Location Spotlight: Gloridge

Location: South Africa – Head office based in Randburg, Gauteng province

Affiliate: Gloridge (Pty) Ltd.

Year Opened: 2000

Products/Services offered by Gloridge:

RETAIL BAKERIES DIVISION – trading as Globake. Currently there are stores situated in Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng province stores in the Free State province. Each unit bakes bread and confectionery daily and also sells bakery related fast food items, such as pies, rolls and sandwiches.

INDUSTRIAL BAKERIES DIVISION – there are currently three units. These business units generally supply government departments (such as prisons) and mining companies.

DISTRIBUTION DIVISION – trading as Sunrich Pty Ltd. Buying and selling of bakery ingredients such as bread flours, premixes, yeast etc. to our own retail business units and independent bakeries. There are currently five business units operating in Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal and Free State provinces. We are in the process of establishing a sixth unit in Cape Town to manage fellow affiliate Paramount’s existing customer base and develop new business.

A normal day at Gloridge:
RETAIL BAKERIES DIVISION – these businesses operate 24/7 and all production is done in-store except for some specialty products which are supplied by a central bakery with staff that have the necessary skills.

The production process is a mixture of manual and automated input. For yeast products (bread, rolls and buns) it involves:

1) blending of dry ingredients

2) addition of water in a ratio determined by the quantity of flour per recipe

3) mixing ingredients through mechanical means which also imparts energy to hasten yeast activation

4) portioning the dough into standard weights

5) feeding dough pieces into a moulder which shapes the dough to facilitate achievement of final product shape

6) placing moulded dough pieces in pre-greased pans

7) loading pans onto trolleys

8) placing loaded trolleys in a proofer (enclosed area humidified by steam)

9) removing trolleys from proofer (generally after 60 minutes for bread)

10) placing trolleys in oven

11) removing trolleys from oven (generally after 30-40 minutes for bread

12) removing bread from pans and allowing baked product to cool for approximately 15 minutes

13) slicing of loaves and bagging and placing in branded packaging. This production cycle generally takes two hours.

INDUSTRIAL BAKERIES DIVISION – these businesses also operate 24/7 but unlike the retail businesses where goods are sold over the counter, goods produced are delivered directly to customers.

DISTRIBUTION DIVISION – goods are bought in, warehoused and delivered to customers. These are ostensibly Monday to Friday, nine to five operations but will work outside of these hours if necessary to fulfill customer needs. The main suppliers to these businesses are affiliates, Lesotho Flour Mills based in Maseru, Lesotho and Paramount Milling, based in East London, Eastern Province, South Africa.

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How many employees work at Gloridge:

The company employs 363 people.

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What are the typical daily challenges Gloridge faces?

From a cost of operations perspective, steep annual electricity price increases nationwide – largely as a result of corruption and inefficiencies at ESKOM, the state owned utility company – have become a major challenge for the bakery units. Electricity now accounts for about 30% of operating expenses.

All business operations have also had to contend with a weak currency and record high fuel prices. To top it all, the country’s economy is in recession and the unemployment rate is persistently high – 27.2% (over 6 million in Q2 of 2018) according to official statistics – but most economists agree that this figure excludes tens of thousands of people who have simply given up looking for work.

What is the latest project or improvement Gloridge went through?

The Retail division has opened two ‘new look’ stores in shopping centers in ‘townships’ surrounding Johannesburg. ‘Townships’ are legacies of the apartheid governments’ segregation program and were designed to provide a source of relatively cheap labor for industries in urban areas.

The Retail division presence is mainly in CBD’s and revenue in this environment is diminishing steadily because of a number of factors including: a) street vendors and hawkers competing illegally for business. b) high incidence of crime c) a customer base that is under economic pressure.

The shift to shopping centers in the townships overcomes most of these challenges in that it provides a more secure environment; greater ‘foot traffic’ and customers with higher income. The company is exploring the possibility of expanding the retail division through franchising and a presence in a more upmarket environment is more likely to appeal to franchisees than the current environment.

Are there any new projects developing at Gloridge?

