The Automotive Industry Is In My DNA
10 JUNE 2021
For Mohamed Ebrahim, Scania East Africa’s newly appointed Sales Director, he considers himself a ‘lifelong salesman’ having been in a sales function for a majority of his career.
“My first job was selling mobile phones, then I transitioned into the automotive industry as a Product Manager then a Sales Manager. Sales has been with me since I started working and I have never looked back. I enjoy connecting and interacting with customers and being able to provide them with solutions to help them maximize on their profits,” Mohamed explains.
Mohamed joined the company in August 2019 as the Sales Manager, an opportunity which he took up so passionately, resulting in him being awarded as the company’s 2020 employee of the year. “Mohamed’s recent appointment as Sales Director is well deserved. He has demonstrated Scania’s spirit of leadership with his team, resulting in an improvement of our market share in 2020, despite the challenging times we have faced since the pandemic began. I am confident that with his strategic ability, his extensive automotive knowledge and network, Mohamed will strategically work at increasing sales in the region, as well as providing regional support and development in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya,” highlights Lars Eklund, Managing Director, Scania East Africa.
No stranger to the automotive industry, Mohamed considers the industry a part of his family’s DNA. “This industry chose my family! My dad was in this industry for 43 years before he retired, and my brother was also in it for 9 years. As a family we are passionate and very involved in the automotive industry, so you can imagine the kind of conversations which we have at home!” laughs Mohamed.
Here is a brief background to who Mohamed Ebrahim is, aside from his love for vehicles and the automotive industry.
Describe your first day when you joined the company?
I couldn’t believe it. It has always been a dream and goal of mine to join an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), and Scania has accorded me with this opportunity. It didn’t sink in for me when I walked through those doors on my first day. I still pinch myself to this day, just in awe of being able to work at such a great company.
Why Scania? Why do you love it here?
The people and the kind of support that we are able to receive from head office. We represent the factory here in East Africa, and this has instilled a lot of confidence in us in the market. Good leadership is also a highlight for me. I am privileged and grateful to have an understanding and supportive line manager, our MD, who is passionate about leadership and the development and growth of the team. Lars is continually coaching me in further developing my leadership skills in being able to steer my team towards exceeding our set targets, and ensuring that our customers are satisfied with our product and service offering.
Mohamed being awarded with a branded Scania watch for being the company's 2021 employee of the year by Lars Eklund.
What vision did you have for the sales department when you joined the company?
My goal coming into Scania was to lead the company into being a market leader in Kenya, in the trucks and buses segment. I also wanted to develop the team, by getting to know and understand them better and working with them individually to enhance their strengths. I’m proud that we were able to attain market leadership in 2020 in the trucks segment in Kenya, something which we have not achieved in recent years. Were it not for the pandemic, our projected order book in 2020 for both segments was promising.
Proudest moment at Scania so far?
Aside from being awarded 2020 employee of the year? (laughs) Well, this has to be the appreciation which I have received from my team and the effort which they have put it in growing the department, and in turn the business. The team has worked hard, despite the challenging times that we are currently facing. They have demonstrated a lot of resilience which I am proud and grateful for.
What have you learnt from your team?
In the short period that I have been at the company interacting with them, I have learnt what it looks like to prioritise a customer and the kind of effort that is needed. The aggressiveness and passion which they have for the customers and the product is amazing. They are all about the customer, and they represent our core value of customer first.
What impact has Scania had on your career and personal development?
Being at Scania has been an eyeopener. I have learnt a lot from the whole organization including also learning from our customers and partners. I have seen what drive and hard work can achieve, and I have to come to understand the benefits of listening. Just by sitting back to listen to your team, colleagues and customers, you can learn a lot and gain valuable feedback on areas needed for improvement. Additionally, I have been able to further develop my skills through the training platforms made available for staff at Scania, and the opportunities for growth are immense here, which is really motivating.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devasting impact on our industry. How are you encouraging and motivating your team to still keep pursuing customers to hit their targets?
It was tough when the pandemic began, because here in Kenya we had penetrated the bus segment successfully, and our bus customers were heavily affected with all the restrictions on movement which were imposed by the government, which grounded their fleets, and this resulted in a lot of cancelled or postponed bus orders. We had to quickly adapt and we redirected our focus to selling more trucks whose demand has increased, whilst still providing support to our bus customers. I have been encouraging my team that our customers need our support now more than ever, and with this we are having more pulse meetings as a team to brainstorm on how to support our customers better, introduce more tailor-made products and services for their business operations, as well as how we can continue adapting to this ‘new norm’ in being able to hit our targets.
What do you hope that the sales team will have achieved in the next five years?
Continued significant market leadership in the region across all our segments is a focus area, where we are able to see more Scania vehicles on the road, together with an increased uptake of our after-sales services such as service contracts. Driving the shift towards a sustainable transport system is also key for us, where we hope to have started transitioning our customers to transport solutions that run on alternative and renewable fuels such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), biogas or biodiesel.
What are we most likely to find you doing over the weekend?
I’m a family man. I love and enjoy spending time with my family, especially with my parents and my wife. My parents have had such a huge impact in my life and I owe where I am today to them. I’m also into motorsports activities, I love watching soccer and I’m an avid traveller combined with being an adrenaline junkie, and I am looking forward to being able to explore more destinations and experiences in the near future.