SA Affordable Housing January - February 2019 // Issue: 74 - Page 28

PERSONALITY PROFILE Volcanic Wool’s dynamic young leader At just 24 Farhaan Varachia has come a long way; while he rose quickly to become the MD of Volcanic Wool, it reflects his drive and determination, not to mention the willingness of fellow executives to trust this young man to steer the ship. By Warren Robertson B orn on 8 October 1994, on the east rand in Gauteng, Varachia can best be described as diligent. Steadfastly determined he breezed through Tom Newby School then Ashton International College, gaining admission to the University of Johannesburg to study accounting. “During my last year of studies in 2015 I felt the need to do more than merely study as I believed I had more to give,” says Varachia, perfectly illustrating that desire to succeed that has been a hallmark of his thus far short career. “I then started focusing on finding a job to grow my income, skills and obtain valuable experience. I got a job at the Morvest group at one of its branches,” he says. It was just a few months later that opportunity first knocked on his door when Morvest purchased Volcanic Wool, a company that describes itself as producing ‘reliable, best quality, cost effective and environmentally friendly insulation products’. When Morvest advertised internally for staff to transfer to Volcanic Wool, Varachia leapt at the chance. “After being transferred to Volcanic Wool in late 2015 I started working on anything that would allow me to improve the business and obtain experience in a manufacturing field. I was essentially an ‘all-rounder’ working on purchases of raw materials and spare parts, assisting with wages calculations, assisting with production and sales and any other task that was needed as there was only a few employees during the time,” he explains. Very quickly he grew to know every aspect of the company and in January 2016 began to work closely with the new MD. “During this period, I was working very closely with the executive team to define Volcanic Wool’s strategy and the way forward, I was, during the time, driving the sales process. I was also responsible for numerous additional ad hoc tasks which enabled me to get a full and comprehensive understanding of the workings of a business,” he says. Burying himself in the business Varachia came to know every aspect of Volcanic Wool and its running, using his background in accounting stood him in good stead for many of the business elements. “After one year I had grown drastically in terms of experience. I was familiar with the different departments 26 JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2019 of the organisation and could fill any gaps if needed, I understood production through countless hours of in- depth analysis and with my accounting background, I understood how efficiencies, costings, negotiations and numbers affected an organisation,” Varachia explains. By the time the MD left at the end of 2016, there was only one logical choice to guide the company temporarily while a new leader was found – Varachia. Like with everything else he wasn’t satisfied sitting still and merely being a placeholder. “The MD’s departure left a gap in the organisation which needed to be filled and due to the business being a very niche and complicated manufacturing process it would have been a number of months before any replacement would be able to get up to date with the full workings of the entity,” he says. Within two months he had successfully managed to stifle the effects of a dramatic change while improving capacity by 50% and at the same time minimising costs drastically. “I had proven that during my time at Volcanic Wool, my skills, dedication and knowledge are more than sufficient and I was chosen as the MD, the position which I hold today,” he says. But Varachia does not rest on his laurels. Within two months he had successfully managed to stifle the effects of a dramatic change while improving capacity by 50% and at the same time minimising costs drastically. “Today, we constantly work on improving the business and tackling fundamental issues within the South African market. We want to eliminate loss of homes and more importantly loss of lives due to improper insulation and fires within our country. Our products can prevent fires from spreading and destroying numerous homes like we