When he finished school, due to financial restrains he went to work in a company were his dad had worked his way from being a driver to the Manufacturing Director of that company. He was shown no favours and was employed to load the truck at R40 per day.
While working here Kevin got to know the owner of a plastics factory that was in the next building. The owner impressed with Kevin’s hard work offered him a job in the printing department. He was now earning R6 per hour. Within days of starting this new job Kevin got to learn the art of printing and started training other staff on how to print. The Director of the company was impressed with the leadership shown by Kevin and he promoted him. Kevin ran the Despatch, the Quality and Printing departments. As an 18 year old youngster with a determination to be a better person in life he spoke to the technical Director and asked if he could learn injection moulding in the factory.
He worked the weekends in the factory without pay but in turn received invaluable knowledge and experience. This was part of the deal with the Technical director. Soon he learnt the art and science of injection moulding. Working in the various departments allowed him to gain knowledge. He also bought his own books and studied on his own about plastic raw materials and injection moulding. At the age of 19 years he was promoted to the management team of the company and during that year became the general manager of the company. When two of their biggest customers Defy and Fridge Master took their work away from them, he saw many people lose their jobs for the first time. In total he worked for Tena plastics for 4 years and moved on to Omni Mould as Tena Plastics closed down. He did not take the biggest offer made to him but rather took the offer were he saw potential and hard work.
He joined the management team of Omni Mould which was later to be rebranded as RH Plastics after its takeover. He worked at RH Plastics for 4 years and was promoted as a Director of the company. He also became a junior shareholder of the company.
With lots of hard work in a difficult economy the business was sustained. He was not happy with his thirst for self-improvement though, so Kevin approached the Major shareholder of the company and told him he would like to resign from the company as his ambition is different to that of the company. He was offered to buy the remaining shareholders out which he did over a 6 month period. Kevin became the owner of RH Plastics.
The equipment was old and outdated and he knew for him to be successful he had to be unique from the rest of the plastic companies.
Kevin married and was expecting his first child in 2006, whilst forming his company GPS Plastics in the same year.
With exciting times ahead, he bought 3 new injection moulding machines from Taiwan and this allowed him to be competitive in the industry and because they were energy efficient machines it allowed him to be competitive at the time when electricity costs were on the rise. Seeing the trend of increasing manufacturing costs he decided to replace more of the older machines with servo machines which were even more energy efficient. This proved to be a master stroke as he was now more competitive then all his competition in the market as he had taken the initial plunge of exploring the servo energy saving machines before others did in the market. He continued to replace outdated equipment and invested in the plant to obtain more equipment. Steadily growing the equipment of the company to over R30 million. He did not want history to repeat it’s self with the Defy and Fridge master debacle which saw them lose their business in his early working career so he decided to control his own destiny by investing in his own moulds to service the medical, transport, construction and houseware market.
This strategy allowed him to sell his products on a COD basis or 7 day, 14 day and 30 day terms instead of the industry norm of 30 days from statement. This allowed Kevin to generate cash flow for the business and expand the business at the same time without the financial burdens. His product line continued to give the company the required cash flow and the custom moulding side of the business ( where he moulds for different customers ) that revenue is generated on a 30 days from statement.
He has grown the company into 14 injection moulding machines, pad printing and silk screen facility. GPS Plastics also have a maintenance tool room on site.
Kevin says his pride and passion is the setup of the assembly division. “We produce kettles, water buckets and vacuum cleaners in the injection moulding plant. These plastic parts go to the assembly division and gets assembled. We assemble Pine ware kettles, Salton kettles, and Russel Hobbs kettles and Hoover vacuum cleaners. We produce and assemble over 90 000 vacuum cleaners a year and we produce and assemble over 1million kettles a year. We also produce and print over 3 million rulers each year. We produce about 6 million plastic handles for Tastic rice bags. We also produce Elasto plaster containers for medical industry”
Yugendran Govender was born on 12 September 1975 as the youngest of four siblings to parents Kas and Devi Govender in the Indian township of Chatsworth. His mum liked the name Kevin so his registered name is Yugendran according to religious custom and everyone got to know him as Kevin. He went to the local primary school and was Head Boy of the school in 1988. At an early age Kevin started doing part time jobs to earn pocket money to remove some of the financial stress of the family.
Kevin delivered the local newspaper for his area and on weekend’s would accompany his dad on fishing trips. The fish they would catch, they would sell to the local community. He was a keen sportsman and achieved many honors’ in athletics, soccer, cricket and tennis.
In High School Kevin had an unfortunate injury in which he broke his leg playing soccer. He missed 4 months of his matric year and was in hard plaster for 6 months. He was asked by his teachers to repeat the year but he refused. He completed his matric and obtained a matric exemption. At the present time he was doing Math’s, Physics, Biology, Computer science, English and Afrikaans.
Kevin’s dad joined him in 2011 as a shareholder and Director in the business and sadly he passed away in 2015 but his greatest accomplishment was to be able to work with him side by side to grow Gps plastics. His mum took over his dad’s share after he passed away but is a non- active in the business. Kevin’s nephew Preshan whom from the moment he left school has been by his side in the business and now in the capacity of Operations Manager. Kevin’s wife, Diana later joined the business in 2018 as a Sales and Marketing Executive after having their second child.
Kevin’s uniqueness and foresight into business has led to many desirable projects which involved:
Designing the Defy stove knobs and other products
Design of the Traffic lights with a company called Traffic Signals
First injection moulding company to mould the Road Chevron which used to be extruded
First injection moulding company to mould the Corner Boards which used to be roto moulded
Changed the bicycle parts to a more affordable material to get the customer to change from China to South Africa as a preferred supplier
Designed the handle on the wheel chocks for ease of use to avoid the handlers hands from getting crushed by a heavy duty tyre
Designed his own Houseware range of products from scrap/ recycle material in the factory in order to reduce wastage and thus reduces costs
In growing this business he has not forgotten his roots and is actively supportive of various schools and community projects. Kevin is the youngest person in the plastics industry to obtain a Honary Life Fellowship as reward for his dedication and upliftment to the plastics industry. Today he sits on the committee board as a Vice Chairperson of the Plastics institute of South Africa and has a voice which he believes will make a difference to the industry as a whole and not only in his business. Kevin says “There are many families that count on me on making the right decisions for the business and they look to me for leadership, guidance and improving the financial stability in a country with high unemployment”.
“Why did I enter this competition? I want to show individuals out there that South Africa is still a land of massive opportunity and potential. You don’t need to leave your hometown to make a difference in society. Hard work, determination and been street smart can make all the difference in people’s lives. Stay strong in your faith, your passion for what you do and thrive with ambition”