With Pragma’s backing, Mettle Petroleum – a black, female-owned service provider, has grown from a small business employing only four in 2017 to a company delivering projects over R2.5milion with 17 employees to date.
“Pragma has always taken people and organisational development seriously. In recent years, our passion for developing people influenced our approach to SED into a more strategic, aggressive SED programme. Mettle Petroleum is a success story because they made use of the resources made available to them and went the extra mile to ensure that they grow their business from there,” says Nelson Broden, a regional manager at Pragma.
Pragma’s enterprise development program aims to identify small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with the potential to provide subcontractor services across sectors. One of the programme focus areas is to recruit and graduate more female, black-owned businesses. Potential suppliers are screened for their ability and potential. Once a suitable candidate is identified, Pragma compiles a development plan for the supplier or service provider, which may include Pragma Academy training, industry or technical training as well as a thorough Pragma onboarding program. After completion of the development plan, the supplier graduates into the supplier development program and may start to perform work on-site. At this stage, the supplier still gets Pragma support on-site with health and safety and has to undergo audits to ensure compliance. When the Pragma team is satisfied, the service provider is allowed to deliver work as a Pragma-approved sub-contractor.
Growth never happens by chance. Dedicated Pragma staff worked with a determined Mettle Petroleum team to ensure the success of the venture. Mettle Petroleum graduated as one of the best candidate suppliers. One of their most successful projects involved a complete forecourt fuel system upgrade, which was successfully delivered on budget while adhering to all relevant health and safety requirements and the global original equipment manufacturer’s technical standards.
Having spent decades at BP South Africa, Nicky Barkley – Mettle Petroleum’s owner and managing director – is no stranger to the oil and gas space. Nicky was a project manager at BP managing various projects, ranging (including) new service stations developments. She also successfully managed the national BP and PnP rebrand programme. With this experience, Nicky decided to start Mettle Petroleum in December 2016. Her passion and active involvement in improving Pragma and Mettle Petroleum are instrumental to the success of the program and the growth of her business.
Nicky is very hands-on. When phoned, she is often on-site, in the mix and getting her hands dirty. Having spent many years in the petrochemical environment, HSSE (Health, Safety Security and Environment) is in her DNA and forms an integral part of the projects delivered by her team. With no reported incidents, Nicky led her team to two Pragma contractor awards in 2019, one for outstanding performance as well as another for individual excellence for one of her technicians.
The enterprise and supplier development program of Pragma strives to graduate much more businesses like Mettle Petroleum into the supplier base. Not just for Pragma’s gain, but to enable them to deliver superior services to other companies. To assist businesses in its SED Programme, Pragma offers preferential payments to assist in cash flow. In Mettle Petroleum’s case, Pragma’s preferential payments enabled the business to grow and move their business from home to an office with a workshop from where they could deliver technical services.
“Supplier Development is not just about advancing economic transformation in South Africa; it is simply the right thing to do,” concludes Nelson. Should potential suppliers or small enterprises wish to deliver work for Pragma, they must ensure the entity is registered and have the necessary expertise. Pragma’s supply chain management division can guide them through the process if they need assistance.