Pule Group popularly known as Pule Funerals is reshaping to be at the top and at the helm is Chief Executive Officer Ned Phatshwane from Marapong village. Having worked for government institutions all his previous career, Phatshwane is setlling well in the private sector. He talks to Archie Mokoka
Tell us about yourself
I am Ned Phatshwane, a married man with two lovely daughters
Where did you start your career?
I started off as a planning officer in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning back in the 90s after which I did my first degree in statistics and economy. I then attained post graduate diploma in economics after which I did Masters in Development Economics. While working I took advantage of the opportunity to study part time for a Masters in Business and Administration with the University of Botswana.
Impressive! Did you continue working for the ministry?
I joined Botswana Savings Bank as Head of Corporate and Business Development. I was basically in charge of product development. Some of the products they have are actually my brain child.
So how did you end up at Pule?
I was in search of personal growth. After BSB I joined Botswana Postal Services, now Botswana Post as head of retail and I was in charge of all branches network and customer service. I then took a rest to rethink about my future, I then decided to have a taste of the private sector for a change.
What did you learn while with the government that you think prepared you for this job?
You learn a lot about systems and procedures. Things are done systematically at government even though it usually tends to create red tape. The private sector is different though, but I learnt and gained a lot of experience from those government institutions which is making my job much easier.
Where are you taking Pule Holdings?
I came in during a time when the company is reshaping and changing direction. We are putting in place a strong base or foundation and implementing some of the strategies. Pule was very familiar with a lot of customers especially in the southern part of the country but competition brought us a challenge which we are tackling with heavy force.
But we wont be just about aggression. Our aggression will be accompanied by good products and excellent systems. We are offering customers what they want.
We have some of the best products in the market and after our manufacturing plant has been refurbished and reconditioned we will meet our market demand.
What challenges do you come across?
Besides competition we have negative perceptions and the low population of our country..Some people think we wish people to die so that we can make money, but that is not true. We make money while the person is alive because they can only pay for their funeral policies while they are alive.There are many customers out there who are ignorant of funeral policies and we educate them about dying with dignity.And the culture of burying on weekends only also presents a challenge. If people buried their loved ones during the week we would have an opportunity to offer better services and our resources would not have to be idle during the week.
With all this to do you must be a busy man. Do you find time to unwind or to be with your family?
On weekends I prefer staying home with my family or push my other interests otherwise I don’t have much time for recreation. Sometimes during weekends I attend funerals to see how the service is going.
Any last words?
Pule is focused on being as professional as possible. Empathy is one of our values. Pule Group was started by a Motswana and is run by Batswana for Batswana. Most communities identify with us and we continue with that spirit of good quality and dignity.
Name: Ned Patshwane
Home Village: Marapong
Favourite food: Anything my wife cooks
Car(s) driving: Nissan Hard-body 2.4 and Toyota Hilux 4X4
Holiday destination: Farm
Book reading: The rules of Management by Richard Templar and 365 Inspiration for a great life by Lina Field
Music playing: Joseph D Tiger’s Never Cry. Its Afro Jazz but I also like Dub(Reggae)