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The Commercial Department at Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) encompasses the following portfolios:

         ·          Commercial Strategy and Planning,

         ·          Commercial Market Research and Insights,

         ·          Strategic Marketing and Customer Experience Management,

        ·         Business Development,

Phumzile Sithole is the General Manager heading the Commercial Department, with a direct report to the Transnet Freight Rail Chief Executive. 

The Role of the Commercial Department:

The TFR’s Commercial department has taken on responsibility for marketing, sales enablement & optimization, commercial contracting, commercial negotiations as well as revenue management. Overall, the department’s role includes overseeing the identification and development of profitable business opportunities and added to that is the profitable management of commercial projects and contracts from inception to completion.
The department’s strategy seeks to define “how and where to grow” by setting goals as well as point which new customer groups should be targeted to capture pockets of growth in new markets while retaining and growing TFR’s positioning within existing customers.
Furthermore the department’s strategy also seeks to define how TFR needs to position its services to capture sustainable growth opportunities, while meeting its responsibilities as a state-owned logistics services provider. 

Commercial Management, Commercial Strategy and Planning 

The role of the Commercial Strategy and Planning department within TFR commercial is to oversee the formulation and management of both the pricing and contracting strategies including standards and policy governance. Revenue Assurance is performed by the revenue integrity and compliance function.
Key outputs of the Commercial Management & Commercial Strategy and Planning department include:

         ·          Pricing strategy formulation,

·          Development of pricing models,
·          Setting pricing targets,
·          Perform financial evaluations to determine price effectiveness
·          Determination of prices,
·          Perform Pricing information custodianship,
·          Sales support function,
·          Formulation of contracting guidelines
·          Manage contract effectiveness, risk and governance,
·          Drive contracting process optimization,
·          Perform contracting information custodianship
·          Perform contract negotiations support.
·          Develop commercial policies,
·          Develop order-to-cash processes & governance, customs,
·          Develop loading profiles & revenue integrity processes 

Commercial Market Research and Insights:

The role of Commercial Market Research and Insights department includes: the responsibility to gather, analyse and interpret market information. The function entails an on-going analysis of market trends (demand, supply and price shifts), scanning of the macro environment (PESTEL analysis) as well competitors and customer research. The aim of the department is to draw critical insights from the research information to enable the business to be better informed and carry-out smarter, more profitable business decisions thereby reduce risk in the business.


Key outputs of the Commercial Market research and Insights department include:
·         Commodity, price and industry analysis,
·         Market demand validation,
·         market opportunity quantification,
·         Conducting of research studies,
·         PESTEL analysis and production of macroeconomic reports,
·         Development of Market segmentation models,
·         Providing customer analysis and insights,
·         Providing Competitor Intelligence,
·         Providing Customer Opportunity quantification,
·         Conducting Benchmarking of logistics services
·         Conducting research on potential viable value added services.

 Strategic Marketing and Customer Experience Management: 

The role of Strategic Marketing and Customer Experience Management department includes the constant measuring and monitoring of the level of customer satisfaction in TFR. Customers make their purchase decisions based on the quality of their experience in the journeys that matter the most to them, for example: “the ability of TFR to meet expected delivery dates, the ability of TFR to deliver goods accurately and on-time, the ability of TFR to be deliver reliable service and deliver consistent service” to mention but a few. Therefore the process entails tracking of customer experience across the “Journeys that matter the most to Customers”, conducting an analysis of the feedback from customers, thereafter devise Initiatives and Marketing Programs to drive better customer engagement and in the process ensure the delivery of the right service offering in the right channel at the right time.
Key outputs of the Strategic Marketing and Customer Experience Management department include:
·          Development of Marketing Plan
·          Development of Customer Experience Strategy,
·          Assist with Customer Segmentation models
·          Develop Customer treatment and engagement models
·          Development of the Brand Management strategy
·          Drive Customer loyalty & improved customer satisfaction rating,
·          Drive growth of both existing and new customers,
·          Drive optimization of the sales channel (call centre repositioning),
·          Drive customer experience transformation and customer centric culture
·          Develop inter-departmental KPIs & SLAs
·          Spearhead the repositioning and marketing of other TFR service offerings, e.g. REM, SOR and Real Estate.

Business Development and Growth Department: 
The Business Development and Growth department within commercial has the responsibility to work with all external and internal stakeholders including sales and market research to identify new business opportunities, validate their viability and facilitate their execution, i.e. generating leads, identifying possible strategic partnerships, growing new distribution channels, and applying available data to assist in decision making with the added responsibility of driving the sales forces optimisation and effectiveness.

Key outputs of the Business Development and Growth department:
·          Opportunity generation and management
·          Customer On-boarding
·          Development of new markets
·          Building strategic relationships
·          Value Propositions Development
·          Sales Force Enablement
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