As Namibia is fast developing with different structures being constructed all over the country the demand for concrete is high and is increasing.
TMI Industrial Concrete Works (TMI) has penetrated an industry that indirectly contributes to the country’s economy by providing material for road infrastructure over the past six years. It has produced products for roads such as those in Rundu, Outapi and Otavi.
Since its inception in 2009, TMI has a stuff compliment of 15 permanent and over 70 temporary staff. The project manager for TMI; Salatiel Kaapangelwa says 90 percent of the employees come into the company as unskilled workers. “Each employee is given a comprehensive training and is able to learn from other employees who are more advanced," he says.
Thus, TMI generally employs people who have skills in brick laying and for the unqualified labour it is it is important to be in good physical health as the work requires a lot of manual labour.
Kaapangelwa notes that currently the government tendering process does not give direct orders or procurement to TMI or any other manufacturer. “The products we manufacture must be bought by the company that gets the tender. It is then up to the company to decide whether to buy from a manufacturer like TMI or manufacture on their own,” he explains.
He believes that if Namibia is to be an industrialised country, the Government should procure direct to the manufacturer and payment should be done in the manufacturer’s account once product has been manufactured. The company that was a branch of Tulimo-Mekondjo Investments cc provides for customers like civil and electrical contractors, town councils, landscape gardeners, private builders and locals who are busy with different forms of construction.
“TMI was established right after I left the City of Cape Town when my work visa expired. As I could not sit idle at home while waiting for both the work visa and South African permanent residence to be processed, I came up with a business idea to manufacture rare concrete products,” he says.
“Most of our products are used when servicing new land in towns and at the end of most government capital projects, we manufacture Barrier or Mountable kerb, Garden kerb, Road Guide Block, SV, GV and FH Marker, Cable Marker, Pipeline maker, Pillar Copping, Wall copping and stepping stone, Kaapangelwa says.”
He also mentions that quality is a very important factor at TMI as they strive only to deliver the best products to our clients. The products are tested in a laboratory and TMI works closely with the consulting engineers and architects that are assigned on the specific project being worked on.
TMI has a long term goal of branching out into all 14 regions of Namibia and develop into a franchise business so as to helping the development of the nation’s economy. “TMI in the foreseeable future will expand its product variety and manufacture products that are currently rare to find in the regions such as pipe and box culvert and lintels,” he says.
The company has achieved some great milestones and according to Kaapangelwa it was initially funded by Onepoko Cash Services and Omusati Regional Council with micro-funding in 2010. Within a year of operation, TMI was selected to represent Omusati Regional Council at the Ongwediva Trade Fair in 2011.
“Our current president, his Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob, the then Minister of Trade and Industry, was impressed by the effort and contribution TMI was and is still making towards vision 2030. As a result he approved equipment funding for TMI. TMI was then selected to represent Omusati region with other nine participants from different regions at “Made In Namibia Expo 2011” and got the company an award for “Best SME award Omusati”. That also led to opening a second branch in Ongwediva.
To date it is the main supplier of kerbs to some of the most successful contractors in the North from Tona Trading, AMA Engineering, Cascades Enterprises and Andjamba Trading.
However, TMI faces challenges with cash flow as many contractors prefer credit purchases thus they cannot turn them away as the market is competitive. Also the high prices of cement and stone prove to be a challenge in the production process.
Despite all the intricacy TMI stays ahead of competition by identifying its strengths and weaknesses. It markets highly on the fact that it is a manufacturing based company. “This means that we can work together with our competitors whose focus is construction but not necessarily manufacturing,” he says. “We sell quality products at a competitive price and this puts us ahead. TMI has a skilled marketing team that comes up with innovative ways of capturing new clients. These include attending local Trade Fairs and Expo’s and being in contact with clients who were recently awarded tenders and can make use of the services offered by TMI,” he adds.