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Upskilling communities and staff is key for this small business

Shaun Naidoo is the owner of Excelsior Maintenance & Services.

Shaun Naidoo is the owner of Excelsior Maintenance & Services.

Published Jul 31, 2022

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Forming long lasting bonds and relationships with the local communities and working with the communities to upskill its population and town has been the key for Excelsior Maintenance & Services over the past two decades.

The company was founded by Rhada Naidoo in May 2001 who worked for SAB for 30 years before starting Excelsior.

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Upon his death two years later, his wife, Shanti, who worked for SAB for more than 15 years and has a deep-rooted understanding of the business, took it over. Shanti passed away after contracting Covid-19 during the Delta variant wave.

Shaun, their son, has since taken the ownership of the business.

Shaun has earned his stripes in finance. He is a Chartered Accountant gaining a Bachelor of Accounting Science Honours degree in 2009 at the University of Wits and holds an MBA from Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Shaun also wears other corporate hats.

Shaun is the chief executive of Vunani Corporate Finance where he gained experience across all disciplines ranging from traditional M&A, project management, operations optimization, client relationship management, BEE transaction, project finance and capital raising.

Excelsior is a 100 percent black owned, 50 percent black female owned, level 1 B-BBEE staffing solutions company.

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Over the past two decades, it has been contracted to the Chamdor Depot, located near Kagiso, in the West Rand of Gauteng,for 20 years.

It performs work that include arranging of services that include pallet repairs, sorting of empty bottles, splitting, overpacking of new glass into crates and contract cleaning of site, offices, site and warehouse (Contract terminated in 2018).

It also supplies forklift drivers to the warehouse, helps with washing the trucks, decanting of beer, provision of spotter to the Chamdor Brewery, exchange of empties into correct crates, supplying temporary Code 14 Drivers, temporary Office Administration Clerks and the general maintenance (Painting, General Repairs, Building of cages).

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Excelsior currently employs in excess of 70 staff members (permanent, temporary and standby), which sourced from the local Kagiso township community. It boasts a deep rooted history of supporting the community by providing jobs and financial assistance to its members.

Shaun told Business Report that Excelsior has worked closely with the community and had experienced minimal labour unrest or mistrust.

“The preservation of jobs is our key KPI,” he said, adding they believed in transformation.

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“We believe in upskilling communities and individuals and over our 20 years we have a long track record of upskilling employees and finding them permanent jobs through paying for their studying, training, artisanship etc. Many of our supervisors have been trained and promoted from within.”

Upon taking over the ownership of the business after his mother, contracted Covid-19 and passed away last year, Shaun now intends to scale up the business and implement best practice standards in terms of business improvement as well as health and safety.

Shaun said that the principle and policy of employment at Excelsior was to promote from within the company. They believed in avoiding job losses at all cost and rather attempted to repurpose their employees.

“We also have a track record of training and upskilling our employees through paying for their artisanship or schooling,” he said.

The firm has provided new and renewal forklift licences to most of the employees interested in driving a forklift. Many of these drivers were now driving at Chamdor DC and Chamdor Plant.

A current site manager was initially employed as a general worker. He was trained by Excelsior and promoted to a supervisor.

“We have now enrolled him into Boston College for a computer course and office administration. Lebogang Augustus was employed as a cleaner. He, thereafter, did several skills after being trained by Excelsior. He is now a site supervisor who assists ABInBev with daily stock counts,” he said.

Shaun said they currently had employees, which had been on the firm’s payroll since the company’s inception.

“Sidwell Mokoena was employed as a cleaner. Seeing his potential, we promoted him to a sorter. Thereafter, we provided him with a forklift licence and promoted to forklift driver. He was then appointed as a checker operator and was then appointed Logistic Controller. Jabulani Zondo was employed as a pallet repairer. We provided him with a forklift licence and had him as a temporary driver where he was later employed by SAB.”

Excelsior said it did not just pay for studying and training, but took a vested interest in the individuals and their families.

As South Africa celebrates Women’s Month in August, Excelsior said that it sought to spur economic change through gender equality, with a specific focus on empowering and improving women’s and girls’ economic opportunities and outcomes.

“We have proven this over the years by paying for female employees studying and finding them permanent jobs. In a majority male environment, Excelsior is committed to decreasing the equality gap,” Shaun said.

BUSINESS REPORT

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