The story goes that if you’re on a winning formula just don’t change it, but with the advent of the pandemic it’s been an all-change scenario right across the business theatre of activity in the supply of body shop essentials. So, we took a trip down to the Vaal to get some notes on Grant Walters’ successful adaptation to the new trading profile and his continued march on the road to success with his trade customers.
Speaking candidly, Grant says that the biggest plus in the raft of change that came into being with the pandemic were hugely helped by his staff. Prominent among the front line team were his trusted long term trade experts, Ruan, Tshepo, Rene and Andre who along with Walters and Alex Smith, all went that extra mile in service delivery for their regular client base which is spread between automotive, industrial and agricultural business areas of activity.
“Obviously,” says Grant, “we undertook a major rationalisation of all our activities as the market downturn hit us in every direction. By consolidating delivery routes to the Free State repair shops and other cost savings measures we implemented a new business plan. Right now, with over 140 days of lock down we’re almost back on target for our year’s turnover and that’s quite an amazing feat.
“We have encountered some product shortages with Covid-19 in place but with all our key working staff backing the effort on our ability to supply local needs, we are back on course, so to speak.”
Grant has three decades of business operating history in the Vereeniging market and with close to a decade as the head of the Marouns operations, Grant is philosophical about the company’s success for he says that you treat any business as if it’s your own – despite the fact that we’re part of a much larger Marouns Group operation – as we are. Things will always return to a fast level of profitability and its this old school business philosophy that has guided the Vaal operation to the very top level of performance.
It is not difficult to convince yourself that it’s all about customer confidence and service overall. Right now that’s been their driving force despite the market conditions being left at very confusing levels of activity.
“Truthfully,” says Grant, “you have to keep your eye on your business at all times and not get bogged down on what your opposition may or may not be doing in this tough market trading period.
“So yes, we have seen many skips and jumps on this year’s business highway but right now we’re pumping and full of enthusiasm at the Marouns branch in Vereeniging and every area of our product offer. We are reliable, dependable and delivering what body shops need and with hands-on knowledge and a long-term objective to become their supplier of choice. “ We are tops in the local business right now,” included Walters.