Two successful graduates from the Sewells-MSX International (MSXI) Advanced Dealer Management (ADM) training programme are full of praise for this year-long course which has been available to South African motor dealers since 2007.
Recent ADM graduates Tama Mtonga, MINI sales manager at Joburg City BMW, and Naeem Essop, dealer principal at Suzuki Northcliff, say they are benefitting significantly from the course which involves a combination of sales, service, finance, and human resources training with many practical examples.
Sewells-MSXI has strong relationships with virtually all the vehicle manufacturers, importers, and major dealer groups in South Africa, working closely with these companies to tailor training programmes to meet their varied needs, including the important facet of transformation.
Sewells-MSXI is a leading global business process outsourcing company, focusing on the automotive industry, which has been operating in the retail motor business space in South Africa since the early 1980’s.
Sewells-MSXI, which is now headquartered in Detroit, US, was created in 2016 with the merger of the Sewells Group and MSX International subsidiaries in the Asia Pacific, Africa, and Middle East regions. The new company is now represented by 6 000 employees across 80 countries around the world.
ADM delegate Tama Mtonga entered the motor retail business as Joburg City BMW nominee on the BMW training programme in 2007, after obtaining a BTech Marketing degree at the University of Johannesburg. This was followed by five years in sales before a move to customer relationship management (CRM), which in recent times has also included acting as sales manager at the dealership located in the Johannesburg CBD.
Driven by an ambition to become a dealer principal Tama went searching for a suitable training course to prepare her for this level of career move and she found the Sewells-MSXI ADM training programme. Backed by the Joburg City BMW management team, Tama was nominated for the year-long programme and now, having completed it successfully, she says it has provided an excellent grounding in all the skills required for her planned move up the management ladder.
“The many practical examples we studied, as well as the monthly assignments, and the wide range of subjects covered in depth during the year are ideal preparation for those wanting to get more involved in motor retail management,” commented Tama, who has just been appointed sales manager at the new Joburg city MINI dealership in Newtown.
“I found most benefit came from learning to understand financial management as well as the importance of integrating all aspects of the dealership – sales, service, parts, human resources and customer care – in building a successful business model. I also learned a great deal from fellow ADM delegates, who were open and helpful, as well as the vast experience and mentoring of Sewells’ ADM course leader, Mike Paxton,” added Tama.
Naeem Essop, Dealer Principal at Suzuki Northcliff, seen with the framed certificates from the Sewells-MSXI Advanced Dealer Management course mounted on the wall of his office.
Naeem Essop is also full of praise for the ADM course, where he not only graduated, but also won a special award for having submitted the most outstanding business plan among the 2017 delegates.
“I found Sewells-MSXI’s ADM course brilliant as it covered all aspects of the motor retail business in detail and, best of all, it is very practical, so one can implement learnings immediately on returning to our dealerships,” commented Naeem.
“In fact, I have the course books in the top drawer of my office desk, so I can refer to them quickly when required. I fully recommend this course to people working in retail dealerships, particularly sales managers, as it provides a well-rounded overview of the various disciplines in the business and ways of optimising profit opportunities by way of efficient management.”
Naeem Essop started out studying electrical engineering in Durban after matriculating, but financial constraints meant he had to look for a job. A friend in the motor industry suggested he consider a career in motor retail and he was fortunate to obtain a position as an after-sales consultant at a Peugeot dealership in Gauteng.
Naeem progressed to becoming a sales executive, but then the branch closed. He was fortunate to obtain a sales position at Suzuki Northcliff and was transferred to Suzuki Bryanston as his career flourished, being promoted to sales manager in 2012. Then it was a return to the Northcliff dealership as new car sales manager in October 2016 before being appointed dealer principal in March this year.
“The timing of the ADM course has been ideal as I have benefited immensely, particularly in terms of financial management, recruiting the correct staff and the most effective way to use social media. The dealership is already benefitting and performing far better than previously as I continue to apply all the principles I learned on the course” added Naeem.
“Although the Sewells-MSXI ADM programme dates back to 2007, we continue to adapt the course to cater for the latest trends and developments in the local retail motor industry,” explained John Templeton, Marketing Head Operations, Sewells-MSXI South Africa. “We now have a much broader view of the required scope of the ADM. A focal point nowadays is assisting in the transformation process.
“This is a high-level, intensive ‘Dealer Principal Apprenticeship’ programme, where delegates learn from the successes of some of the world’s most experienced and professional operators, academics and consultants. It is a window into international best practice.”