In Store in Kenya Flag
March 2nd, 2021
Raj Malde, MD Mjengo Limited.
Interview

Scaling Mjengo Limited to Greater Heights

We had an opportunity of interviewing Mr. Raj Malde the Managing Director Mjengo Limited.

Raj Malde, MD Mjengo Limited.

“Instore Kenya is a great platform in connecting all FMCG touchpoints through insights revolving around product architecture, innovation, research, case studies, and new news. A great initiative to keep the FMCG professional and manufacturers updated and abreast of what’s happening.” 

Raj Malde, MD Mjengo Limited.

 

Can you briefly introduce Mjengo Limited to our readers? You can share the company’s journey and your wide range of products and portfolios, as well as your key plans for the future.  

Mjengo started out as a wholesaler of building materials in 1991, in the industrial town of Thika. With an eye on the emergent potential in the trading business, we soon diversified Mjengo into the trading of commodities. The company further evolved as we started to add distribution of locally manufactured goods and Multinational Brands as well. 

The onset of margin depletion in trading put a squeeze on profitability and in 2001, we decided to restructure the entire business outlook and plan to put in place a roadmap for sustainable business growth.  As a result, we started to shift our focus to the development and distribution of superior quality products under our own brands.  

In just a decade since its inception, we established Malbros Daawat as our flagship packaged foods brand in the Rice & Pasta Categories. We also created a fighter brand 224 under the rice category. Encouraged by our success with Daawat and 224, we quickly expanded into biscuits and cookies and the NuVita Brand was launched in 2009. A series of portfolio expansions followed – a unique breakfast cereal under the Cereos brand, a snacks range under the Snak it Brand and the Rico Brand in the condiments and complementary foods Category ( 2019). 

Superbrands Certification.

Today, within a very short time, Daawat and NuVita have emerged as acknowledged Power Brands that have earned the SuperBrands certification in East Africa.  

In just two decades since inception, we are recognized as a young, energetic FMCG player of promise, with a well-rounded portfolio and presence in key categories in packaged foods, such as rice and pasta, breakfast cereals, biscuits, and bakes, with many more in the pipeline.  

In keeping with our ambitions and evolution roadmap, we have undergone a rigorous organization reengineering and restructuring recently. Malbros’s Mjengo Limited which manages its packaged foods and FMCG businesses has on-boarded a team of professionals with high-performance track records at some of the biggest foods and FMCG companies from international markets.  

Today, we realize that as a young, future-facing FMCG organization we need to stay dynamic and responsive to emergent opportunities in the ever-evolving market scenario.  

That is why we are enhancing our capabilities in technology, digital, and data that allow us to not only be responsive but be predictive and proactive to consumer needs.  

Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability has become a required agenda in our Business. The Community & the Environment with the Global Warming Perspective must be addressed by our Generation if our children are to see a better tomorrow. 

 

  Kindly share with us Mjengo Limited’s rich history, vision, mission and core values. 

Malbros represents the founding Family which comes with the rich, 100-year legacy of the Malde Brothers. The core Family business consisted of Coffee Exports, Graphite Mining, Agricultural Chemicals, Fertilizers, & Equipment, Imports of Petroleum & various Industries.  

Our vision is to be East Africa’s leading Organisation, satisfying consumer needs with consistent quality products.  

Our mission is to maximize shareholder value through innovation and be a socially responsible corporation with a strategic intent to enrich lives and bring positive change.  

Core Values: Integrity, Managing with Respect, Caring and Strive for Excellence. 

 

 

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers? How did you grow to your position? 

Raj Malde, MD Mjengo Limited.

I have always been a dreamer, I enjoy taking calculated risks, keeping visual on-ground realities, and observing market trends.

Raj Malde- MD Mjengo Limited

The other belief is that comfort zones are death traps. If we stop engaging and evolving, we become obsolete. Talent is very much required & is key to the success of any organization. The best talent is experience. But talent without knowledge can be a challenge.

Therefore, knowledge is very important.

If you are a University graduate, you work hard, & increase your knowledge along the way, then there is Success. You may not necessarily have to be a University graduate, to succeed. What is important is the ability to learn (knowledge). If we are able to learn, adapt & self improve consistently, success is inevitable.  

 

 

How do you evaluate the development of Kenyan brands over the last twenty years on the Kenyan market? 

In twenty years, Kenyan brands have grown exponentially in terms of new innovation and product form. Quality products at affordable prices is a key area for innovation to play a role. Kenya’s home-grown brands are now competing with all Multinational Brands. 

Differentiation and product experience is key to winning the battle for share of mind, wallet, and market. In a fast-evolving store environment, staying differentiated and staying relevant is key. Globally staying relevant also means staying new and in the news. New products, variants, new packaging, new content are key to staying relevant. 

 

 

How does the company make use of technology for internal communication and outside marketing? 

Our communication vehicle for our team and business partners is mostly emails, phone calls and video conferencing. While all employees use internal chat and email, our business tools and mobile apps ensure that our sales force and management are equipped with real-time updates. We are currently looking at investing in Business Intelligence and Machine Learning in an integral way to enable rapid decision making that is more logic-based. 

 

How is Mjengo Limited involved in giving back to the community? 

We try to nurture a strong social gene in our organization’s DNA. This stems from a fundamental belief that an organization can truly grow, only if the community and environment around it grow as well. We believe we are a truly socially responsible corporation that strives to bring about positive change in the environment, in the lives of consumers, employees, and the communities we work in. In line with our core values of Innovation and Commitment to Quality, we are dedicated to embracing responsibility for our actions. 

We continuously support the Children’s Village in Nakuru and the Karibu Centre in Thika by providing food supplies that include rice, beans, and biscuits.  

Apart from our financial support of children’s homes, we have so far planted 4500 trees in the Kimakia Forest Reserve and plan to plant 4500 trees over the next three months. Our solar project was commissioned this year to cut down the carbon footprint. Our striving to Go Green is a continuous process. Driving sustainability is our key agenda. We also strive for gender equality and gender balance. The share of the female workforce is over 50%.

  

 

What is your opinion about In-store Kenya project? 

Instore Kenya is a great platform in connecting all FMCG touchpoints through insights revolving around product architecture, innovation, research, case studies, and new news. A great initiative to keep the FMCG professional and manufacturers updated and abreast of what’s happening. 

 

 

What are your hobbies, or what do you like to do in your free time? 

I have always loved reading and books have stayed a passion. Today I feel, reading is critical for knowledge, introspection and well-informed choices and actions. Cooking is another hobby that I am increasingly finding hard to indulge given my schedules.