Shane Stevens, group procurement director at Africa Automotive Aftermarket Solutions (AS), retired at the end of June 2018. An industry stalwart, Shane epitomised all the characteristics of old school values, such as punctuality, honesty, integrity, morality, and common sense. In one word, decency
Stevens started his career in the motor industry with Raylite Batteries in 1976. In 1978 he joined Reef Batteries and Exhausts, which was situated in the same building from where Motolek and Napa operated. It was during this time that he did a lot of market research for NAPA, in identifying the potential for introducing garages and workshops to emerging brands such as Repco (now LuK), NGK, Armstrong (now Monroe), Ram (now ContiTech RAM), Fram and others. Now, some 40 years later, one realises what a good job NAPA did.
In 1979 Stevens joined Fainex Exhausts, which had just been acquired by Bosal. In 1981 he was appointed as sales/ marketing director of Bosal Brospeed & Towbars, and in 1983 he was appointed as Bosal supply director. In October 1997, the entrepreneurial bug bit, and Stevens started PLUMB SURE, a plumbing business where Shane says he quickly learnt about cash flow (or as they teach you in your fist semester at accountancy school, turnover is vanity, profits are reality, and cash flow is sanity). In March 1998 Gordon Odgers offered Stevens the opportunity to run Sten Distribution, the exhaust business that Dorbyl had purchased, and after 11 months he was offered the position of regional director of PIA in the Eastern Cape, before moving to Cape Town in a similar position, where he stayed for almost nine years. In February 2009 Shane was appointed procurement director at the Midas Group, which was later renamed as Africa Automotive Aftermarket Solutions. During the past decade Shane has travelled overseas frequently, in the execution of his duties, as both procurement director, and as a member of the ATR Steering committee, on which he served since 2014.
Reflecting on his career, Stevens says that “I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in the automotive aftermarket. I have made many friends and the lessons that I have learnt include the necessity to treat all people with respect, to be firm but fair, and to enjoy what you do. I have always spoken my mind and cannot tolerate chancers, but I also believe that we need to allow all in the chain to make a fair profit.”
Shane and his wife Rachel will be retiring to a golf estate in Malmesbury, which will allow them to see a lot more of their children and granddaughter. He intends to do a lot more fishing, riding his Harley and seeing more of our beautiful country. And being a workaholic, Stevens intends starting a small business sometime next year.