From Customer Experience agent, through Ocean Customer Logistics and into the world of the Regional Ocean Management team, Zithobile Mpontshane shares her experiences in being curious and her journey of continuous learning.
Zithobile Mpontshane, West Africa Exports Pricing and Uptake Manager, has been with Maersk over 6 years and is still surprised by the number of obstacles that as an organisation we are able to overcome. As a team we have faced cyber-attacks, Covid-19, storms, severe congestion, strikes and the list goes on but what has remained at the heart of what we do is our customer and our people.
Building on this Zithobile has remained at Maersk over the years due to the fact that she loves learning and being at Maersk means there is always something new to learn. Being part of a purpose driven company that is a part of something so big and impactful struck a chord with her personally, “We move livelihoods across the ocean! This is a great responsibility and an incredible honor to be a part of a company that challenges the status quo and has a great vision for the future.”
Zithobile Mpontshane started her career as an automotive customer experience agent in South Africa, her engagements with Ford, Isuzu, General Motors, and Bridgestone enabled her to resolve customer queries with compassion and care for their business. She was able to gain exposure and an in depth understanding to the time sensitive and strategic automotive vertical.
With this customer insight Zithobile’s next role was within Marine operations in the Liner Operations Centre which is now known as Ocean Customer Logistics (OCL). She initially handled a few of the Southern Africa services and before long was handling various services across all of Africa from the East to the West coasts. Reflecting on this she shared that it was a great experience to understand how operations really work and to turn her focus towards internal teams that were then able to serve our customers across Africa.
Maersk is an incredible company to be a part of. The company promotes an entrepreneurial mindset in our everyday dealings and is always ahead of the curve. In all functions I believe you get the chance to try something new whether it is in how you tackle your daily tasks or even solving customer problems. Everyone has a space, and everyone has a say.
Early 2022, Zithobile moved into a senior capacity role looking after Pointe Noire transshipment planning, the knowledge gained on cargo flows, the global impacts on cargo movements and empty flow cycles have been invaluable. It was within this role that a large milestone was reached at Pointe Noire, an all-time low of 13% allocation of the yard. The low yard allocation ensures that we can better serve customers by ensuring an efficient flow of their cargo with limited operational delays enabling more flexible supply chains in West Africa.
During the Operator of the Future (OOFT) transition in May 2022, Zithobile found herself handling the Central West Africa to/from Far East trade as the senior ocean fulfilment analyst. “It's been incredible handling one of our highest yielding services end-to-end and working with Asia Pacific OCL to improve overbookings in Asia by 95% since the beginning of OOFT. We have moved from being cost driven to customer driven and I look forward to seeing this journey continue within the OCL.”
Having had four years of experience within the heart of operations and armed with the incredible insights gained, Zithobile was drawn to learn other aspects of our customers' supply chain. She recently joined the Africa Regional Ocean Management (ROM) team based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to handle the pricing and uptake for our West Africa services (W1 and W2). This brings her closer to our customers, our purpose as Maersk and allows more personal learnings on the global and local drivers of our customers within these markets.
When asked on to share her advice with others wishing to develop their careers, her wise words were to not be afraid to ask questions whilst remaining humble, curious, willing to learn and true to yourself. Zithobile has found during her career that if you can be clear on what you need and want, there is always someone at Maersk that is willing to help guide you.
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