The 100-million litres supplied to logistics, construction and mining companies in 2017, compared with the 151-million supplied in 2018, shows a significant growth of 51%, which fuel distributor Advent Oil MD Lebo Mbethe hopes will serve as a catalyst for the business in 2019.
She attributes this growth to building on a sound and competent platform as well as a hunger for taking on new challenges, especially in a challenging and demanding market.
Advent Oil’s strengths are based on the quality product it delivers within expected timelines, as well as frequent communication and service that continues to exceed clients’ expectations.
The idea of focusing on continuous improvement is not something new but has traditionally been the domain of the oil majors, with nontraditional players having largely focused in the past on pricing.
Mbethe states that the company is in its final stages of launching a technology that will assist in ensuring ease of doing business. The application will provide clients with access at their fingertips to all information but will also facilitate a two-way communication between businesses at a strategic and site level.
“Our main focus in terms of client industries are construction, logistics and mining. When opportunities arise, we will not ignore other industries, but our business model has been developed with these key sectors in mind.”
Mbethe has also not been afraid to take on the larger accounts within this space and this has seen her business been awarded contracts by the likes of platinum group metals miner Lonmin and the large construction and crushing group Scribante group.
At the same time therein lie a host of challenges. Mbethe laments difficulty raising capital to trade and the resultant cash flow challenges affecting Advent Oil.
“We sell high-value items at a very low margin. Volume is key, but to get the volume, one must have a strong balance sheet to raise sufficient amounts of capital to carry the high costs. Therein lies the dilemma. It is very much a chicken-and-egg situation,” she explains.
Mbethe tells Engineering News that the company was awarded the supply contract for Lonmin as well as Scribante in 2019.
The Lonmin account has cemented what is already a strong mining portfolio and has seen Advent Oil not only delivering products but also value-added services in this space, with fuel management services as well as facilities management a key part of the deliverables.
Advent is not only focused on its own business but also on developing localised empowerment solutions with a number of localised business being established along the way. Mbethe has often said that “it is not my intention to be the biggest supplier but I want to be the best at what I do and give back to communities in the process”.
It is this type of forward thinking that should ensure that Advent Oil continues to go from strength to strength in an industry crying out for change.