From humble beginnings to an expert management consultancy powerhouse. This is our story.
EconoServ opened its doors back in 2001 and founded by Keith Levenstein. EconoServ Initially produced accounting software for the small business market. This market was tough to crack. Important and humbling lessons were learnt. Very soon alternative revenue streams were sought.
The family culture was always quite prominent. In 2004 Gavin Levenstein joined the family business. By 2005 EconoServ began working in the B-BBEE space offering training and creating software. In 2006 EconoBEE was officially born.
In 2007 the Codes of Good Practice were released which for the first time gave businesses absolute certainty with regard to implementation. This was also a big year for EconoServ. The company employed its first employee.
2008 was an even bigger year and no doubt the first year where EconoServ began making a major mark in the Management Consultancy space – and the B-BBEE space where we had become leading experts.
We launched our Managed Service, a service that manages the BEE process for clients on a long-term basis. Managed Services changed the entire consulting landscape because it was based on a retainer basis and not hourly consulting. This innovative change allowed clients to be pro-active in their planning. The results were phenomenal and contributed substantially to our future growth.
By the end of 2008 EconoServ now employed many full time consultants assisting clients through the extremely popular managed service. 2009 started a very interesting trend. The verification industry had now been accredited and sector charters started to be gazetted. It was during these years that EconoServ began making its mark on the industry as a whole. We began campaigning very hard for standardisation (eventually launching our BEE Expert Group). We discovered and challenged many companies who had produced invalid certificates which resulted in our call for a BEE Ombudsman, which eventually became the BEE Commissioner.
We started being called by the press, radio and TV for comment until we became the de facto BEE Experts, with a reputation for fairness, support of transformation and ensuring proper implementation of B-BBEE. We were, and still not afraid to criticise both government and business where it is warranted. It was also during these years where a great deal of internal structuring was gearing our business for another major growth spurt.
By 2010 we needed to move to larger offices. Now with thousands of clients, a larger staff complement, training rooms and better facilities. Our systems had improved substantially. Many of our consulting processes had now been automated. By 2011 we introduced a project management system, comprehensive telephone management system, functional consulting automation systems, detailed staff training material and highly detailed consulting policies and procedures. 2012 and 2013 were the cat amongst the pigeon years. The DTI wanted more compliance and began a process of implementing the Amended Codes. By 2014 we had outgrown our current offices and began a process which eventually resulted in us moving into 435 Rugby Ave which is our current offices. In addition, EconoServ launched additional services: Employment Equity and Skills Consultation under the EconoHR banner. By 2015 we had over 1000sqm of space, two large training rooms and additional space for our consultants to manage every aspect of our clients’ requirements. In 2016 Labour Law Consulting was added to the EconoHR suite of services
At EconoServ we’ve never been enormously keen to be the same as everyone else. As a consultancy, we never liked the way typical consultants assisted clients. We felt that hourly consulting incentivised consultants to take their time… and why wouldn’t they?. The longer they spend the more they earn. We don’t believe in spending an infinite amount of time working on the same task, we are task-orientated and work towards a defined deliverable. In that sense, our entire consulting methodology can focus on future events and only on what specifically needs to be done to ensure success. We don’t like following Best Practice. Best Practice means doing exactly what everyone else is doing. We prefer Better Practice
We are extremely happy that we have been able to carve out a niche using our phenomenally successful consulting methods. We are ecstatic that we could benefit our clients in such a fundamental way.
All service businesses require highly skilled staff. Our staff development is rather unique in that we have preferred to do all of the training ourselves. We have great strength in transferring skills and as a result we are able to select the best people for our environment and develop the skills they need to excel at their job. Although it is hard work, the results are spectacular. Our staff are trained to the same standard and because they all go through the same training they work very well together. Our team culture, coupled with our unique methods and automated systems allow us to process an enormous amount of client data quickly and accurately.
Our clients love us and we enjoy being different.
With directors who are always thinking about tomorrow, it is no wonder EconoServ has become an innovation kingpin. We like technology, but because we think differently, we are also able to implement technology into our business in new and sometimes unusual ways. Ultimately it is our systems that form the backbone of our business. Through the use of these systems we are able to process much more work, more accurately and without the risk of accidentally forgetting important components.
Our project management system keeps track of all work completed or still to be completed. This allows our managers to see anomalies and our consultants to plan strategically ensuring that our clients always get the best possible service. Our email system converts all emails into tickets allowing for quicker reply times, fewer bottle necks and collaborative team-based consulting. Our training and induction systems are standardised allowing us to quickly recruit additional staff, train them and test their competence after training.
Our telephone system keeps track of all calls, allowing us to monitor issues and ensure each client is contacted when they need to be contacted. Work automation is a component of our business that we invest in heavily. Repetitive tasks or complex tasks are automated as much as is possible. We started innovating and we will continue innovating because we want to be ahead of the pack. You can only truly say you’re an industry leader if you are in the lead.
We’ve never liked staying the same. Along with our innovative side we also strive to see improvements. To this extent we’ve created “The 5% Concept” whereby we aim to have small gains but over long-term periods. Our view is that everything can be improved. Our staff receive constant training, our systems are always being improved and new opportunities are always considered.
Virtually from day one we have had a results-orientated view. If the target is to a achieve a certain level on a BEE scorecard or a particular deadline for Employment Equity we have always had that focus in mind. It is quite logical that achieving good results will keep staff and clients happier. As a result, clients use us for many years enabling our business to grow.
