Being Innovative, Bold and Creative Pays Off.
At the back are Rigana operations manager Pieter van Wyk and founder Richard Pedler, and in front are chief executive Grant Pedler, chief operating officer Nirisha Dhanishwar and sales manager Steven Macrow.
There is life after retirement, as Richard Pedler proves with a business he started part-time in 1982 and which now employs 22 staff and has a R10 million annual turnover. Sandile Ngidi reports.
Rigana manufactures an astonishing range of products from tank dipping equipment and security seals to rail tank car equipment, supplying laboratory equipment, industrial thermometers, aviation and fuel management solutions. And that’s not all. Rigana also supplies leather equipment, bags, safe torches, spill kits and petroleum dyes.
Thanks to this versatility, Rigana has carved a niche in the petro-chemical, aviation, marine, construction and trucking industries in South Africa.
The company employs 22 staff, mainly in production, and has 17 distributors who operate in various parts of Africa.
Rigana recently started exploring international markets in the UK, the US and France.
Richard Pedler, 78, started Rigana from a little warehouse in Rossburgh. He had just retired from Total after 25 years as a depot manager.
Although Pedler sr is still very much part of the company, he has handed the reins to chief executive officer Grant Pedler, his son, a former advocate.
It’s an energetic and affable Pedler jr who shows me around the factory. He asks one worker to demonstrate how a water finder paste works – essential to show the level of fuel after deducting the level of water.
“I got tired of the legal field, and felt it was time I contributed to this business,” said Pedler. “I saw a great deal of potential and a need to be part of Rigana.”
There’s an amazing rapport between father and son. “We are lucky that we have never had serious differences, in life or business,” said Pedler sr. Soft-spoken and gentle, he prefers his son to unpack the mission and vision of Rigana. Said Pedler jr: “Why do we get up and come to work? There has to be a higher reason than to get enough money to live. I believe businesses are the core of society. “While businesses allow dreams to become reality, they only truly work if they have a human need. So what could be a better pastime than to create high quality, innovative products that add value to businesses and through that, make a difference in the world?”
He said they “need to listen to our markets and come up with new solutions to operational requirements. These must be easy to use and better than the market had”.
Rigana’s tag line, “Innovative solutions inspired by you”, reflects the company’s commitment to ensuring the user not only sees value but has access to its wide range of product and service solutions. Pedler sr firmly believes success comes from stepping out of your comfort zone. He mentions as an example an employee too terrified to drive even though she had a licence. “One day I just said to her: ‘Take the keys and let’s go.’ The idea was to help her conquer her inner fears.”
This philosophy is applied to all staff, who are given opportunities to improve and stretch themselves, often beyond what they thought was possible. “Growth is the game of winning. Through growth, much can be achieved for the business and its people,” said Pedler jr.
“People must be given an appropriate level of responsibility and authority, a high level of achievement must be expected of them and they must be rewarded for theses achievements. “We must listen to the needs of our clients. The bigger the problem we solve, the better our product will do. We must be creative and bold:
Rigana is moving to a new 1000 metre square warehouse next month. More space and even more success are on the cards for the father and son team.