Our Staff Experiences – CFAO Mobility Zambia

Longest Serving Employee: Ms Juliet Kamanga – Personal Assistant to CEO/COO

Ms. Juliet Kamanga is one of the longest serving employees at Toyota Zambia with more than three (3) decades at Toyota Zambia. She joined Toyota Zambia when it only had two branches, Lusaka Cairo and Kitwe in the Copperbelt.

Ms. Juliet first appointment was as a secretary to the sales manager. When asked how Toyota Zambia has evolved over the years, this is what she had to say.

“I have been with Toyota Zambia since 1987 and am proud to say we were only 70 employees. Being at Toyota Zambia has been such a great honour because I have tasted how it is like to be motivated, from being a secretary to personal assistant to different Managing Directors which came with challenges and improvements of skills. I can only encourage young ones out there to work harder and achieve their dreams through planning, determination and focus on what you are passionate about. Young ladies aspiring to be Personal Assistant, should not only have the educational background, but should be resilient and persistant towards achieving their goals”. As Collin Powell stated, ‘There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure’, she said.

Ms. Kamanga has diligently worked for Toyota Zambia for thirty-three (33) years and has progressively been recognised as the longest serving employee who holds a position of personal assistant to both Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Dino Bianchi and Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Nenad Predrevac.

Mr. Mambo Phiri – National Service Coordinator

oyota Zambia Human Capital used to take interest in ensuring that its staff operate and deliver a level of performance that meets international Toyota Standards and customer service levels in an effort to position the company as a preferred employer.

This was achieved through vocational training and inviting top university graduates to apply for the graduate trainee program, which would run for two (2) years rotational training period to gain experience in all facets of a multi-national brand and enable employees to work across all levels in the organization.

Todays’ article is about Mambo Phiri who had a privilege to be picked as a best student from one of the international universities by Toyota Zambia as graduate trainee.

This particular interview was conducted in an informal set-up due to the busy schedule from Mr. Mambo Phiri and the interviewer. Mr. Phiri is one of the most enthusiastic self-driven employee at Toyota Zambia employed as National Service Coordinator in service department. This is what he had to say. 

“I graduated from Belgorod State Technological University in the Russian Federation with an Honours Degree with a distinction in Economics(major) and credit in Finance (minor) in June 2016. After having worked for Entrepreneurs Financial Centre Zambia as Relationship Manager for four (4) months, I was selected to work at Toyota Zambia in May 2017 as a Graduate Management Trainee (GMT). The transition made more sense as I was exposed to more responsibilities at the same time learnt and observed from how various staff members executed their work. Change indeed came at the right time. I must make mention that my learning process has not been a curve but a constant improvement due to the meetings and workshops I have been exposed to. Many are times people will say being a graduate trainee is not as good as being called an employee. Let me take this opportunity to clarify the perceptions from the mass regarding being a GMT. As a GMT, you get to become more competitive and amass different set of skills from various colleagues and departments which automatically gives you that unique X-Factor.

Today, I can proudly proclaim that I have gained experience in all facets/departments of a multi-national brand and can easily adapt to any branch within the Toyota World working environment across the world.  At the end of the program, my performance was rated and was given an appraisal. Thus a permanent employment position was offered to me and got exposed to various business activities in Vehicle Sales, Finance and Service Department. Whilst working in Vehicle Sales, I had an opportunity to works related to actual selling of motor vehicles, stock management, tender processes, marketing related activities, sales administration, as well as product knowledge and providing quality customer service. Later on I joined Finance Department where I worked as a Credit Controller and had a privilege to have gained an overall exposure on credit and debtors related activities which is one of the integral part of the business and the department as a whole.

Furthermore, I managed various Parts Sales Consultant’s account ensuring that all cash allocations are done timely, preparing the daily trade debtors report, follow up on the outstanding payments, managing customer accounts and reconciliation, providing support on debtor’s monthly reports, clearing service and parts cash sales as well as clearing value added tax.

Notwithstanding, I joined Service Department where I was exposed to works related to service advisory, costing, bookings, allocation of jobs to technicians, post service follow up, job card audits and providing monthly reports to Service Managers.

In addition, my hard work was identified by management as a result I was placed in the National Service Office as National Service Coordinator responsible for business coordination in the department and monitoring national sales, gross profit absorption rate, preparing daily and monthly service reports. Additionally, I had an opportunity to be sent to Kenya, Nairobi by management for a management workshop on Suzuki business management and operations and I was trained in business expansion, marketing, workforce management and planning, business monthly reports, strategic planning and budgeting, product knowledge and customer service.

