My Story: Daniel Lewies:
Procurement Manager, Mpact.
Where do I begin?
I grew up as the second eldest of five siblings and always felt that I drew the short end of the stick when it came to getting attention or the things that I needed. I grew up very poor, on a farm, and always told myself that I would never work on a farm where one often struggles to survive, as I saw my parents doing.
When I finished school in 1996, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, and I found myself working on the farm out of necessity. It all changed for me one day when an elder at our church, who was also a manager at Atlantic Forming, told me that he had a job for me. I gave notice to the farm manager, and was finally on my way to greater and better things.
I began as a production packer, pulling finished goods into the warehouse by a pallet jack and stacking them away by hand. In February 2000, I was made a permanent employee with benefits. I worked shifts for two years until I was promoted to a picker, picking stock for despatch, for both local and national distribution. I got married that year, 2002, to my high school girlfriend, who was also the mother of my two year old daughter. After a year, I was promoted to stock controller where I took initiative and always went the extra mile. I worked with a product that was difficult to control, and worked closely with the sales and production departments, in terms of stock availability. When the opportunity came to transfer to another department, I took it with both hands and started as data capturer at the procurement and raw material store.
In 2006, I was promoted to warehouse supervisor and at the end of that year, my wife told me that she was tired of working on the farm and wanted us to move elsewhere. I decided that we should move closer to my work, so we relocated to Parklands, Tableview. We had not been paying rent, electricity or water on the farm, as my wife was a permanent employee. Moving to the city, we now had to pay all of these, as well as transport. It was tough to make that decision, but we were strong and went for it.
In that year, I was also nominated as one of the employees to do a mentorship program that was introduced by Lana Potgieter of SMI. I did not know what to expect, but I knew it was going to open doors for me and give me the tools I needed to get myself in a position to go further up the corporate ladder. The program went on for three years, until the previous management broke away and started a company in opposition; Linpac. After that breakaway, the company no longer continued with our mentorship program. A restructuring process followed, and my mentor was retrenched, so the plans for me to grow into his position were affected by that. I was taken out of my supervisory role and moved into a buyer position. After three years, I was promoted to Senior Buyer and I reported directly to the Financial Director. During that time, I studied through Unisa and obtained a Certificate in Purchasing and Supply Management (Private sector). In 2012, I also did an online course for Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM), through Next Level Purchasing, Pennsylvania, USA. I showed my worth to the company and was promoted to Procurement Manager in 2013. I also rediscovered my enjoyment for Athletics in 2015 and won a gold in discus and a silver in shotput, at the Nationals.
At the end of June 2016, I accepted a voluntary retrenchment package for sixteen plus years of service, and on the 18th of July 2016 I was offered the position of Procurement Manager at Mpact Versapak in my home town, Paarl. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked down the stairs from my office and saw Lana in the reception area, with a smile that said “well done, look how far you have come!” I told Lana that, if she had not come, I would have suggested that we get the mentorship program on course to empower other employees who show promise, and give them the tools to grow and become the best they can be.
It has been a long and rewarding road for me and I must thank Lana for the contribution she has made to my life. I was very negative and lacked self-confidence. But now, I have recently bought my second home in Wellington and I am busy with renovations for it. I am currently training for the Western Province Masters Athletics Championships and look forward to the challenge. I am also now the mentor of two exceptional mentees, and I am privileged to be able to pass on what I have learned, and am still learning everyday, to them.