Taking the helm of a large company with a customer satisfaction index of 9.31 during the challenging economic and social times we face would have many on the run, but Barry Venter is upbeat about the company’s ability to continue its rapid evolution and says it’s on the perfect trajectory to provide even more value to customers as we develop remote working and social distancing norms.
A true company man, Venter’s career has mostly been within the ranks of Nashua Group: “Nashua forms part of my DNA as I have grown and evolved over 22 years with this business. It is an aspirational, truly South African brand and the value system and culture within the business is very important to me. Our core values are focused on our people and customer service and our customer ethic is at the centre of our business. I am very passionate about that and have been driving it in all my varied roles in the business.”
Venter started at the very bottom in Nashua – he was a contractor, worked in the warehouse, packed SIM cards, even sold second-hand phones to dealers – and along the way, was exposed to great mentorship and opportunities, moving into IT to implement new technology and create a call centre before moving back onto the business side as the General Manager of operations, then COO at Nashua Mobile.
“When we sold the mobile business I was acting CEO and was able to assist most of our staff acquire other jobs, together ensuring a successful handover of our customers to the respective Mobile Network Operators. It was a massive success personally and helped develop me as a truly inclusive leader as a result. I’m ready for this role and already enjoying it.”
Nashua has seen many significant changes over the years and it has been an interesting journey for Venter. Just five years go the company implemented a revised strategy to become a ‘Total Workspace Provider’. It built a substantial offering with new company products to strengthen this position and add more value for customers: “Our customers are able to focus on their core businesses while we take care of the complete office environment.”
He believes Nashua’s differentiation lies in its people: “We have 40 franchises with a sales force of approximately 500 and 700 field engineers to support our customers across the SADC region. It is our relationships and engagement at a community level that had allowed our growth, alongside quality solutions and excellent customer service.
We all experience hurdles in our careers and Venter says his was adapting to the relentless change in technology, shifts in market trends and resultant customer demands: “How do you stay abreast of constant change and make sure you are able to focus on the opportunities it creates? My solution was to surround myself with a formidable team and to recognise that my strength is in implementation – we complete what we set out to do on time and make sure it makes economic sense and adds value to our customers.”
Venter adds that collaboration and strategic partnerships are fundamental to improving business outcomes: “Strategic partnerships with other world class businesses benefit everyone; our customers benefit from our partnerships, which allow us to offer services and solutions that we couldn’t do alone.”
Venter says the economic climate is accelerating because of COVID-19; it’s transforming and the market is shifting again: “We need to be nimble enough to continue to stay relevant, keeping people safe but engaged.
“Engagement and management need to change and are mostly happening via video links to create personal connections and collaboration. Nashua’s positioning is to continue to take care of the workplace for our customers – whether it’s an office or a home environment, from the front gate to the cloud. Our products and solutions are well positioned to assist companies especially during this time to enable them to work remotely.”
Nashua’s Remote Monitoring and Management (RMMS) platform is cloud-based and allows remote management of IT assets, automates IT services and simplifies service delivery, effectively supporting the customer remotely.
And Venter says there are exciting new products in the pipeline: “We’re launching phase one of Nashua’s alternate Energy Solution involving battery back-up solutions and generators, part of the product stack in support of office space. Energy supply is a challenge in SA and with our solution companies will have constant uptime to continue working.”
Happily married with three children, Venter’s private life revolves around his family, maintaining a good work-life balance so that he has time to support them in their activities.