again. The past nine years have been spent in retail selling and outsourcing from a facilities services perspective. Most recently I joined the Effectiveness Company and the journey, thus far, has been an extremely fast paced and exciting one. Having come to work with Suzanne, the speed at which we have to work to give us a competitive advantage, which brings me to where I am today.
The retail environment is a notoriously tough one. What are some of the key lessons you took away from it?
The most important is that it’s all about people your staff and clients and the hours are long and you have to be fast and resilient. At the same time you have to be on the lookout for particularly where people, product and profit are the most important things. It is a fast-paced world nonetheless. From a service offering point of view, I took away the fact that you can sell literally anything once. The key is repeatability and one can only achieve that by delivering on promises. There is so much noise out there about marketing, promotions and price-driven advertising, but you only get one chance to clinch the deal properly. If you are selling a service to people, you have to deliver or they won’t come back.
What is your perspective in terms of the global economy and the need for companies to develop and offer solutions that take them forward?
We have recently seen some European countries struggling on the verge of bankruptcy. This has placed immense pressure on companies and shareholders to continue producing results despite tough economic times. If you look at outsourcing in that context, it is traditionally an outsourcing sphere but I believe the tough economic times have driven outsourcing to be more viable in order for clients to extract more value from products and services by allowing them to focus on their core business.
Does your team have a strategic vision for the rest of 2013 and 2014?
My vision is aligned with that of the organisation as a whole and that is to position the company as a global player. The South African market is ripe for what we are offering as a solution, but as the market starts to look for more innovative ways to maximise profit, that is where I see us coming in and playing a major role in the provision of predictable performance improvement and outcomes for clients.
Could you tell us about your sales and marketing strategy?
The only way to market what we do is to approach what we call the C- Suite clients. When you are looking at outsourcing and one of your offerings is improvement in efficiencies and cost reduction, typically the chief executive officer (CEO) or chief financial officer (CFO) are the levels we typically engage with, purely as a result of the transformative nature of the products we provide. We have some exciting future innovations so watch this space! From the very beginning we build and foster relationships.
Which programmes or advancements are you hoping to put in place for the Effectiveness Company?
The business is very well established and the systems, practices and processes we use really work. Therefore I am not going to try and reinvent the wheel but I think our clients are always looking for a more innovative approach to solutions; a fresher approach to something they have never tried before.
What impact do you think the Effectiveness Company has on the industry?
In terms of competiveness, it is the speed at which we are able to operate and mobilise solutions for our clients. In the space where innovation is key, we are always raising the bar and challenging ourselves. For instance, we examine if the solution we originally provided for a client is still relevant, and even then, is it giving us an edge over our competitors. In that regard, reflection and self-criticism are the life blood of our operations.
Any final thoughts you would like to share with CEO readers?
There is one principle that I have lived by in my business life; and that is the Einstein thought on insanity where he defines the term. I see more and more businesses doing what they have always done; trying harder with the aim of generating profits. That does not work, because you cannot expect different results by doing the same thing every day. This can only be achieved by taking a different approach and coming up with new and innovative ideas and ways of thinking.
Towards Performance Improvement
Having travelled the world over and finally landing in South Africa, Alex Berndl, Managing Director of the Effectiveness Company is intent on making sure that his organisation lives up to its name: providing effective results to clients and staying the leader at the top of the game as they are. In his view, while one cannot reinvent the wheel in order to better things, they should always strive to raise the bar for themselves; not for self-satisfaction but to provide the customer with the ultimate products and experience.
Could you tell us a little about yourself and how your journey with the Effectiveness Company started?
My career started in the United Kingdom in the military. I then went into the retail space where I worked in various capacities. I arrived in South Africa in 2003, where I jumped into the retail space
by Andrew Ngozo