Owner Production Logix
Shilpa Mehta owns and operates Production Logix, which is an electronics manufacturing services provider specialising in surface mount technology (SMT) through hole technology, box assembly and harnessing. The company offers prototyping, repairs and modifications and supplies a variety of industries such as aerospace, military, mining, telematics, and IoT. On the personal side, Shilpa is married to a wonderful man, and they enjoy a social, active and healthy lifestyle.
Shilpa’s business journey evolved from its beginnings as an article clerk, then to banking and structured finance. After her time in banking, Shilpa moved to the UHC Group, which was involved in various forms of printing. “I gained immense experience in the manufacturing industry, which deals with a variety of customers, internal sales, pricing, costing, and supply chain logistics,” she said. From there, Shilpa moved to Production Logix, which she bought in part ownership in 2016.
Shilpa commented that she had developed sound business principles and practice as well as had common sense and core values. Consequently, she knew that she would be able to take that leap from printing into electronics.
Barriers to entry
As does any business in South Africa, Shilpa has experienced her fair share of challenges in making her business a success.
Post Covid their company was hit with a global supply chain crisis in electronic chips and components which were manufactured overseas, in very specialised facilities. Consequently, one of the critical areas she had to focus on was their supply chain management and the uplifting and upskilling of their team and working with the supply chain in much greater detail than before.
Looking back a few years on, Shilpa says that they are now are a stronger business; their planning productivity and their efficiency has much improved which has helped attract new customers.
Shilpa added, “I think with every challenge there comes an opportunity, where you can improve and become more efficient. We now see a vast improvement in our service levels, efficiency as well as communication, which has increased our levels of confidence as well as our customers.”
Production Logix has expanded their footprint to operate in different market sectors and have created strong relationships with their customer base. They now supply the aerospace, military, and defence sector within South Africa, which are difficult to get into because of their stringent supplier requirements. In the future, Shilpa’s goal is to extend their footprint to a global customer base. They have a vision of being a proudly South African world class manufacturing facility in the heart of KZN.
Shilpa says that being a woman who has had the opportunity to break into the electronics sector is an achievement. “It’s very much a male-dominated space and I have found a way to navigate through this and make my mark. The electronics industry is very different to where I started out, but I have come to realise that any industry requires good principles, trust, and sound logic, which I bring to the table and very much uphold.”
“You start off every year with the plan of what you wish to achieve, and we have passion for what we do. We want to be the best, so I think that’s something that motivates us daily,” added Shilpa.
Outside of Production Logix, Shilpa is proud to have joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation where she served on the board in a marketing communications role and in the membership role. In 2020, Shilpa became first female chapter president for Durban. They managed to grow the chapter from a small to medium organisation to a medium to large organisation during the pandemic as well as support many owner-managed business in the province.
Her parents, says Shilpa are the people who have inspired her the most in the world to do good and to be better. Her father, Bharat Mehta, is her role model and her advisor. “I’ve always admired his business acumen and intelligence, as well as his keen attention to detail. He is someone who admirably has always remained curious about the world and is motivated by continuous growth and improvement – he never becomes complacent and is always planning the next step.”
Shilpa’s mother, she says, has shown her what it is to be a good, strong wife and mother. “She fostered a warm, supportive, and safe space for us at home, which provided the ideal counterbalance to my father’s business-mindedness. When life ever knocked us down or offered us blows, she’s been that cushion that softened us and then encouraged us to get back on track and told us to be brave and move forward.”
Advice to women
The world in general is a tough place said Shilpa. “If I could give one piece of advice it would be to back yourself and don’t take no for an answer. I think as women, we are dismissed quite often. We need to have tenacity to keep going back, to have a thick skin and not be sensitive and not take things too personally but really just push for what we believe in. I’ve been told no numerous times and I’ve kept knocking on doors and eventually the opportunity arose.
The other piece of advice is to not rely on anyone to rescue you. When you learn to rescue yourself, you become more confident and develop self-belief that makes you unstoppable.
In her free time, Shilpa enjoys spending time with her friends over a good meal. Other than that, she loves a good run on the Durban promenade with a coffee afterwards and enjoys hitting the gym. She has recently started playing padel.
Commenting on the KZN Top Business initiative, Shilpa says that it’s been an honour to participate and to tell her story to inspire other women as well as show them that there is a different path to be followed.