Women in business

Hayley Eagle: Paving the Way for Women in the Automotive Sector

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Jamsco Automotive Assemblies (Pty) Ltd was established in January 2012 by Ms. Hayley Eagle, supported by Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) who aims to assist black businesses to work in the high-entry barrier automotive sector. Jamsco is located within the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) incubation centre in Silverton, Pretoria. Jamsco has been successful through synergies to achieve zero Parts Per Million (PPM). PPM is a measurement used to determine quality performance and zero PPM means the product has got no defects. To be an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), quality standards must be observed rigorously. 

As Hayley puts it: “There is no compromise for their (National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers) quality standards, the risk is just so high” The Z-bracket (which is produced in Argentina and South Africa) is a part unique to Hayley and Jamsco which she supplies to Ford Motor Company South Africa’s Silverton assembly plant and is used on the dash panel of the Ford T6 Ranger. Supplying the Z-bracket is quite a feat for Jamsco because small entrepreneurs are usually excluded from consideration as suppliers due to quality concerns. Jamsco also provide stabiliser bar assemblies, front hubs, rear axles, and stabilisers to Ford South Africa.

Jamsco has more than 40 employees reporting to work every day and features a night-shift in order to support the customer’s production requirements. Jamsco also does extensive skills training in its neighbouring communities.

InvestSA had the privilege to ask Hayley some questions about being a woman in a predominantly male dominated industry. She shares some insight into her inspiring journey as well as the barriers she has broken to be where she is today.

Q: Where did it all start for you?

“I started out as a young woman in business. My Mom was a domestic worker and the sole breadwinner. I started [a business called] Marshall Tshwane in Botswana producing aprons, selling cotton and haberdashery in the small towns in and around Gaborone. Business is not easy. Some basic fundamentals that you need to abide by should include protecting your customer, keeping your costs low and taking care of your team. I was chosen to be part of the Graca Machel Trust and their women creating wealth project. I am surrounded with an amazing group of women working towards local, African and international partnerships using a lift-as-you rise methodology. Our aim is to work towards creating a safe environment for new entrepreneurs [women] and enabling them in the process.”

Credit to Jamscoauto
Credit to Jamscoauto

Q: Who has inspired you the most in your own business pursuits?

“My entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by my Mom, who could make a rand stretch and encouraged us to travel and take risks. As a 100% black woman owned business established in 2012, we started out supplying 21 quality assembled parts to a Tier-1 that ended up on the acclaimed T6 [Ford] Ranger.  My ability to scale my business started at the incubation centre. I was in a new and complex world with a new way of thinking and doing things. Even though it was a challenging environment I loved what I did and embraced the new normal. I felt safe and in a protected environment, knowing that there will always be a helping hand if I was doing what was right. I left the incubation centre in 2017 and regularly contact Mr Santos [from the incubation centre], my biggest critic and supporter, for assistance. His industry knowledge, tenacity and strength inspire me and he continues to encourage me on my automotive journey.”

Q: In a male-dominated industry, how have you been able to hold your own?

The automotive industry is a fast-paced, technical, process-driven environment and the years of knowledge, power and exclusion of women is unmistakable. The industry is challenging, political, male-dominated, overwhelming, and even unfair at times. This should be the reason why we make our capable female footprints visible. I have used what I have been taught by applying it in my environment. I have two options: I do what is right or I conform to the current status quo. I made the decision to do what is right, sometimes at great cost to myself.  My journey has been filled with strong, kind, powerful males who still remain in my corner to lend a helping hand. The bullies unfortunately have an enormous impact when they land their punches. As we encounter adverse conditions we become better at mitigating the risks and keep trying new ways of overcoming [obstacles] to our business. As women, continue to be pioneers, knowing that it is through failure that we accumulate valuable data that serves to work on root-cause analyses, showing us how and where to put in interim corrective actions, preventative measures and in time permanent corrective actions to make our journey that much easier for the next generation.”

Q: What role can women in business play in the economy of SA, especially in the challenging times confronting us?

“I am the youngest of five sisters. We had a single mom who only had a primary school education. She single handily managed to facilitate our chances to complete high school and whatever we dreamt of beyond that. The increase in education for girls and young women will contribute to our growth, economic power and wealth creation for our families and communities. Women entrepreneurs are on the increase giving rise to consumer spend increase. Historically, access to finance for women was a major stumbling block. I have seen the support of my business from Government. This has allowed Jamsco to continue to operate beyond COVID-19’s destructive path. Once the playing field becomes more equal, women will become a force to be reckoned with in the South African economy.  Women are resilient and brave and as we reach out our hands to one another by supporting each other’s businesses, we can make South Africa a place where women can thrive in every sector of society.”

Q: What are some of Jamsco’s accomplishments and what is your vision for the future?

Some of what Jamsco has achieved in an industry that excluded us because of our perceived quality constraints are:

2020 Tier 1 supplier to an Original Equipment Manufacturer

2020 ABH Top 50 Africa’s Business Heroes Finalist (out of 22 000 applicants)

2020 Graca Machel Initiative WCW (Woman Creating Wealth)

2019 Nominated Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business & Government (Automotive)

2017/8 Nedbank / 702 Finalist

2017 Opened a press shop (where the z-bracket was produced)

2017 Gender Mainstreaming 3rd Finalist Economic Empowerment

2017 GMA 3rd Finalist Empowerment of Women in the Community

Jamsco has been successful in the automotive industry by breaking barriers some never thought would be possible.  My vision is to grow the none-automotive steel stamping using the same stringent automotive standards to build quality parts safely.

In the midst of the challenging economic environment brought about by Covid-19, Jamsco continues to provide quality jobs to many people. The future is hopeful and bright. Halyey envisions a prosperous South Africa where opportunities are created through innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit that is needed to bring about this vision. 

Hayley Eagle

Jamsco Automotive Assemblies (Pty) Ltd was established in January 2012 by Ms. Hayley Eagle, supported by Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) who aims to assist black businesses to work in the high-entry barrier automotive sector. Jamsco is located within the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) incubation centre in Silverton, Pretoria.

Contact Details:
Email Address: Hayley.eagle@za.sodecia.com
Phone Number: 081 011 6208/ 082 745 3239 www.jamscoauto.co.za
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