TIPS™ really works for multiple tt100 award-winner

After winning four tt100 awards and two finalist positions, you’d think that PFK Electronics would be patting itself on the back and basking in the glory of being one of the biggest winners yet in the tt100 Business Innovation Awards Programme.

Far from it. “Winning doesn’t mean you’ve made it. Winning means you are aware of your weaknesses and where you can improve,” says Alan Sullivan, chief technical officer of the multiple-award-winning Durban-based company.

This is not false modesty. As Alan points out, PFK Electronics is one of a handful of South African auto electronics manufacturers left, and upping its game constantly is a matter of sheer survival.

“Our market is international and it is becoming more and more difficult to keep competitors from the East at bay,” he says, adding that Indian and Chinese companies especially have the advantage of significant R&D support from their governments. “If the South African government only understood how thin our engineering industry is…”

PFK Electronics is definitely not waiting for government to come to the industry’s rescue. “We have the benefit of 40 years of R&D investment behind us and we are continually evolving, continually looking at ourselves to see where we are and where we can get better. In this business, if you’re going to say, ‘I’m a fat cat now, I can relax’, you’re lost.”

Put another away, “If you do not change, you can become extinct.” These famous words are from one of Alan’s favourite books, Who moved my cheese?, by best-selling author Dr Spencer Johnson.

Staying on its toes is part of the PFK Electronics ethos, and an important part of that in the past 10 years has been to embed the tt100 TIPS framework into the business.

Says Alan: “TIPS™ is not some fancy idea that is all theoretical. If you are aware of what it means and how it all fits together, TIPS makes it so much easier to understand the connection between technology, innovation and the human factor, and to bring it all together.”

Look no further than the *four tt100 awards that PFK Electronics walked off with in November 2017 in the category for large enterprises. It’s a hard act to follow, but then following isn’t how winners are made.

*MTN Award for Excellence in Innovation, Eskom Award for Excellence in the Management of Systems, Blank Canvas International Award for Sustainability and, last but not least, the Department of Science and Technology Minister Award for Overall Excellence.

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