission income. Servaco will increase the resilience of its business model by continuing the expansion of its service and commission earning businesses, which are comparatively capital-light.”
Through the successful implementation of each facet, the Company will once again find diversification and differentiation in an industrial domain so saturated across West Africa. A one-stop shop that puts customers first, Servaco PPS looks set to retain its status as West Africa’s major turnkey, industrial enabler.