The Sunrich division has started a pre-mix business that specializes in supplying bread and confectionery premixes to our own bakeries as well as supplying the Sunrich depots who sell these products to independent bakeries and chain store bakeries. Sunrich buy the Enzymes and cocktails from Eurogerm a Seaboard affiliate based in Durban, South Africa.

What makes Gloridge unique or different to others?

Gloridge companies are unique in that they are very entrepreneurial in spirit. All branch managers are encouraged to manage business units as if the business was their own. This results in many new ideas and ways of growing the business.

Gloridge operates in a highly competitive market and is comfortable with change, the business model is reviewed constantly to ensure we adapt to the ever changing market conditions.

What was the last social event, gathering, or celebration you had?

A function celebrating 20 years of service for one of our senior managers.

How’s life in this location? Weather, economy, infrastructure, traffic, government, society, etc.?

Weather conditions vary according to business unit location.

Typically in Johannesburg, 1.750m above sea level, summers are hot and brief thunderstorms are common in the afternoon. Winter nights are cold, but days are warm. Spring and Autumn are relatively mild.

Durban has the busiest port in Africa and sub tropical climate – very humid in the summer with mild winters compared to other regions.

Bloemfontein is situated more or less in the middle of the country and has a climate similar to Johannesburg.

The economy, as mentioned earlier is under sever strain.

The road infrastructure is relatively good when compared to other African countries although transport is expensive because the rail system has deteriorated, and the bulk of goods is transported by road.

Traffic is nightmarish at peak times in Johannesburg and Cape Town but still not as bad as Lagos, Lusaka and Nairobi, for instance.

The African National Congress has remained in power since the time it won the first democratic elections in 1994 with 66% share of the vote.

There was a brief period of growth in the economy under the ANC, peaking during the Mbeki presidency (1999 to 2008). Since then, the economy has stagnated largely as a result of massive corruption to the extent of almost bankrupting many State owned enterprises, which had to be rescued by government bail outs which the country can ill afford. This has culminated in Fitch and Standard & Poor downgrading the country’s sovereign debt rating to ‘junk’ status.

There has been a significant drop in support for the ANC resulting in loss of control of the Johannesburg and Pretoria metros in the last municipal elections. Growing dissatisfaction with the ANC’s poor service delivery and it’s association with the Guptas, an Indian family believed to be behind a ‘State Capture’ endeavor, has led to growing support for an offshoot of the party, the radical Economic Freedom Fighters, who have championed the call for expropriation of land, without compensation. This has not unexpectedly spooked business and citizens, leading to reduced investment.

Mr Ramaphosa, the current President, has made an effort to attract foreign investment and  to boost growth with little success thus far, although China, South Africa’s biggest trade partner has pledged to loan the country $14.7 billion, most of which will be used to sustain the near bankrupt SOE’s. The ANC has made much of the loan but economists point out that it pales against South African business’ $80 billion in China.

The country will have a general election next year and for the first time since 1994 there is an expectation that the ANC may lose control of Gauteng, the economic hub of the country.

What is special about Gloridge’s location? Touristic spots or interesting things to see and do, etc.

South Africa is situated at the foot of Africa and has many attractions for tourists. The abundant wildlife is a popular draw card and there are many game reserves including the renowned 2 million-hectare Kruger Park, to cater for visitors wishing to spot the big five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and cap buffalo). The coastline around Cape Town offers opportunities to see marine life such as whales, great white sharks and orcas.

There is so much to see scenically: the iconic Table Mountain: the rugged Wild Coast where waterfalls plunge directly into the sea; the lush Garden route along the lower Indian Ocean coast contrasting with the desert beauty of Kgalagadi in the North.

Popular cultural tourist attractions include: Robben Island off Cape Town where Nelson Mandela and other ant-apartheid heroes were imprisoned; the Apartheid museum in Johannesburg and the adjoining Gold Reef theme park which features an underground tour of a mine shaft that was once the world’s richest producer of gold.

And for those with an interest in military history, the Kwa-Zulu Natal interior has many battlefields to explore that featured in the Boer and Zulu wars.