Business development remains a key focus at Sharpshell

Business development manager Muphrey Kashiri joined the company in 2011 and as one of Sharpshell’s longest-serving employees knows the business inside out. He manages the overall marketing and sales function as well as seeking out new opportunities that support expansion and maximise the company’s service offering. Kashiri is a marketing management graduate who rapidly climbed the career ladder in Zimbabwe before relocating to South Africa in search of more career opportunities, to study further and to gain more exposure.

“I was recruited by Dairirbord Zimbabwe (Pty) Ltd after graduating in 2006 and by my early twenties held the position of sales controller for a whole province. Being an understudy to the regional sales manager ensured that I, at a young age, became acquainted with the functions of executive sales management and business development. Eventually I reached the level I could and, in addition to wanting to further my studies, decided to realise my desire to see more of the world. I came to South Africa where I consulted for a few months, before working in the advertising field; then a marketing and sales position for an IT company; and a project management position for state-owned entity charged with financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure projects. In late 2010 I saw a position advertised at Sharpshell and applied. I made the shortlist, but the more technical guy got the job. I was looking for a new challenge so joined and grew a start-up online computer supply company.

In February 2011 an order came through to my company from Godfrey Pangeti, the man who had originally interviewed me. When he came to collect his merchandise, we got talking about the job again. The other guy hadn’t worked out as well as expected, and Godfrey wanted me to come work for him… It took some convincing, but eventually I subscribed to his vision for Sharpshell and joined in March/April of 2011.

“Sharpshell’s journey, in terms of growth, has been more than average, and we were presented with some great opportunities along the way that paved the way for our expansion. Initially when I first joined, Sharpshell was the disrupter in the industry. Corrosion protection and thermal insulation was very price sensitive, and the first few months were tough. Our first engineering/construction opportunity came through a mining client I was trying to sell corrosion protection to. He wanted some palisade fences with mechanical turnstile gates erected along some slime’s dams, and I knew a few guys who could assist. On the back of that we felt there was an opportunity to be capitalised on by increasing our scope, so I set about creating new contacts, getting new vendor numbers at mines and so forth. Our engineering division came into existence then.

“Another coup was when we connected with a bright gentleman from Krugersdorp who had developed a critical fire protection product but didn’t have a route to market. At that stage we already had the contacts, and after a few successful projects we formed a fire protection division. The fire protection market is one in which we believe many opportunities exist, and our full turnkey solution presents a cost-effective, comprehensive and efficient alternative to clients having a variety of contractors they need to manage on site.

“We are aiming to have our various management systems accredited in line with the ISO requirements within the next year. We recently received our CIDB Grading and are in the process of opening further doors – we certainly have enough muscle, cash flow and expertise to start taking on some bigger contracts.”