A Q&A with The Da Vinci Institute’s Doctoral alumnus Dr Renaldo de Jager
Please give us a brief overview of your career to date.
I have just over two decades of work experience as an International Management Consultant, during which time I successfully delivered projects in most industries and in various countries around the world.
Your thesis is titled: “An integrated approach to management as a mechanism to enhance the efficiencies of manufacturing concerns in the Gauteng province.” Please provide us with a blurb on the purpose of this research and its contribution.
The GDP [Gross domestic product] of South Africa has been decreasing year-on-year since 2012. Since the productivity of a country is measured by its GDP, statistics imply that productivity in South Africa is on the decline, and thus affecting the economic growth of South Africa, which has also been in decline year-on-year since 2012. Parenthetically, the result of the said decline has added a negative effect on the nation’s increasingly soaring unemployment rate.
Accordingly, with the above serving as the background, this study provides insights into the productivity and efficiencies of the manufacturing process – thereby identifying elements that enhance the manufacturing industry’s productivity and efficiencies.
Consequently, the findings of this research were used to develop an enhanced approach to result in optimal productivity and efficiency of the manufacturing process. A further significance is that this may result in the manufacturing industry becoming more competitive, and this has a major impact on the GDP and unemployment figures of the country.
In a few words, please describe your journey to completing your Doctoral qualification.
My Doctoral degree journey started with the motivation and push from my late wife. She battled cancer for 12 years – and giving up was, and is not, an option. To take this attitude in life further, by completing this, is also showing our children that one never gives up. The other piece of inspiration comes from Albert Einstein who says: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
What would you say your three greatest attributes or characteristics are as a person that aided you on your journey?
I persevered. There were a lot of re-work, re-think, and other related adjustments required. I was also committed to my research work, to bring the task to completion even during tough circumstances because this is very important to me. Crucially, I enjoyed the journey.
How did your journey impact your way of thinking and (or) life?
I have become more objective and neutral in my thinking. This has now become a habit in my life. I think about things laterally, and I constantly look for more information, bettering oneself as a person.
What is next for you on your path of remarkability?
The entire academic process was at times exhausting. The final months when assessments were completed, and the wait for feedback, was taxing. Thus, to respond to the question, I intend to learn something new, which will be different, and fun as well. Something to commit to again.
I am also a musical soul, so one will be learning to play the Saxophone. This is different, not easy at all, but will bring a lot of joy, well, not to those around when practising or trying to find a proper note.
If you could give advice to a student embarking on this journey, what would it be?
Be patient and enjoy the journey. Do not try and rush the process. Enjoy each step for what it is. Be open-minded and objective when the research is done, and the data analysed. Let the result present itself and be amazed at the findings from the process. The process may deliver the desired results. Trust the process and comply to the process requirements. The findings and recommendation will bring a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
Talk to other people who are in the same boat or who have completed the journey. This can be lonely and challenging at times, these people will motivate you to keep at it. Keep the enthusiasm that is brought to the very first lecture throughout the journey, enjoy it and have fun.