What’s right is right’ is a simple yet powerful statement. Quite sadly it has become rare for companies to have a value system. Corruption, fraud and countless dubious activities are reported regularly. EconoServ has a proud culture of a high-level of ethics and we ensure our staff also maintain the same principles.
Since the very early days we have been outspoken on all topics we have become an expert in our field. As a result, we have been published numerous articles in the press, had many radio interviews and TV interviews. While we don’t consider ourselves as celebrities, our clients and staff like to think of us minor celebrities.
Knowledge is vital. Our website has become the largest repository of information relating to B-BBEE and an excellent source of information for Human Resources and Skills Development. As at 2017 we have over 1000 articles on our website. Sharing news and knowledge goes hand in hand with our website. We developed a regular newsletter where we share important information. We are also active on social media.
Training is close to our heart. We offer many presentations to our clients. We also present regularly for industry associations and other groups of business people to assist in understanding the intricacies of the legislation they are required to comply with.
Our directors are Keith Levenstein and Gavin Levenstein
Lianne Levenstein is the CEO
Our staff culture is as unique as our business model. Since we realised how valuable our staff are, we invested in a great deal of resources to ensure our culture was conducive to achieving amazing results. Along with intensive and regular training, we also provide lunches to staff made by our full-time chef and when our staff become a little peckish they have some fresh popcorn from our popcorn machine.
We like to improve. Staff form a vital component of our growth strategy. Within that vein of thought we constantly train our staff. We also offer mentorship and qualification-based training to help our staff achieve their own goals. Our approach to staff development and future talent management allows us to find incredible talent.
Trust amongst our clients and staff is hard won. We work hard to gain and then maintain the trust of all stakeholders. When we make a suggestion our clients need to trust us. The smallest of issues can hurt our trust relationship which be counter productive.
We are very socially aware. Skills Development is close to our hearts. We invest in skills development for various organisations. Developing businesses is a natural progression for an entrepreneur. We love seeing growth.
The EconoServ of tomorrow hasn’t been written yet, although we are certain to continue growing from the foundation of our past successes.
The EconoBEE team is a leader in the industry. We have over 10-years experience and thousands of clients. Our primary focus is on implementing long-term strategies to achieve a high BEE scorecard. We also assist clients to prepare for verification.
We are a company that consults on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment issues. We help enterprises understand the requirements and the codes. We assist in designing and implementing strategies to increase the company’s B-BBEE scorecard and finally help to develop a BEE scorecard.
EconoBEE’s goal is to help you understand, work through and profit from Black Economic Empowerment.
All companies in South Africa will come across BEE in some way or another. In most cases, this will be through a customer who requires the companies BEE Status/Scorecard.
EconoBEE’s unique approach to consulting helps a business owner understand what is truly required of them and gives them the opportunity to have professional draft accurate documents.
EconoBEE’s consulting tasks often revolve around general consulting on an hourly time base, policy drafting and BEE strategies. We can however assist you in all aspects of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.
The EconoHR team manages all aspects of a businesses’ human resources department in either an outsourced or semi-outsourced basis.
EconoHR is a division of EconoServ that consults on HR issues related to statutory compliance with the Employment Equity Act, Basic Conditions of Employment and the Labour Relations act. The EconoHR team are also experts on the Skills Development Levy Act and Skills Development Act as well as implementation.
Our HR team realises that with the complexities that business has in simply running a business, owners, directors, HR people of businesses don’t have the time to read all the lengthy legislation and prepare documents needed to comply. Our team are excellent administrators to make sure that these seemingly difficult tasks are handled on a regular basis with all documentation as part of our record keeping. We see our role as supporting your current HR department from the view point of the legal basis. We will advise on the legality of the situation on a situation by situation basis and help build capability by training as many people as necessary.
EconoHR has three flagship products being, Employment Equity Compliance Managed Service, Skills Development Managed Service and Labour Law Managed Service. We have chosen to work on a fair retainer to allow for constant support with no additional fees, we encourage our clients to contact us as often as needed. We have found that this method works and have happy clients all around South Africa.
EconoHR uses the same model as EconoBEE.
Through our “Lumko Learning” business we strategically identify critical skills within businesses and custom make training material to automate the training process within businesses. This unit solves major time constraints within businesses and allows businesses to set higher standards for training with lower deployment costs and shorter time frames. Skills testing is a major part of the creation of training material. Once each course has been completed it is tested and either passed or failed. If failed we identify where the weakness is and retrain.
Merging theoretical learning with practical on the job training that most importantly is relevant to not only your industry but your specific business requirements. We want to take advantage of modern technologies to aid us in developing your staff.
Through our very innovative EconoMedia brand unit, we are able to offer training on media-related topics.
EconoMedia provides hands-on training for TV and radio interviews at our hi-tech digital studio in Ferndale, simulating a live TV and radio environment. As part of the session, we will produce, at no additional cost, a 1-2 minute video for your company to use on YouTube or on social media. This could be used as a message to your staff, customers or shareholders.
Our unique approach to consulting helps business owners understand what is truly required of them and gives them the opportunity to have a professional draft accurate documents.
Our team realises that with the complexities that business has in simply running a business, owners of businesses don’t have the time to read all the lengthy legislation and prepare documents needed to comply.
We recognise the need for education to dispel the many myths around BEE so businesses can get on with the task at hand – running an efficient and profitable business and becoming BBBEE compliant.
Our world-class systems are designed to help your business best comply with the relevant acts as well as fine tune your business’ employment structures to ensure a profitable and compliant environment.