The trek began in 1962 when Mr. Tajdin H. Jaffer and Mme. Khatun Jaffer made their first stride in their current thousand miles journey,starting as v a small scale soap making unit based on rudimentary methods.
As years rolled by, seeing periods of diversification, modernization, expansion and consolidation, SULFO has now become Rwandaís pride in the manufacturing sector and one of the most diversified companies in East and Central Africa.In the word of Mr. H. Dharmarajan, the company’s Managing Director, the company’s greatest achievement since its initiation is the establishment of SULFO as a brand, now a well-recognized and esteemed brand both locally and regionally. Currently, when one mentions SULFO, quality immediately crops into the bracket as that’s our stronghold. That has been our utmost achievement. The citizens have faith in us, traveled alongside us in our trek and now best quality is the greatest gift we can extend to them as a token, explains M. Dharmarajan, adding that on top of quality, fair pricing is something they have always observed.
Sulfo’s items, manufactured under various brand names and sizes have become household names both in the vicinity and regionally. The Umbrella brand CLAIRE, is the most popular among the brands followed by Tembo, Makasi, Black Pearl, Source du Nil, Vague, Malaika to mention but a few.
As a confirmation of the company’s endeavour to uphold quality, one of the companyís products, Source du Nil drinking water became the first ever product manufactured to be certified by the Rwanda Bureau of Standards for Quality mark of Excellance . Nil also receivedthe prestigious ISO. 22000:2005 Food Safety Management System Certification in 2009. It became the first packaged drinking water in the whole of Africa to receive that kind of certification.
Sulfo Rwanda has an overall quality and food safety policy in the organization; keeps high standards of hygiene, ensures meticulous care in all stages right from procurement of raw materials to the final product and continually updates the food safety and management system among others,î explains the MD. Currently, ten of the companyís products have been certified with the RBS Quality Starndard mark.
Another economic contribution the company has made locally is in job creation with the latest statistics revealing that the company has the highest number ofworkersamong all other local industries, amounting to 700.
We are proud to be the number one job provider industry in the country, says Dharmarajan noting that all their staff is employed on a permanent basis. He further adds that 65% of their employees have been working with the company for a period not less than 5 years, a revelation of the cordial relation that exists between the top management and the low rank employees.
Having made its place in the local market through a wide root-spread to every corner of the country, Sulfo has managed to receive acknowledgement from regional markets among them Burundi, Uganda, and Congo.
As the MD notes, the recognition of their products in the region is owed to their superiority in terms of quality. In Corporate Social Responsibility, the company has taken part in different community developing activities among them the monthly national cleaning day, Umuganda, ongoing support to the genocide memorial centre in Gisozi; infrastructure ,financial ,logistical and management support to Enfants de dieu, the centre centre for rehabilitationstreet children in Ndera in an ongoing basis,contribution to Global Fund of Rwanda ,Girinka Initiative, Agaciro,among others.
Sulfo’s employees speak of their experience in the company
Total satisfactioní is the simple expression that one can use to describe Modeste’s experience at Sulfo industries Ltd. He joined Sulfo back in the year 1974 as a young man and was put in charge of clearing all outgoing goods, a job he did for six years. As he explains, through hard work, the management recognized him and promoted him to a sales executive and was positioned in Cyangugu as a branch manager for seven years. From there, he relocated to Giseyni, where the company had opened a branch and carried on with his job as a sales executive branch manager for another five years.
In 1995, he was moved to Kigali and was absorbed into the administration as Chef du Personnel. He served for a short period and then moved into the Public Relations office as the company’s PR Manager. From there, he was moved into the company’s warehouse in Gikondo as the warehouse manager, a position he is serving up to date. I have grown with Sulfo.
They have changed me, molded me and taught me a lot of things that I didnít know at entry. When I retire, I will walk out of the company a different man from the one I was when I moved in, a happy Modeste explains.
He is currently the company’s longest serving employee. A father of seven children now, Celestine moved into the company in his boyhood days, back in the year 1973 aged 14. As he explains, he came from a not well-off background, a factor that forced him to seek employment at a tender age. His story is much like Modeste’s.
At the beginning, he served as a cleaner for six straight years. Through obedience and discipline, he was appointed head of other small workers in his category. He supervised them for four years and having acquired some experience, was moved into the sales department where he has been serving for another 33 years.
Here promotion comes with Merit. Once your work hard and smart, you cannot miss to be noticed by the administration. That’s why I have managed to be in the position Iam today. When I lost all my family in genocide, the company dint abandon me, instead they took me in, comforted me and helped me start all over again. With their support, I’m now a proud grandfather,narrates Celestine
The dealer’s experience with Sulfo
From a retail shopkeeper, Plucilien upgraded into a dealer in the year 1995 and started buying products from Sulfo and reselling to wholesalers and retailers at Gitarama before moving into Kigali four years later.
After the 1994 Genocide, most companies had closed down and we dint have an option but to depend on imported goods. In most cases, we were exploited as we became a dumping zone for low quality goods, explains the dealer.
It is for this reason that Plucilien opted to approach Sulfo and request to be among their dealers. As he explains, he took the step because of the confidence the consumers had in Sulfo’s products. Their products were well appreciated and respected because of their quality.
Everyone wanted to buy a product with the Sulfo brand on it, explains Plucilien.
In his experience not a single customer has made any complaint of quality in any of the brands of Sulfo. He plans to open more dealer stores in the capital.