Company Reports - MBT Petroleum
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MBT Petroleum is Motivated Beyond Tomorrow
When you talk to Johan Fouché, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MBT Petroleum, it’s easy to see how his experience in and passion for the fuel industry has helped mould MBT into the thriving company that it is today.
Fouché founded MBT Petroleum back in 2004 and eight years after its inception it has enjoyed unrivalled success. Based in Pretoria and with a number of distribution centres across South Africa, MBT Petroleum is one of the country’s leading non-refining wholesales (NRW) in the fuel and lubrication sectors.
“It started off with a turnover of approximately R100 million for the first financial year, but in the last financial year we were sitting on about a R1.6 billion turnover,” notes Fouché.
His inspiration in developing MBT was that he wanted to form a fuel company that had a niche, “focusing on customer service and the retail and commercial markets in South Africa, bringing a new brand to the people with different added values,” he explains.
Over the past eight years MBT Petroleum has experienced growth on an almost unprecedented scale. Despite this, there are numerous growth targets in place for the future and short, medium and long-term strategies depending on where the company is looking to be.
MBT is currently in the process of consolidating a lot of its process to accommodate for its large-scale expansion. “It’s grown tremendously over the years,” says Fouché. “At the moment we’re consolidating; bringing in different systems – management systems, information systems – to be able to handle the increased workload.”
In another attempt to continue to be able to operate efficiently, MBT is turning to technology. It’s a big area of investment for the company and sees it implement the latest tailor-made software and programs to assist it with its distribution, logistics and sales.
Fouché believes that one of the things that sets MBT apart from its competitors is its employees. “Our people are our biggest asset, it’s the kind of people that we have working for us is what makes us stand out.”
The company employs 59 direct staff members, but this figure rises to over 300 if you include indirect employees - those working at its retail outlets and service stations. Between the company’s top management personnel there is a combined experience in the fuel industry of over 50 years.
Fouché himself has been working in the fuel industry since he was 19 years old, starting off with a 12 year career for British Petroleum (BP). He then joined a company called Exel Petroleum which was sold to South African company SASOL.
“For our supply chain, because we don’t refine our own fuel, we have a strategic partner that sits behind us and that is SASOL,” Fouché comments. “Because we don’t refine our own products we have an evergreen contract in place with them in terms of the supply of fuel.”
As noted previously, MBT Petroleum has distribution facilities across SA. It also boasts a fleet of 25 fuel bulk vehicles which picks up the fuel from the refineries and transports it to the end user, all of which is the responsibility of the Logistics Department.
INVESTMENTS AND EXPANSION
Although MBT Petroleum has grown impressively in the eight years that have passed since it was set up, Fouché is keen to develop the company further. An investment of R14 million has recently been made into its vehicle fleet and R10 million has just gone into developing additional distribution facilities outside of Pretoria - and things aren’t stopping there.
“We’ve got great plans for expansion,” he says. “We plan to build an additional 50 service stations within the next two years and we are planning to expand the retail side of the business into Africa too. We mean to become a household name in South Africa, just as BP or Shell would be.”
MAINTAINING CUSTOMER RELATIONS
The company’s competitive edge really is its attitude; it was formed with the aim to deliver great customer service. “We have built up tremendous relationships with our customers over the years and that is what makes us really different,” asserts Fouché. “We have an innovative approach and our service level is exceptional. Our slogan is ‘Motivated Beyond Tomorrow’ and that is exactly what we are.”
Developing quality customer service has been such a large asset to the company that it is now able to rely largely on word-of-mouth recommendations to attract new clients. The company has never been too reliant on advertising and instead benefits from the client approach them.
However, Fouché believes the fact that the company’s top management is so well-known in the industry has helped it along too. “The demand for our services far outgrows the demand that we can supply at the moment,” he adds.
When asked what he envisages for the future of MBT Petroleum, Fouché reiterates that the company would like to be a household name across South Africa, although he admits the ambition has its challenges. “That is quite difficult, because traditionally these markets were held by the major players in the industry. But I think that is definitely the future of the company.”