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Interview with Marinda Swart

LOCAL ‘n lekka: ‘Simpler, better, faster’ embodies the quest of Marinda and her 4Xcellence team

By Esther de Villiers

, |

LOCAL ‘n lekka: ‘Simpler, better, faster’ embodies the quest of Marinda and her 4Xcellence team

By Esther de Villiers

, |

4 min read

In a recent career interview with a bright Grade 11 student, Marinda Swart used the payoff line of a decades-old banking advert to explain the driving force behind her career choice and subsequent business success: Simpler, better, faster! ‘It aptly describes what Industrial Engineering sets out to attain: process optimisation to integrate people and products.’

When consulting the internet to find out more about 4Xcellence Solutions and the labours of its hugely accomplished team, one prepares to encounter a rather serious business professional. Lo and behold, when chatting to Marinda – a Kingswood resident of the past 10 years, and company co-director along with husband Cor Swart and Innocent Rabohale – she is light and kind and brimming with good humour.

But that’s until she starts talking about her life’s mission of optimisation, be it in work or everyday tasks such as choosing the best route from A to B, or the most effective way of doing things around the house. It’s worthwhile rewinding to Marinda’s academic career and employment history to better understand why 4Xcellence Solutions does such invaluable work for their clients.

Tuks the first tread

Marinda studied Industrial Engineering at the University of Pretoria – a course focused on process optimisation through applying mathematical engineering techniques. As a Sasol bursary holder, she started working in the company’s Engineer-In-Training programme, which exposed her to various aspects of the business while concentrating on improvement projects.

‘My first proper job was as planning manager at Sasol Coal Supply, since I had designed a mathematics model to optimise its operational and scheduling processes for my Master’s degree,’ she explains.

School sweetheart turned partner for life

It’s impossible to tell Marinda’s story without including husband, Cor: both hail from Secunda in Mpumalanga, and their love story started at school almost 30 years ago. ‘I realised during my matric year that I was born to be an Industrial Engineer, and Cor started out studying Theology before pursuing a B Com Logistics degree.’

The duo was employed by Sasol at the same time, with Cor concentrating on logistics, business analysis and later strategy development. Very romantic, in an academia kind of way, is that the clever couple Swart tackled their MBAs at USB at the same time – and needless to say, achieved it with aplomb.

‘During that time we realised we made a very good team indeed, and that we could actually work together efficiently and harmoniously.’ Marinda adds that their son, Hanno, now aged 12, was born on the day after she had handed in her Master’s thesis. Respect, lady!

New beginnings

The family Swart relocated to George on 1 July 2011, Hanno then a bouncy 18-month-old. They moved into a rental house in Herold’s Bay for the first 10 months of their newtown stay. Then they started a management consultancy business, which would form the foundation for today’s multifaceted concern with employees across the country.

‘The company was restructured in 2017, and 4Xcellence Solutions was born. I’m one of three directors, and also do management consulting on various contracts with companies such as Sasol, AECI, Imperial Logistics and the like,’ Marinda explains.

She says they have a team of talented Industrial Engineers and MBAs, and continue to enjoy the challenge of adding value by streamlining the many processes that make their clients’ diverse concerns tick. The team recently added e-learning and software development to their service offering under the registered name of GO software.

There is an incredibly impressive amount of information available at www.4xcellence.solutions and www.gosoftware.org – check it out.

So … Kingswood?

Marinda says they realised soon enough that it wouldn’t work to drive in and out to George all the time; although Cor enjoyed his long walks on Herold’s Bay Beach with baby Hanno, it was just not practical.

‘We were invited to visit friends of friends who were resident at Kingswood at the time, and immediately fell in love with Kingswood’s oval! As luck would have it, the house next door, at 79 Trafford, became available for rent, and on 1 May 2012 we moved in.’

The Swarts rented at this address for six years, but all the while had their eye on an open corner plot – with a perfect view of the oval. Taking into account that their business had just got off the ground, expenses were managed with frugality and Marinda says they watched with bated breath every time the plot was on the market, bought, and resold.

‘We always knew that we wanted to make Kingswood our home. At the time, Cor was working for clients like Harmony Gold, which meant lots of time spent travelling.’ Then one day, Cor called Marinda to say: ‘You won’t believe it, but 80 Trafford is on the market again.’

That was back in 2017. They bought and built and, not surprisingly, Marinda took on the role of project manager, walking over from Trafford 79 to 80 every day in the line of this exciting duty.

‘We moved in on 1 December 2018. We love George and feel absolutely blessed to be living in our dream home at Kingswood. Hanno is a happy 7th Grader at George-Suid Primary School,’ she says, adding that their son excels at cricket, chosen for the South African Indoor Cricket u/14 team recently.

‘Cor played provincial cricket at school, so the game is very much part of our lives, with the cricket pitch the scene of many hours of sporting entertainment – no wonder Kingswood’s “oval” had such instant appeal.’

Marinda and Cor are both intricately involved at the Tuinedal congregation around the corner from Kingswood, where Cor preaches the good Word once a month, and Marinda is in charge of the worship team. ‘We are both very fond of our families, but Tuinedal serves as our loving local family,’ she says. Between work, church and sport, the family enjoys walking on the beautiful Kingswood golf course.

The Swarts are soon off to visit their old home town, but will be back in time for the new school term, and to continue living their philosophy of making a difference in their Kingswood community, their 4Xcellence clients, the community of George and beyond.

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