Bespoke Interview: BME’s Kgosi Musi | by Kate Ferreira

Kgosi Musi 2Kgosi Musi’s background features a strong trend of constantly tackling new challenges. Over the course of his career, he’s moved from business processes (IT) to business analyst, from Procter & Gamble purchasing manager to initiating a strategic procurement department from scratch for Revlon, and then into regional procurement management covering Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. A few years ago, Kgosi set his mind on testing his abilities in a completely new field – and today he is the head of procurement for BME, a explosives and blasting manufacturer in the Omnia Group.

BME is a leader in the African (as well as other regions) supplier of explosives, related accessories and blasting services to the mining, quarrying and construction industries.

From push to pull
The biggest shift from FMCG to now, says Kgosi, is the tempo and direction of the procurement and business flow. “In FMCG you are chasing the customer; you want to have product on shelves. Here you are dictated to by the industry pace. If the mines are slow, you will be. It is a pull strategy from the mines, whereas before it was a push to customers.”

“This changes how you look at procurement,” he continues. Now his big concerns are stock on hand – how much to keep. Given this, procurement at BME works closely with many of the other departments in the business and group (such as operations, planning, and manufacturing teams), as well as with suppliers. They buy about 60% of inputs locally, importing the rest. And the latter requires making allowances for time to ship and time at port.

“You need to take all of that into consideration for your planning. How do I balance all of that without disrupting supply? And you must be ready when that pull comes through from the mine. If you aren't, it is the same impact as not having a product on shelf. Once you lose that opportunity, that's it - and it could be three years to get back in with them because of the long term contracts the mines give out.”

Stakeholder management
Although they are not in an industry falling directly under the mining charter (falling instead under the chemicals industry), the impact of the mining charter has had a ripple effect in their industries, says Kgosi. The demand this creates for external stakeholder engagement has required a change in approach.

“We are getting more involved in community work. With the mining charter coming, communities are approaching us and others, saying 'you have operations in our area and how can we benefit from this'. People want to be part of your supply chain, and are asking what the ringfenced categories that local communities can participate in.”

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New procurement projects
Having joined the company two years ago, Kgosi’s big procurement and supply chain projects are either kicking off or coming to fruition now. Regarding the above external stakeholders, they are finalising an ESD and SD programme, building a framework and are engaging with communities all over through SMME workshops.

Then, Kgosi says, the business has been introduced to the concept of embedded supply audiets and is beginning to really appreciate the effect of this concept.

“We are also busy finalising and going into the test mode of a category management process, and we are busy revising a contract management process, working with legal to make it simpler.”

Finally, they are actively looking at the potential of technology to automate and digitse processes. “We are hoping to digitize and automate our vendor onboarding process to make it simpler and faster. We want to free up time so that we can get to the strategic element of our jobs, and making sure business is agile.”

Professionalization and skills
A dedicated and experienced professional himself, Kgosi is concerned about the talent and skills pipeline in the procurement field locally – but not in the usual way. Instead of blaming education or technology, he says, we need to be looking at our own role in creating the talent pipeline. It is something he intends writing more on, to push industry in this direction.

“Right now we have taken our foot off talent management. We are no longer willing to invest in and nurture talent. We need to be creating a plan for sustained talent. There are skills out there, but we [professionals and businesses] haven’t invested in them properly.”

Kate Ferreira is the Contributing Editor of Bespoke Bulletin - www.bespoke.co.za

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Posted on October 08, 2018