Besides, I was the Team Leader for Toyota Zambia Kaizen Group called “Team Hasty”, where we participated in various sessions of team work discussions, research, analyses, planning and presentations aimed at continuous improvement of internal and external business processes. Our topic was on “Aged Stock Reduction” a project which has been implemented by Parts Department in ensuring that all strategies with regards to aged stock reduction will contribute to improving management of aged stock and stimulate sales and ordering process of new parts in order to prevent future reoccurrence of aged stock accumulation.

To this effect, I have had a wonderful business exposure at Toyota Zambia and from the support and help from management and members of staff I have managed to achieve all these milestones as well as other social prevailing business environmental activities.

Let me further take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to my career growth and development and may the God Lord bless you all”.

Mr, Phiri is currently working as National Service Coordinator and remains an ever passionate employee who believes in team work and innovation. Look forward to the next piece as we will take you to our Copperbelt Branch-Kitwe.

Mr. Deogracious Chisanga -Sales Consultant

One of Toyota Zambia’s core value is ‘Respect for People’ and ‘Continuous Improvement’. The second interview was awe-inspiring because the interviewee displayed a character of meekness and had extreme respect for people up until today.

This is one of the exceptional story we would like to share, another story from a long serving employee – Mr. Deogracious Chisanga a Sales Consultant at Toyota Zambia, who believes in possibilities. He has been working for Toyota Zambia for eighteen (18) years and has so much to share regarding Toyota as a work place his known to be, not just as an empowering organisation but also a working environment with ‘VAST’ opportunities.

It is amazing how Toyota Zambia as a brand has managed to keep 50% of its employees who still exhibit so much enthusiasm and have worked for more than a decade. Undoubtedly, readers of this article might have doubt regarding the authenticity of what has been shared, be assured that every story being shared has been approved for sharing and it is all about “realism ontology” which is simply the TRUTH!

This interview was exclusively done early March, 2020 by an independent person with vast experience in communication, research and development. When asked about how and when Mr. Chisanga joined Toyota Zambia, this is what he had to say. “I joined Toyota Zambia in August 2002 as a driver (with emphasis on his face). Yes, I applied for a job with an open mind, knowing for a fact that there were no vacancies at that time. A day after I submitted my application, I was called to start as a driver immediately. I was excited and trilled because before I could even settle as a driver, the Logistics Manager at that time, requested me to assist him in filing physical and Interpol forms. I must make mention that the change was drastic yet overwhelming as I was also given work from the administration office. I made sure that I worked beyond manager’s expectation which somewhat pleased the Managing Director. My dear I can assure you that was a turning point. I was then officially elevated to being the Registration Clerk within a month. I must make mention that I took every role very serious and was passionate about performing efficiently and effectively, that includes reporting for work at 06:30 am. I am the living proof of exhibiting “Diverse Skill Set”, which most people may call Jack of all trades (he laughs). This was not by default (as he smiles) for I certainly enjoyed every role I was given; it was a challenge which enhanced the set of skills I had. The following year, 2003, I was elevated to Registration Licensing Clerk, Sales Clerk there after Global Logistics Officer. It was after few years I had realised that my passing through various department made me understand Toyota not only as a Brand but as an organisation which gives no limit to one’s potential. At the end 2003, the Managing Director at that time, Mr. Brian Stevenson, asked me what I would love to be at Toyota Zambia. You will never understand or believe me when I say, my response was to be the Truck Sales Consultant. Change is inevitable, so there came the birth of HINO truck 300 series which was popularly known as Toyota Dyna even though the brand wasn’t that appreciated on the on Zambian market.

To understand Toyota Dyna, I was flown to south Africa for training over a period of six years. I must admit that the training motivated me, gave me the unquestionable morale which obviously yielded results of acquiring customers from fleet, corporate and individual segments. My art in selling overlapped to the need of showcasing the smaller vehicles at shopping malls like Manda Hill and the Golf course, you obviously know am referring to marketing displays. At a time when major changes where taking place, Toyota Motor Corporation acquired the shares from Hino. It was at that time I got discouraged because that was when I received my confirmation employed as a driver (sad face). I asked myself, after passing through all these roles and making strides. In short I then realised that our Human Resource department was giving me what was supposed to have been mine months ago. I kept a positive attitude and continued to excel both in skills and roles. I was later confirmed as a sales consultant on permanent basis but retired when I clocked the retirement age. Yes, I need to speed up this interview because it can take us the whole year if not a decade. Today, thankfully, I am still an employee of Toyota Zambia, currently working as sales consultant – which is contractual. The advice I would like to give young ones is simple. Be yourself and take up any challenge, your humility will propel your progress”.

Mr. Chisanga has continued to add value to the corporation and has proved that he has been a great asset to the corporation. It is with no doubt that he still continues working as one on the long serving internal customers (employee) for Toyota Zambia. You too, can start your impossible!

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