Connie Mdladla Khaas Logistics South Africa
Logistics business founder Connie Mdladla has not had it easy. Raised by a single parent, she recalls how tough it used to be just getting to and from school. “It was so bad that my mother used to buy just one bus ticket for us, and my sister and I would have to decide who went to school and when.”
Having epilepsy did not help. The neurological disorder forced her to give up her studies at Vista University in the late 1990s. “Epilepsy can be embarrassing. It is hard to be seen as a woman who faints.”
Unable to compete her BCom degree, she took a job as a receptionist at Intertek, a global inspection, product testing and certification company, in 1998.
Though her epilepsy was an obstacle, Mdladla’s drive and ambition eventually got her to the position of inspection co-ordinator for Intertek.
In her time there she taught herself about the company’s operations, which motivated her to take short courses in import and export management and customs clearance.
This eventually led her into corporate shipping at various companies, including large logistics groups like UTI and Sebenza Forwarding.
Though she had done well in the corporate space, by 2008 she wanted to do something different. Feeling underutilised, Mdladla decided to resign and pursue her dream of running her own business.
“I saw a gap and decided to take the risk and start my own company,” she says.
With just a laptop, a phone, a second bond on her home and lots of determination, she forged ahead and founded Khaas Logistics.
Knowing she had to offer something different, instead of just a freight forwarding service, she also opted to provide training in export/import rules and procedures.
Mdladla wisely joined Connecting 5 Continents (C5C), a global freight network of agents. “This organisation brings peace of mind to us, as it does the background check on agents to see if they are who they say they are,” Mdladla says.
To get off the ground, she started contacting people she had done business with in the past, to see if they were prepared to take a chance on her.
One of them was, and Khaas Logistics was soon in business. “That company became my biggest client and my company took off because of its support.”
It has not been an easy journey, and Mdladla is justifiably proud of what she has achieved. Khaas Logistics now employs 10 people and owns a fleet of trucks.
Mdladla’s efforts have been recognised. She has won the Standard Bank Rising Star Award in the Logistics Category for 2015, and was also nominated for Business Woman of the Year and Top Young Executive at the 2014 National Business Awards.
Winning the Rising Star award confirmed to Mdladla she was on the right track. “We are who we say we are, we have the potential to beat the big guys in this industry.”
But even though she has achieved a lot she still wants more. She has ambitions to own her own offices and warehousing facilities with a yard and to increase the size of her fleet. She also wants to open offices in Durban because it has the country’s biggest port.
“I want Khaas to be represented all over the world,” Mdladla says.
Connie Mdladla Khaas Logistics South Africa, Connie Mdladla, Khaas Logistics South AfricaFinancialMail