Get to know – Andrew Phoffa
My name is Andrew Phoffa. I work for ISBO as a Process Engineer and Six Sigma Black Belt consultant. I studied Industrial Engineering and hold a Btech Degree from Vaal University of Technology. In addition to that, I have certificates in Business Process Management, Business Analysis, and Project Management. I am also a qualified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
I was born and raised in Polokwane Seshego. I enjoy outdoor activities, watching movies, and exploring good food. I am passionate about problem-solving, and it fulfils me when a solution is implemented to satisfaction.
1. Tell us about the first job you’ve ever held.
My first formal job was at Transnet Engineering in the East Rand. I was training as a Process Engineer to streamline processes in the depot. During this time, we implemented Single Piece Flow on the production lines, enforced 5S principles, and conducted quality assessments within each workstation, among other tasks. Process efficiency has been my passion ever since.
2. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I believe I am called to serve, to assist people and nations. I aspire to possess influence over decision-makers, especially in government, to inspire them to make meaningful decisions that ultimately benefit the broader population. I feel that the objectives have been derailed and distorted, and I consider myself the change that I need to see.
3. Tell us a fact that most people don’t know about you?
One thing that interests me is the science of outer space, beyond Earth. Many people don’t know that Pluto has not completed its first revolution around the Sun yet, as it takes 248 Earth years for one complete revolution. This fact gave me a different perspective on time. Time is consistent on Earth but varies on different planets. For example, Jupiter’s day is only 9 Earth hours.
4. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Morning person. I feel more productive and energetic in the morning, and I enjoy the calm and quiet start to the day.
5. What was the moment you realised you were officially an adult?
Lol, well, when we were in the shops, my 2-year-old boy started demanding stuff from the shelves. He actually took everything he liked and carried it with him to the till, expecting me to pay for them. I guess growing up comes with responsibilities, and it’s quite evident even in these little ones.
6. If you could be the main character in any movie, who would you be?
Django, a smart black slave, discovers his hidden gift when he meets Dr. Schultz. Dr. Schultz purchases him from a slave master to seek his help in identifying certain individuals he is looking for. Django then uses his newfound abilities to rescue his wife. It’s a beautifully produced movie, and Samuel Jackson, Jamie Foxx, and Leonardo DiCaprio give outstanding performances.
A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.
Andrew Phoffa , Process Engineer
7. What’s a common piece of advice you don’t agree with and why?
Living in the moment’ is a great saying that encourages individuals to appreciate themselves and their experiences. However, it comes with repercussions, and these are often not made clear to those who seek to implement it. Instead, they may find themselves in predicaments they did not anticipate.
8. Tell us about a milestone you’ve achieved in your line of work that you’re most proud of?
I am an introvert, and breaking through that boundary became one of the most challenging experiences, but I had to learn to do it, as difficult as it was. Part of my work requires that I keep conversations going; stakeholder engagement is a daily requirement. I can safely say that the demands of my job pushed me to my limits, and eventually, I emerged victorious in letting myself ‘out there.
9. What do you admire most about your younger self?
When I was young, I made wrong decisions during my exploring years. I acknowledged my mistakes but didn’t dwell on them to define my future. I was also keen to rectify them, and I think that’s the most important highlight of my life. To this day, I still refer to those days as motivation for what I am capable of personally. If I managed back then, nothing is impossible.
10. What is your default strategy for dealing with upset clients?
Reflective listening always does the trick. It requires that I understand what the client is saying and interpret both their words and body language. Once I have analysed the situation, I respond by reflecting the thoughts and feelings I heard back to the client. This way, they are content that I was listening attentively to their frustrations.
11. Are there any short quotes that keep you motivated and focused?
Albert Einstein said, ‘A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.’ As individuals, as long as we do what we are meant to do, turbulence will always show up. We can choose to either make it a norm to live among the challenges or give up, but giving up is not an option. Let’s keep pushing and moving forward.
12. If you could summarise your experience with ISB Optimus in one sentence, what would it be?
Thoughtful, able to balance both professional and personal needs, and an institution of great learning with highly qualified and skilled personnel capable of cascading knowledge throughout the organisation.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Andrew as much as our team did. Be on the lookout for the next article!