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Tactile Technologies bolsters scale-up strategy with appointment of advisory board


Johannesburg, 14 Feb 2024
Bringing skills and experience to the table.
Bringing skills and experience to the table.

Tactile Technologies has appointed an expert advisory board to support its growth strategy. The advisory board members, bringing skills and experience across financial management, governance, retail, business development and technology solutions, will work with Tactile Technologies executives to scale the business.

The four advisory board members are Panacea Technology Distributors CEO and former Kemtek commercial director Mark Broude; Cellucity Director Chris Henschel; co-founder and CEO of the Phakamani Group Nick van Rensburg; and a senior financial services industry executive who prefers not to be named.

Mauro Mercuri, founder and chairman at Tactile Technologies, says the appointment of the advisory board marks a milestone for the company as it embarks on a new phase of growth. The company is moving to scale and expand its focus – adding a broader solutions set to its well-established imports and distribution portfolio.

Mercuri says: “Tactile Technologies has grown quickly in the past five years, and overcame challenges that many of its competitors didn’t. A combination of having the correct strategy and diversification allowed the business to grow, but that also presented the business with some growing pains.

However, the business has never been in this space (or this size) before, and we realised that we needed other people to advise the business, in the form of industry experts who have been brought on board to carry it through the growth we want to achieve. Each of these advisory board members will play a role in that. This move represents a strengthening of the team, with each board member adding value that will make the business smarter, better and bigger.”

He says few businesses of this size have advisory boards, but Tactile Technologies believes the new advisory board will bring valuable new perspectives and experience that help the company scale. “These are people who have long-standing relationships with the company, and we invited them to contribute their expertise to our business. The appointment of this board is the result of our doing business in an ethical way, establishing relationships with like-minded people who are also ethical, and reaping the rewards of that by having them want to partner with Tactile Technologies as board members. This speaks to our track record in the industry and gives us a sense of accomplishment.”

Mercuri adds: “We held the first meeting with the advisory board recently and, from the first minute, it was great to see their commitment to helping us make the business stronger. It was a very exciting kick-off session – good input came up, including advice on new business models, packaging of solutions, data usage, governance and financial management.”

The board will meet two to three times a year, with each board member available to mentor and guide specific projects.

Tapping into greypreneur wisdom

Broude brings over 40 years of business leadership and distribution experience to the new advisory board. He says Tactile Technologies’ move to appoint an advisory board, while unusual for a company of its size, is a visionary one.

“I’ve run successful companies in the past, and you tend to think you know everything. Here is a team that is young, dynamic and successful, but they realise a need to draw on more knowledge.”

“You don’t always find the knowledge you need in books or online. Young businesses can harness the experience of ‘greypreneurs’ – successful, older business people – for insights and access to networks,” Broude says. “Businesses often need the older person with worldly experience to mentor them to become even more successful.

"Tactile Technologies has exponential growth potential. You have to give it kudos for its strong growth and resilience to date, and the fact that the business is moving to take advantage of new growth opportunities,” he says. “This is a young, dynamic and resilient business that has grown so well. It is playing in a big pond with established, big brands, and has weathered substantial growing pains. It has survived an exceedingly tough component shortage period, the impacts of the COVID pandemic and geopolitical disruption, yet has continued to grow, differentiate on service and support, and stay at the cutting edge of technology. The business is continually looking at what the market and its customers require, and are well positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Tactile Technologies can only go one way – and that’s upwards. It’s exciting to be involved with them.”

Expanding horizons

New advisory board member Henschel, who has worked in cellular retail for 28 years and has scaled his own company from a staff count of five to over 500, has a deep understanding of the pain points a company experiences during its growth and how best to navigate them.

He says: “The advisory board will play a crucial role in providing guidance and knowledge to the main management team of Tactile. Their goal is to assist the team in achieving their growth objectives. The current environment demands a lot from the team, which leaves little time for future planning or for them to consider a longer-term strategic view of the direction the business needs to take. The advisory board is there to coach and provide insight into the key focus areas that the management team should concentrate on to maximise their returns, while also operating as a sounding board for any new strategies the team wishes to embark on.”

He believes Tactile Technologies has solid growth potential. “Tactile Technologies is already experiencing good growth and has the potential to unlock even greater value from its existing client portfolio by deploying some readily available customer value management (CVM) tools. Additionally, there are opportunities to introduce new products to its current client base, generating ongoing revenue. Although Tactile Technologies has traditionally been a project-based product distributor, which is its core strength, this means the business is constantly trying to bring in new sales. However, by adjusting its product offerings and introducing some fintech and product life cycle management tools, Tactile Technologies’ future growth potential looks promising,” he says.

Nick van Rensburg adds: "Being part of Tactile Technologies' advisory board is really exciting for me. I'm eager to join their growth journey and be part of a team that's always evolving. This is a chance not only to share what I've learned but to keep learning from everyone here. Sustainable growth isn't just about having a plan; it's about being flexible and open to change. I'm here to help bring new ideas and use all of our experiences to keep up with the fast-paced world of technology."

Tactile Technologies is an expert in touch screen, auto ID, payment, biometrics and robotics technology. Tactile’s end-user references include Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Spar, PEP, Mr Price, Sun International, Engen, Netcare, FNB, YUM, Famous Brands, McDonalds, Takealot, Italtile and many others. For more information on Tactile, go to www.tactiletechnologies.com and/or https://www.itweb.co.za/office/tactiletechnologies/newsroom

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