When entrepreneur Thabizolo Msimang was studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce General (Supply Chain Management) degree, his drive was to master the art of business processing using value chains. A few years down the line, Msimang has used these skills to build a successful business, Premier Marquees, which specialises in manufacturing tents and furniture as well as the leasing of basic equipment and amenities necessary for hosting stylish events.
“Innovation is one of the key skills for my career. One needs to keep abreast of market trends and capital intensive-production technologies,” said Msimang.
It is this forward thinking and sharp business acumen that propelled Msimang to explore a career in entrepreneurship incorporating supply chain. This was after years of working as a committee officer conducting research and development on policy and position papers at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).
“As a self-employed member of the Premier Group, my role is largely focused on business development. I work with a team of experts to create value through lean production and smart procurement as we are also project management consultants for shut-down operations in companies such as SAPREF, Mondi, and SAPPI, to name a few. With the birth of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, comes more opportunities to become a global key player,” said Msimang.
Looking back to his UKZN days and how they shaped his career path, Msimang counts being part of student organisation Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), now known as ENACTUS, and having supportive lecturers, as instrumental in his professional and personal development.
‘SIFE’s ground-breaking model that deployed student teams (who are advised and supported by academic and business leaders) to design and implement community empowerment projects in 39 countries really shaped my views of business in a global context. By producing tangible results and business solutions we were able to grow our theoretical classroom knowledge with practical coalface skills,’ said Msimang.
He added that being taught by lecturers that went the extra mile to give students insight into the working world was also very beneficial.
“My lecturers partnered us with companies that would aid in practical career development. It is this experiential learning that served as a big factor in my drive to learn. Now, as a supply chain professional, one has options of working in procurement, logistics, industrial engineering or demand planning. The possibilities are endless!”