Service excellence around the globe

Valves that form lasting business relationships, backed by service excellence around the globe

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Established in 1982 in Germiston, South Africa, Invincible Valves is a promising valve company with almost four decades of rich experience in distributing, manufacturing, reconditioning and rubber lining valves

Over the years, the company has introduced its own registered brand of Inval valves, which has led to a comprehensive range of valves and covers a broad spectrum of low-pressure valves. Built on the foundation of commitment, honesty and loyalty, the company is known for its exceptional customer service.

“Invincible Valves is a trading company that offers many ancillary services asin rubber lining of pipes, fittings and valves, along with reconditioning of valves. The company offers a ‘one-stop shop’ to its esteemed customers and, therefore, supplies the valves with any additional requirements necessary for their application. As an approved BBBEE Level 4 supplier to all major industries within South Africa, the company maintains expertise and experience across a broad spectrum of industries and applications with a wide range of products,” says the CEO, Pam Du Plessis.

Du Plessis has been with Invincible Valves since 2007 and took the reigns in 2014. “The secret to our ongoing success would be our value system of understanding the importance of our stakeholders across the board,” she says. “Over many decades, we have built a strong track record and reputation with clients, stakeholders and employees, based on trust, transparency and delivering excellent service. We have been able to adapt our business model for ongoing success,” she adds.

Her extraordinary contribution to the industry has helped her earn numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year Award and Moving Mountains 2017 Awards.

Invincible Valves places a great deal of importance on upskilling the staff. “The Inval Training Centre was opened last year and is currently in full swing. We dedicate in excess of 40 hours per week towards the education of our staff. We run the SAVAMA Working with Valves courses for the majority of our staff—this would include administration, sales and labour force. We then offer a number of short courses as well as access to the Inval Training Centre Library,” explains Du Plessis.

“The library has a range of books from learning to read, beginners books, dictionaries, atlases, novels and technical training material that is available to all Invincible Valves employees. Currently, we have 17 students undergoing the training while an additional five are awaiting the new course to begin. All our staff also benefit from healthcare education throughout the year—TB screening and education, HIV/Aids screening and education, cancer awareness and education, wellness days etc. At the moment, we have four candidates enrolled at the Artisan School and they are currently undergoing fitting and turning training, after which they will do two years in service training and in 2020, they should all qualify after completing their trade tests,” she says.

Invincible Valves’ aim is to set a benchmark for training in the valves industry and in line with this commitment, will introduce a Basic Business Skills programme in February next year. The objective of the Basic Business Skills programme is to teach an overview of business and how this is done.

It covers all business aspects and enlightens the students as to how their input impacts the business. There is a vast amount of content like communication, purchasing, selling, stock control, income versus expenditure, emotional intelligence and education to name a few. It is an intense course, which will be held over six months.

“I am incredibly passionate about education because this gives us an opportunity to transfer skills, giving the learners the opportunity to make more informed decisions at work and at home. It opens the mind to a broader horizon and gives people an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way. Education is the answer to many problems within society and, therefore, we challenge all our staff to share their knowledge amongst themselves and at home within their communities,” says Du Plessis.

Invincible Valves is involved in upliftment programmes with the SAME Foundation—these are initiatives where schools are upgraded in the science and mathematics areas.

Currently, the company is in the process of creating a new CSI initiative, which is anticipated to have a positive impact on the surrounding communities.

“At the same time, I run weekly mentoring sessions for young women and men starting up in business.

“At the moment, I have two mentees who I work with on a weekly basis for two hours each. This, again, is about transferring the skills to the younger generation, creating the opportunity for them to jump-start their business start-up,” says Du Plessis.

She explains that the company has kept pace with changing technology, industrial advancements and customer demands by being resilient and able to adapt to the times, due to the company culture.

“We also run an intern programme, which brings young, youthful individuals into our space, giving us insight into the younger generation’s way of thinking. This has empowered us to make good decisions in many areas. Customer demands have been our greatest challenge, but we are managing to cope because of efficient systems and controls that are managed on an ongoing basis,” she explains.

Asked how the economic climate affected the valves industry and whether it is all ‘doom and gloom’, she says absolutely not and that, instead, when you find a challenge, there will always be an opportunity right behind it—it’s all about patience and commitment.

For Du Plessis, the attributes of a great leader include great communication skills, honesty and integrity, commitment and passion, the art of being able to inspire and uplift others, to make well-informed decisions and the ability to hold yourself accountable at the same time.

“My role model would most definitely be my dad. He has inspired me to be more, learn more and always extend a hand. As a child, my dad showed me what commitment was all about when he had his own business, then he studied right up until the age of 55. Today, he is in his 70s and still works in a field of teaching and testing artisans,” she says. Her advice to budding entrepreneurs is to remain true to oneself, embrace change, be consistent and be brave.

“It may be daunting entering the business world or starting something new but don’t allow that fear to deter you in any way. Instead, educate yourself, learn from anyone and everyone. Create your own opportunities.

“Follow your heart and do what you believe to be best—if you are passionate about something, you need to action it,” she says.

Armed with a five-year plan, a new age management system with family values and under the guidance of corporate governance with a full board of directors, one non-executive director and two independent directors, Invincible Valves is now implementing systems and controls, which will be able to cope with the current business growth and expansion.

They are striving for diversification within the business, expanding their markets, adding additional ancillary services and product ranges directed to the mining, petrochemicals, power generation, water, sewerage, gas works and general industries, which will enhance the customer experience and business expansion throughout Africa and beyond. 

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