A Chartered Accountant by profession, Gobe Tlogelang joined Trident Holdings back in 2015 as a Regional Finance Manager. Within a matter of months, Tlogelang was promoted to the rank of Resident Director, a position he still holds with the wholesaler.
It is a job the hard-working numbers man balances with his position as a Financial Planning Analyst for MassCash Holdings.
Speaking to Voice Money’s KABELO ADAMSON, Tlogelang explains exactly what it’s like occupying such demanding roles.
Q. When did you assume your current roles?
Firstly, I am a Chartered Accountant and did my articles with Price Water house Coopers (PwC).
When I completed I started there as a trainee up until manager level.
I joined Trident Holdings in April 2015 as the Regional Finance Manager for the Group.
Later on in the same year, around September, I became a Regional Director for the Group until now.
In 2018 I got a role as Financial Planning Analyst of Mass Cash Holdings, a subsidiary of Massmart.
I cover the African market, which means my portfolio has increased to include other countries like Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, and Namibia.
Q. So what exactly is the role of a Financial Planning Analyst?
A Financial Planning Analyst is someone who looks for opportunities that can be brought about by interpreting the financial statements.
It is about looking at your performance and seeing where you can give insight in terms of the opportunities available and help the business make decisions on investment opportunities.
Q. Trident and Eureka wholesalers have been around for quite some time now. Over the years we have seen an increase in the number of wholesalers, how has that affected your business?
Eureka as a company was established a long time ago but was bought by Massmart around 2005, and the arrival of Massmart meant big buying group.
We get technical expertise from them where we are lacking.
In terms of emerging markets, the key is customer focus.
So our strategy is to focus on our local market and our sustainability has to do with encouraging our local banner groups or general dealers to operate at an optimum level.
Our market retention is just giving good customer service to our prevailing banner groups.
Q. So, what are the opportunities that you see lying ahead?
Let me speak about the market as a whole because the market as it is now is crushing a bit because of depleted funds.
Government is the biggest player in our economy and now the government is faced with the Covid-19 pandemic challenge, which means it affects the lives of so many people.
In terms of sustainable growth for the business, at the moment it is still difficult and the market has shrunk.
From my point of view, I see the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) business reducing a bit because of depleted consumer spending.
It is going to be a difficult year and probably next year as well as we fight for customers with our competitors which is good for the consumer.
Q. But are you confident the market will bounce back?
People have to eat which means the market will always be available.
Right now because of the difficult situation people have shifted the way they spend money and only spend on core things such as food.
But the way things are, premium brands will suffer more.
It will be difficult this year, but going forward we expect things to normalize.
Q. Eureka and Trident have been relatively cautious in their expansion. What is your strategy?
This business was set up as a delivery business, with 75 percent of the customers being delivery clients and the remaining being walk-in customers.
We might have seven stores but we have covered the whole country because from Gaborone we deliver all the way to Dibete; our furthest customer from the Gaborone store is in Hukuntsi.
We have Maun, which covers Ngamiland. Then we have Palapye, which covers a better part of the Central.
Phikwe store carters for the Bobirwa region then Mahalapye which also caters for Central and Francistown, which covers all the way up Nata.
Q. Kindly shed some light on the organisation’s structure?
Trident Holdings is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Massmart and then Trident Holdings, in turn, owns Eureka stores in Gaborone, Phikwe, Trident Francistown, Trident Palapye, and Trident Maun.
Q. What are the biggest challenges that you face in your business?
Besides competition, the other common one is that most of our goods are imported and importing means that when the countries we rely on ‘catch a cold’ we sneeze.
The challenge regarding local supplies is that our manufacturing industry is still at an infancy stage so we have minimal goods coming from local suppliers and when they do provide the supplies, there is a story or two that comes with it, and that hinders the reliability.
But we are dedicated to working with local suppliers and have their products in our stores!