CEO Magazine Article

January 2018

Cards Plus was established in Boksburg, South Africa, in late 2009 as a family business. Six years later, Cards Plus bears little resemblance to its humble beginnings. The full-service PVC card manufacturer offers clients an array of custom-printed card solutions to meet their unique needs. Besides a loyal and growing local customer base, Cards Plus has secured major contracts in Africa and continues to expand its reach on the continent.

In February 2014, a change of ownership injected a fresh approach to the way the business is run and in its approach to its people and customers. “The new owners recognised that, in a business, time and financial resources are often limited, especially during the scaling-up stages of the business cycle. So, they developed a new business strategy,” says Cards Plus managing director Trevor James.

Exceptional Customer Service

“Our vision is to be the first choice and most trusted local card solution provider by adding value to our clients’ success. Our mission is to provide card-based solutions, local manufacturing, and leading-edge technology, together with exceptional customer service for the quality conscious client,” says James.

Cards Plus stands out from the competition by offering solutions that match the highest possible quality produced locally.

Building a Brand

“It has been said that a brand should have clear-cut beliefs and approaches to life and make specific contributions to society, and, in doing so, present itself with consistency and integrity. Successful brands are like successful people.

We aspire to build a Cards Plus brand to meet the expectations of our customers,” James points out. This medium-sized business has over 30 employees. Visualising the culture of the business was very important in retaining and attracting the correct people to execute on the business strategy. The objective was to achieve a long-term sustainable and profitable business. “We had to create a culture that could live successfully within the organisation,” says James.

Distractions were killing the business. Everyone was busy, but no one could determine what was actually being done to meet the expectations of customers. So, Cards Plus went back to the basics of business: keeping it simple. It therefore focused on addressing the core of the business: its customers, people and suppliers.

The business consequently implemented a lean philosophy reflective of an organisation intent on providing perfect customer value while increasing efficiency and minimising waste – in other words, doing more with less. This is based on the idea of ‘continuous incremental improvement’, and, more importantly, ‘respect for people’.

For a business to attain its objectives and increase its value, both the business and its components must work together as an integrated and coordinated system. So, an improvement or change in one area benefits the whole business.

Attracting and Retaining the Right People

Any successful business is highly dependent on the calibre of its team members and on them supporting the owners of the business. Vociferous discussion and debate mapped out a new business strategy, underpinned by values that the staff could live by.

These values include: be colourful and fun to be around, be attentive and show compassion for others, love and value customers, and be wholehearted in all that you do.

Finding, attracting and retaining the right people was key to building the business in such a way that employees ‘own the business’. Their entrepreneurial spirit is the recipe for Cards Plus’s success. A defined and decisive culture unites employees. This drives the Cards Plus vision to be the first choice, the most trusted local card-solution provider, and to add value to clients’ success.

Customer Solutions

Besides manufacturing PVC plastic cards, Cards Plus has aligned its business strategy to offer customers solutions around its core business.

These include: loyalty programmes, secondary personalisation processes, secure and customised software aligned to cutting-edge hardware, and customer design-specific biometric applications. The goal is to provide the easiest, most user-friendly service that will help operators print problem-free.

Cards Plus is constantly testing and configuring software solutions suitable for our unique African environment. “Our business approach is winning customers back, which is gratifying,” James emphasises. This has resulted in 20% growth in turnover over the past year. This means several things for Cards Plus customers. “We will continue to build and improve on our levels of service, quality and easy-to-do business. Together with our suppliers and strategic partners, we will be able to accomplish more, providing an even better and faster service for our customers while retaining quality,” James elaborates. “Our customers’ needs and expectations are forever changing. We therefore need to be able to respond appropriately and quickly if we are to deliver on their expectations. I cannot imagine a better team in place at Cards Plus to align with our values and solution-driven mission,” James states.

James concludes with this message: “We wish to thank our loyal customers and suppliers for supporting us on this journey. Cards Plus remains as committed as ever to providing our customers with the expected service levels they deserve, with a smile. And we continue to listen to the voice of our customer.”