To date, MiX Telematics has been represented in the African market for about eight years through its strategic business partner network. This network of certified business partners not only provides the necessary market-related feedback, but more importantly is the foundation of MiX Telematics’ formidable and all important Africa service, maintenance and support network.
“Although we acknowledge the individual commitment and determination of our business partners in their respective countries, we also recognise the need to extend our commitment to them as well as the African market by putting some of our own “skin” in the game as well,” says Brendan Horan, General Manager Sales and Marketing MiX Telematics. “Watching any game from the grandstand will allow one to see how the various game plans play out, but if one really wants to learn from, and/or have any influence over this ever-changing environment, one needs to be in the field of play.”
“At MiX Telematics we understand that Africa is no exception to the rule. If we really want to increase our market penetration and grow our market share, we need to be present and established in the market. Our recently established office in Kampala, Uganda, which serves the East African Community (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) has already provided us with a unique perspective and better understanding of this market, which has in turn brought us closer to both our business partners and end users in this area,” Horan explains.
Rather than the establishing of the Kampala office being seen as a move away from the business partner model, MiX Telematics strategic intent in this regard is to better support its business partners from within their own environments and by so doing demonstrate its commitment to the end users in the areas where it operates as well. “It is only by operating in the same dynamic environments in which our partners and end users alike have to function, that we are truly able to understand their unique requirements and be in a position to respond to these,” adds Horan.
Further commitment to the African market is evident through MiX Telematics’ skills development programs within its business partners and the recruitment of local resources into its wholly-owned subsidiaries. “We see our entry into Uganda as the first big step of potentially many into Africa. Due to the large demand and specific requirements within each country we are expanding on a recipe that has long been successful in our local market. We compliment the efforts of our direct business with those of our business partners so as to be better able to serve these markets and provide more efficient and effective sales, service and support structures in these areas.”
Horan says that MiX Telematics’ strategy is to become the preferred partner within Africa for businesses with any fleet management, vehicle tracking, driver performance, and industry compliance requirements. He believes MiX Telematics has the ability to bring true return on investment to any industry provided all the requirements have been well qualified.
Horan explains that the rationale behind the investment in Uganda was motivated not only by its strategic geographical location, but also by its membership to the East African Community and its “ease of doing business” rating. Although there were other viable options, Uganda offered the unique opportunity of being able to grow within this fast developing African oil and gas market. The insight into how a market evolves along the path from exploration through extraction to refining and distribution will enable MiX Telematics to react immediately to both its end-users needs and market opportunities alike.
“MiX Telematics has global supply agreements with many of the oil and gas companies in Africa and globally; and has vast experience in health and safety compliance which is very important to any oil and gas company. Uganda is central and landlocked and thus has access to many different markets in East, West and Central Africa. From a logistical point of view, Uganda is the perfect market for MiX Telematics to be in,” adds Horan.
MiX Telematics’ product range in Africa runs from high-end fleet management systems, providing full vehicle, engine and driver performance management; down to entry level systems which provide viable, economical and yet effective solutions to smaller fleet owners and managers.
Africa is a developing market, and while doing business in Africa can be challenging, Horan believes the most important aspect to consider when investing in any African market is to have strong, mature, well positioned strategic partners who have experience within their local markets and can assist operators to develop the necessary understanding of how to operate effectively in these unfamiliar environments.
MiX Telematics with its vision of empowerment and improving the lives of all those with whom we meet, interact and work with is crucial to our success in these developing markets. We are looking forward to developing more skills and growing more businesses in Africa in the near future,” he concludes.