How Tshepho Mekoa Beat The Odds & Successfully Launched Brima Logistics

Brima Logistics was launched in 2005 by Tshepo Mekoa. The founding vision has always been to offer clients a broad spectrum of logistics services that will honour the principles of efficiency, excellency, and productivity

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Background

Tshepo Mekoa, founder of Brima Logistics

Tshepo Mekoa’s introduction to the business world came earlier on in his teenage years.

He was raised in Daveyton by his grandfather, a small businessman who owned a shebeen which was one of the most popular gathering places in the community.

Helping his grandfather run the shebeen laid the right foundations for his future life in business.

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He later paid tribute to his roots through his restaurant Brima Cafe in the heart of Daveyton – a formal, high-end establishment

He studied Industrial Psychology after matriculating in the early 90s. He landed his first job as a logistics clerk at a company based in Johannesburg.

A manager at the firm gave a young-inquisitive Tshepo a book to read called Military Logistics. From that moment going forward, he knew that he wanted to do logistics for the rest of his life.

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He climbed the ranks in the industry while at the same time, studying towards a diploma in Business Logistics through UNISA. He started off as a Logistics Supervisor at MTN, followed by Logistics Manager at Cell C, and later held the same position at Vodacom.

By the time he managed a division of 500 workers and 2 warehouses, he was itching to start his own venture.

Brima

According to Tshepo, before he could register Brima Logistics formally, he had to think carefully and come up with a strategy of how he was gonna break into an industry already dominated by big players.

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He decided to focus on a niche called reverse logistics, a collection of returned goods and obsolete items from companies. He saw a gap in the market after realizing that established players didn’t like handling unboxed goods.

In 2005, it was still possible to buy a truck with a payslip, so Tshepo did just that and acquired the first truck for Brima. His wife, Matsietsie, followed suit by buying a bakkie.

For a few months, he ran the business as a sidehustle, but it soon became clear that in order for the business to succeed, he needed to be there on a full-time basis. He then resigned, cashed in his pension fund, and threw himself into running Brima.

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He started by working as a subcontractor for an established courier company, and at some point, even tried doing some furniture deliveries until his idea of reverse logistics paid off.

Standard Bank contracted Brima to collect their old computers, soon the company started delivering packages as a traditional courier to sites where they were scheduled to pick up old equipment.

As time went on, some of Brima’s growing number of clients started asking for warehousing of the items that they wanted delivered to customers, and while they were at it, freight clearing and forwarding services for the items that they were asked to warehouse.

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From the get-go, Tshepo built Brima with compliance and formal systems, which made it remarkably resilient in the face of inevitable setbacks such as hijackings, as most of Brima’s cargo are high valued items.

Under his stewardship, Brima went on to employ over 120 people, buy 40+ trucks & dozens of vans, and also established 6 branches across the country.

In 2016, he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident that left in a coma for 30 days, 4 months in ICU, and 12 months at home before he could return to Brima.

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While he was still recovering in hospital, his staff kept the business going – during that time, Brima grew by 45%.

In 2019, Tshepo gave away 10% of Brima to his employees through a trust called Bokamoso Staff Trust.

This idea was inspired by the spirit his staff members displayed of always going the extra mile to ensure the company became a success.

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In 2020, when covid-19 hit the market with its level 5 lockdowns, Brima lost 80% of its turnover. Before the pandemic, the company was growing, and on its way to hiring more people.

Unfortunately, Tshepo was then forced to retrench 40 of his staff members, with the remaining taking a 50% paycut, while he took 65% just to save the business from drowning.

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After some of the lockdown regulations were relaxed, Tshepo took to his Twitter account and announced that the employees who were laid off have been rehired again.

Brima Tech

Brima Tech

It is often said that empowering women in the workplace requires active lobbying from men who still enjoy a huge dominance over occupying powerful positions in the corporate sector.

In September 2021, Tshepo launched Brima Tech, as a female-led tech division within the company.

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Brima Tech develops tech-based solutions such as software, applications, and e-commerce websites to fill the gaps in the local and global market.

Future Plans??

Brima’s Vision Board

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