30 Admired Companies to watch 2018


Pursuing business through innovation and advanced technology: Invincible Valves

There are so many things in our everyday life that we fail to observe and appreciate. For any final product or service to function smoothly, there are unnoticed supporting factors that ensure excellence. For instance, let’s take valves. Essentially, valves are part of our daily lives. Be it home plumbing or any industrial use, valves are a necessity.

Realizing the potential of these valves, Rob Macpherson and Paul Kirchmann laid the foundation of Invincible Valves in 1982. What started out as a valve reconditioning and rubber lining business, has grown into one of the top valve distributors in South Africa. Invincible Valves is a leading supplier of imported and locally-manufactured low-pressure valves with all the required control mechanisms.

With the fast changing pace of technology, the company has restructured and diversified to other industries as well. “We have a broad array of new valves that we distribute globally, as well as its own brand, the Inval range,” explains the managing director of Invincible Valves, Pam du Plessis. “We’ve also upgraded our IT infrastructure to ensure more efficiency when responding to customers’ needs,” she adds.

Leading the Valve Industry

The primary markets that Invincible Valves works are the global mining industry power generation, paper and pulp, water and sewerage, fisheries, and a whole list more. It offers numerous ancillary services with a one-stop-shop deal that customers love. The company has a foundation of a simple structure that makes it easy to work within the parameters of the business. This even includes the stakeholders and extends to the customers as well.

On any given day, the company holds a stock of 90 days on the floor. “Our ordering process works on minimum stock levels and is replenished monthly,” notes Pam. “We have a team of technical sales personnel in the office and on the road who have combined industry experience of more than 100 years.” Invincible Valves offers the best advice for any query as it has a brilliant working relationship and access to its deep-rooted principles.

Tough, but Rewarding

However, there were few challenges that Pam faced. For one, she faced the challenge of not being taken seriously in this traditionally male-dominated industry. “However, each challenge has created new opportunities. So, while it’s been tough, it’s also been rewarding,” Pam notes. With her sheer determination, she learned as much as she could. “With new levels of emotional intelligence and working in a sector with aging captains of industry also means that I’ve learnt to speak less and listen more,” she recalls. In this way, she learned a lot and has helped her to make informed decisions.

Today, Pam is the recipient of two global awards – Enterprising Women of the Year 2017 in Florida, USA and Moving Mountains 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal. She was also awarded the Moving Mountains 2017 award presented by Unitedsucces, a global business organization of credible women entrepreneurs interested in accelerating the growth of their businesses. Today, she is taking Invincible Valves to greater heights. 

A Guiding Light

Apart from producing a brilliant list of products, Invincible Valves is creating opportunities for the young generation with its internship programs. Through this program, the youngsters are gaining work experience and living through a high standard of the company and work culture. Most often, the interns are offered positions within the organization.

Additionally, Pam offers her own personal mentorship sessions for students, young entrepreneurs and anyone who requires assistance with self-development and those facing tough times. She relates her own experience when she entered the field and with that, she builds support structures for mentees. “I mentor on a personal level, as well as in communities outside our businesses because I’m passionate about seeing people grow, rise against the odds, and turn challenges into opportunities,” Pam expresses.

Pam also believes that everyone deserves a chance in life. Today, many employers are driven by candidates having experience, but experience isn’t something that can be bought or achieved without an opportunity. “We have had great success with our intern program and often identify talent for our own business.”

Apart from the internship program, Invincible Valves also has a training facility on-site. It offers South African Valve and Actuator Manufacturers Association (SAVAMA) Working with Valves course and Basic Business courses. And not forget Invincible Valves’ custom-developed Basic Business Skills program. This covers topics that include emotional intelligence, communication, and buying and selling, and more. “Because we’re passionate about education, we extend our training to our interns and our partnered technical high school scholars,” she adds.

Giving Back

The entire company is supportive and involved in CSI projects. With a prime focus on women and children, Invincible Valves’ ongoing projects include a reading program that donates dictionaries to primary school children. The program also includes a mentorship program that offers support and advice for young budding entrepreneurs. The project also has a partnership with a local technical high school to provide internships within Invincible Valves.

Be it learning about basic business practices or acquiring new skills, the CSI projects by the company is all about giving back to the society. Additionally, Invincible Valves supports a training center in Gauteng that trains unemployed and disabled people. It also emphasizes on healthcare education relating to HIV Aids, TB, and general wellbeing.

Pam believes that these projects are essential and highlights the values of the company. “We take these initiatives seriously and integrate these people into our business to offer them an array of opportunities,” she proudly notes. “If every company undertook one project a year, we would see a significant impact on our communities. Knowledge is power. The more we share and transfer our skills, the more chance there will be of change through empowerment,” she concludes.

Meet the Stunner

Pam du Plessis is the managing director of Invincible Valves. She is an enterprising woman and comes with a wall of fame of achieved global awards. After finishing school in 1988, Pam got her Diploma in Financial Accounting. She initially followed this path into the IT world of accounting software, Accpac, before joining a healthcare facility as the company’s administration manager.

“I mentor on a personal level, as well as in communities outside our businesses because I’m passionate about seeing people grow, rise against the odds, and turn challenges into opportunities.”