A day at Stahl in Kenya

A day at Stahl in Kenya

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February 19, 2019

Operating globally means that Stahl is an organization on the move. Our team works hard towards our goals in delivering high-quality and innovative chemistry solutions for the industry we serve. This doesn’t just happen at our current sites and in our facilities, it also means expanding our horizons continuously.

One of those horizon-chasers is Simiyu Elphas, who is Business Development Manager for the Leather Business in Kenya. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and an MBA in strategic management and his job is to explore new opportunities for Stahl. He takes you through one of his busy days:

Visiting locations and identifying new business

My work involves identifying business opportunities in tanneries in East Africa. Part of that is picking up new orders and forwarding these to the Business Development Manager Spain (except Maghreb and Turkey) and Middle East.

Some of these opportunities are identified by visiting working stations inside the tannery, checking products and asking questions to employees and owners of tanneries. This requires some efficiency as it is done while they go about their daily processes. Also, I liaise with the Business Development manager Spain, Africa and Middle East to arrange beamhouse trials in this region. This includes sample requests.

Building successes together

On this particular day, we only visited two tanneries. These were conveniently close to each other, with only 10 kilometers between them. One of these has been purchasing a 100% of their leather finishing chemicals from Stahl. That’s also why we held wet-end trials there in August 2018. Carried out by a Stahl technician, they proved to be a success. Recently, in September 2018, the technician and a director visited Leinfelden in Germany for two weeks of training in both wet-end and finishing.

The second tannery is the second largest in Kenya and it does both wet-blue, crusts and finishing. In August, Stahl technicians also perform wet-end and finishing trials over at their location and these were equally successful and have resulted in the very first orders given to Stahl by this tanner.

The daily routine in Kenya

As I am the only Stahl employee currently located in Kenya, I have a home office where I do all my preparations and reporting. It’s got everything I need, a desk, chair, printer, laptop, Internet access and copies of Stahl brochures and more. This also means I decide my own routine. I wake up, have breakfast and pick my tools from the home office. I then go downstairs, take the car out of the parking and visit customers during the day. Due to non-disclosure agreements, I usually have to wait for the location manager to be allowed entry into the tannery. Taking photos was possible this time, thanks to prior permission.

My day ended with the second visit, as the director was called away for an unscheduled meeting. I still met up with a technician and after that I went home to file my reports after a successful day.