Namib Mills the leading miller in Namibia was founded in 1982, with a small staff component. In 1986 the staff component total led 180, and has now grown to 800 employees, from approximately 620 early 2009. Of the total 800 employees, close to 500 operate in the Windhoek area.
Namib Mills has expanded its manufacturing sites from Windhoek, to include Otavi, and Katima Mulilo. In Windhoek the company produces maize meal, wheat flour, pasta, and packs sugar and rice. Otavi produces maize meal, mahangu and pack sugar. Katima produces maize meal. Namib Mills manages brands under each of the product categories mentioned above. Our brands have become household names and we pride ourselves in the knowledge that Top Score, Pasta Polana, Pasta la Vita, Really Rice, Sugar King and Meme Mahangu are prominent brands in the Namibian society.
Our brands would not be successful if it were not for the distribution strategy employed, which aims at making sure our products are available in every part of the country. This was facilitated by setting up depots country-wide, increasing our visibility on shelf and in the regions. The Namib Mills depots are situated in Ondangwa, Katima Mulilo, Otavi, Otjiwarongo, Windhoek, Mariental, Keetmanshoop, Walvis Bay, Gobabis, and Oranjemund.
Namib Mills’ focus on quality and excellent service remains one of our main priorities, as we continue to focus on providing consumers with quality products. The company believes in making sure its brands are backed by the best quality, are available country-wide and that we offer excellent service levels to our customers. It has also become important that we focus on not only meeting consumer needs but exceeding those needs now and in future.
Our focus on quality is evident in the investment made to have the Pasta Polana plant receive HACCP (Hazard Analytical Critical Control Point) certification, in March 2010. HACCP is a food safety management system that enables the pasta plant to identify and control hazards before they threaten the safety of food and ultimately, consumers. Although Namib Mills already has high quality assurance measures in place which ensure the company maintains international standards due to the company’s ISO 9001 accreditation, the implementation of the HACCP process adds more value to the quality of the company’s quality assurance system and reassures consumers about the safety of the products, they purchase.
Further to improving our quality standards, Namib Mills is also proud to announce that the company has been fortifying its maize meal products since 2001, and wheaten flour products since 2009. In Namibia fortification of staple foods is still voluntary, although Government, through the office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health are focusing on making sure there is a standard and minimum requirement, for fortification that meets the needs of the country. The total value of Namib Mills’ contribution is valued, in additional cost, in excess of N$1million per annum. In order to meet the increasing market demands and the company’s quality standards, Namib Mills has made several investments during the past one and a half years. The investments made into capital projects include the following:
COMPLETE MIX PLANT
Namib Mills increased its complete mix plant capacity to produce 5 tons/hour. This was necessary to meet market demands. Complete mix is a convenience product for typical in-house bakeries and consists of all the ingredients, except water, needed to bake bread and rolls. Bakers only add water and bake without the risk of losing sensitive products to pilferage like sugar and yeast. The product range consists of brown bread, white bread, soft rolls, crispy crust rolls and sweet dough mixes.
RICE CLEANING AND PACKING PLANT
Previously Namib Mills’ rice packing was managed by a third party in Durban, South Africa. In 2009, Namib Mills installed a rice cleaning and packing plant in Windhoek. The main reason is to ensure continuous availability of the company’s rice brands, to maintain quality standards, and to take costs out of the value chain.
AUTOMATIC SUGAR PACKER
The company also invested in an automatic sugar packer in Windhoek, and moved some of its existing equipment to its operations in Otavi. The Otavi operations now pack white and brown sugar. The local demand required Namib Mills to review its capacity and make sure demand for its sugar products / brands are met.
NEW PASTA PLANT
The high demand for pasta is evident in Namibia. Namibians consume more pasta than their South African counterparts. Based on calculations made in 2007, it is assumed that every Namibian consumes 5kg of pasta per annum, and it is on the increase. To date, the current Namib Mills pasta plant, could not keep up with the high demand for the company’s brands.
It is due to the above, that Namib Mills has invested into a new pasta plant. The capital investment totals N$85 million. The new plant will be a short goods pasta line with 2.1 tons/hour capacity and a long goods pasta line with 1.5 tons/hour capacity. The additional capacity will add to the current short goods plant of 0.7 ton/hour and the long goods pasta line of 0.4 ton/hour. The building which will house the new pasta plant is currently under construction, and the new lines should be starting to produce in June/July 2011.
UPGRADE IN THE MAIZE MILL
The company upgraded its maize mill by converting the roll stands of an idle wheat mill to maize mill roll stands (Roll stands are used in the milling process, to grind the maize kernel into meal). This upgrade was done to update to recent technology and thus improving on the Namib Mills maize meal quality.
KATIMA MULILO DEPOT UPGRADE
An expansion project is underway to improve the depot facilities in Katima Mulilo.
Namib Mills values its employees and it is on this premise, that the company implemented a wellness programme in 2008. The programme includes a focus on HIV/AIDS in the workplace and we are looking into providing financial wellness training in the near future. Our training budget exceeds N$1 million per annum, and is adjusted annually to suit the company’s strategic imperatives for the year.
In respect of social responsibility, Namib Mills not only focuses on making sure its employee needs are taken care of, but has invested substantial amounts into its immediate environment. Namib Mills understands that it has a responsibility to plough back into the society that supports it. Thus, in the last financial year, Namib Mills donated N$350,000 worth of food to welfare organisations in Namibia. Close to N$500,000 in cash was donated to different charitable organisations that assist fellow Namibians who are less fortunate and/or vulnerable members of our society.
We believe that the company has seen substantial growth and will continue to make sure consumer demands are met, quality standards are stringently adhered to and exceeded, while we constantly invest in Namibia where the need arises.