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Mike Parnaby - Driven by passion
Driven by passion
“Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy goal or ideal” - Earl Nightingale Mike Parnaby, CEO of PFK Electronics (Pty) Ltd, believes that his life and his company’s success are interwoven. Established in 1985, PFK Electronics is a multi-million Rand electronic design and manufacturing company specialising in the automotive industry.
“Since its inception in a small basement office, the company’s success has been driven by a passion for electronics. My partners and I enjoyed the excitement of engineering and had fun,” commented Parnaby. He added that the love of electronics has made the company one that is very difficult to compete with in the market place. “However, the road to success has not always been easy and we compensated for our mistakes by working harder,” said Parnaby.
A key focus of PFK has been in customer relationship building and doing things differently by adding value. Parnaby said, “We have always handled ourselves with integrity and we relied on our designs, quality and personalised service to achieve our customer base. Our customers became our friends, making it more difficult for competitors.”
He added, “We liked to boast for many years that we never had marketing meetings, our products sold themselves. We have also always ensured that we have built a business rather than undercut competitors to become market leaders. People often ask who my competitors are − My answer is that we don’t really have any because in business you have to pick who you compete with and we like to play in a space where other people don’t.”
In addition, PFK’s focus has been driven by innovation rather than the pursuit of money. “It is difficult to compete with passion,” said Parnaby. Consequently, PFK has constantly remained abreast of new technology and looked at ways of improving and diversifying their product offerings.
An important part of staying abreast of technology is evident in the strategy of employing young engineers who are able to embrace modern technology easier than older people who are more fixed in their ways. The company’s R&D Division presently employs a team of 50 young engineers and technicians whose job it is to apply and monitor new technology as well as address any challenges with products.
This approach is well suited to Parnaby’s strong leadership abilities and in his desire to develop people in the field of electronics. He said, “I want to work where I can add value. I am open and honest in my approach to life and I enjoy motivating people to get the best out of them. I enjoy empowering young people to achieve results.” Parnaby achieves results through mentoring and providing his young engineers with the space to add value through their creative ability. He added that the company is very team orientated and if they have a problem they talk about it.
“Success is evident in every step that you take in life and that includes the mistakes. Surviving them, learning from them and moving on, is what is important. Even if that means difficult decisions need to made,” said Parnaby.
“Leaders must also be prepared to invest in themselves and in their businesses. An important part of leadership is the necessity to embrace change and challenge beliefs. We need to continue to grow, if we are not growing we are dying. We need to aim at growth, be that personal or in our business. An important part of growth is aiming high. Innovation and technology gives you the opportunity of achieving exceptional growth and this is often easier and less depressing then aiming at nominal growth rates, but that involve doing the same things as you did before but just driving harder,” he concluded.
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