“Quattro was incorporated in 1993 and is the brainchild of its founders, Graham White and Dimitri and George Klironomos,” explains Administration Manager, Sanjika Phiri. “Beginning life with just a single eight seat minibus, Graham surrounded himself with a strong management team, and together with the company’s employees built it into the business that it is today, a multi-million dollar operation with a fleet of more than 500 vehicles.”
In 2005 Quattro began transportation work for the mines of Zambia and today boasts transportation contracts to ferry employees and goods for these mines. Besides personnel transport, it also deals in waste management for the mines and is able to provide equipment such as sewerage trucks, skip trucks and skip bins on a contractual basis.
Quattro also has a newly opened engineering workshop comprising engine reconditioning services including, crankshaft grinding, reboring, line boring, con-rod resizing, cylinder head repairs and reconditioning, injector pump and injector overhauls.
“We have branches in Kitwe servicing Mopani Copper mines Plc and Chambeshi Metals Plc,” Phiri says. “We also have three branches in Solwezi district that cater to Kansanshi Mine Plc, Lumwana Mine (Barrick) and Kalumbila Mine. Our total workforce currently stands at close to 1,000 throughout all branches”.
Initially focusing on the handling of imports into Zambia, Quattro gradually moved into the field of transportation. “Our first contracted transportation role saw us running personnel transportation on behalf of Chambeshi Metals to and from the Chambeshi Mine,” Phiri continues. “It was the seizing of this opportunity that allowed us to get a foothold in the mining market. Subsequently we established a strategy to achieve considerable growth, one that saw us investing in our fleet of vehicles and equipment in order to seize the initiative once contracts became available at the next mine site.” There can be little doubt that this strategy would prove to be effective, what with Quattro today servicing five of Zambia’s six largest mining operations.
That is not to say that Quattro is a company happy to remain static once an initial goal has been reached. Far from it in fact, what with the company making strong moves in the last several years to further diversify its service offering, one that already includes the transportation of explosives, hazardous materials and waste products.
One of the more recent developments involving Quattro has been its opening of a dedicated trucking division. Here the company operates a fleet of international trucks tasked with the haulage of materials such as copper or cement. The copper these trucks carry is typically being carried to mine sites across South Africa where it can be processed. Understandably it is a source of great pride that Quattro today finds itself involved in such a large scale industry as the copper trade.
“Diversification can, without question, be a challenging process, however it has long been a belief of those of us within Quattro that one shouldn’t necessarily keep all of their eggs in one basket,” Phiri states. “Having honed our skills in the field of passenger transport it was decided that one of the best ways of creating new business opportunities, and in turn greater employment, was to branch out into other fields like trucking.”
The challenge at the heart of any new undertaking is the time it takes to adapt to new ways of conducting operations, a process that extends to multiple areas of Quattro’s own business including staff training, risk management, and health and safety.
“When it comes to passenger transportation we are accountable first and foremost to our clients, the mines themselves, and safety is key as there is no compromise when it comes to human life,” Phiri says. “Each client possesses certain standards that they live by and it is our responsibility to ensure that we comply 100 percent with those standards while providing no room for error. These clients expect nothing but the best from their service providers and we go all out to ensure that we meet those expectations.”
Maintaining the highest levels of standards also defines the ways in which Quattro approaches its handling of explosives, waste and other hazardous materials. “Working within and around mine sites makes for a hugely unique logistical environment, one where the absence of tar roads makes for extremely harsh conditions in which to transport goods and personnel. Such a climate calls for the highest of safety standards to be maintained at all times, with vehicles also being serviced frequently. Safety is key at all times, especially when it comes to explosives and hazardous materials. A lot of people tend to think that because all of what we do involves transportation all the same rules must apply, however that is very far from the truth.”
When it comes to the future of the company, Quattro’s immediate goal is to maintain a steady ship, whilst continuing to identify potential opportunities that could result in further growth forward, including the possibility of venturing across Zambia’s borders into the Congo to work for some of the mines there. In the meantime however, the company is more than happy to be growing steadily in line with the mines and clients it serves, and who have contributed towards Quattro’s growth.
“There is a bit of a misconception among some people that only big, multi-national investors can come into Zambia and be successful, however what Quattro, under the guidance of Graham White, has done is prove this to be untrue,” Phiri concludes. “We are a Zambian company that has grown from strength to strength as a business, while also ensuring that we do our bit to help others whether that be in the form of employment or supporting schools, orphanages and others in need. What Graham and Quattro as a whole have achieved to date proves that if you put your mind towards something and if you persevere and work towards your goals anything can be achieved.”
Written by Will Daynes, research by Richard Halfhide