Our Team

John Dorfling | Managing Director

Skills & Experience:

John started his career at Pick n Pay in 1987 as a trainee manager and completed his retail schooling through a number of departments including service areas, perishables and foods. By 1990, John was promoted to Category Manager of the commodity foods group of categories where he was trained in Space Management and DPP using the Apollo system. It was during this year at Pick ‘n Pay that John had started the development of some of his first Software applications, not the least of which was a system for the creation of quadrant analysis and DPP studies.

In June 1991 John started the first independent Category Management Consulting organization (CMS) in South Africa, and later partnered with IBIS to create CATMAN (Pty) Ltd. During this period John was schooled on the Spaceman system and was responsible for clients such as Colgate Palmolive, Nestle and Premier Foods Industries to mention but a few. The company was later sold to A.C.Nielsen.

John joined Premier foods industries in December 1993 and Headed up their Category Management department across some 15 Categories including Maize, Wheat, Pet foods, Jams & Spreads, Bread and Margarine. In 1994 John attended the A.C.Nielsen Solutions Conference in Palm Springs, California where he was exposed to some of the latest thinking and software development in the Category Management Arena.

By 1995 John had joined Pillsbury Brands Africa where he was tutored by Lorraine Hadfield and Scott Gladstein. During this time, John was exposed to the Intactix system and was responsible for the Frozen Vegetables and Baking Aids Category. At this time, category Management had progressed to the FMI Best Practices Model of Category Management which was taught by The Partnering Group (TPG). John's keen interest in automating some of these time consuming tasks resulted in the development of one of the Industries first automated category management systems used to simplify the Assessment of a Category.

In 1996 John headed up Category Management for A.C.Nielsen South Africa. He was exposed to some of the industries newest technologies including Nielsen Workstation and Knight.

In August 1997, John re-opened the CMS Company as CMS Reflections and concentrated his efforts on the creation of Digital images and soon after included the production of planograms and category management requirements.

From the outset the company began with the development of software systems including the "Store Manager" (Storm), which assisted with the management of large amounts of retail data being shared with the industry at the time. By 2000, John began to design the DotActiv Category Management system which took the best part of two years to complete. The Application was launched in 2002 and was such a resounding success that the company changed its name to DotActiv (Pty) Ltd in September 2002 to compliment the then very well-known brand of the application.

In September 2010 John established and was appointed Managing Director of Chain Research (Pty) Ltd where he provided strategic direction and oversaw the establishment of the company's operations and products in the market place. Early Highlights of this venture included the establishment of the Category Management Forum of SA in 2011 which continued through 2013 where John used this platform to share his knowledge of Category Management and the use of Market research for the development of Strategic Category Management in the SA Marketplace

In 2015 John entered the Hardware Retail Space through Mica Hardware, DIY Depot and House of Paint, and later the Agricultural Sector through Hinterland. During this period, the need for better software systems and a greater need for Strategic Category Management became more apparent, and in November 2018 John began the development of the industry’s first cloud based Strategic Category Management Solution.

Completing the Tactical elements of the software by November 2019 ahead of their official launch in February 2020, the company has already secured some 120 Software user seats, and now plans to develop the application to assist organizations to develop Goal Oriented Category Strategy.

John's 30 plus years of exposure to the Retail scene in South Africa has straddled Retailer to Wholesaler, Forecourt to Pharmacy, from Foods to General Merchandise, Hardware and Agriculture, and from Retailer to Supplier to Category Management Consultant. His direct exposure to the real needs of the South African Category Management Arena as well as his keen interest in the software development arena has resulted in some of the world’s finest and relevant software applications available to the South African Marketplace.

John is a true asset to the South African Category Management arena.

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Jaco Robbertse | Director | Strategic Business Development

Skills & Experience:

Jaco has a long history (19 years) in the Information Technology arena.

Coming from the financial services industry, he is skilled in Business Process Management, Business Analysis, Dash Boarding, Data Visualisation, Call Centres and Software Development. Jaco managed a large team of Software Development Specialists, MIS Analysts and Strategy Analysts in the banking sector, and reported directly to business intelligence.

Jaco graduated from the Retail Banking Academy in 2017, and his core functions included looking after operations, risk, compliance and sales reporting, for 9 provinces across retail banking.

Jaco is a true asset and a fresh new comer to the Strategic Category Management Arena.

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Anesca Dorfling | Director | Tactical Business Development

Skills & Experience:

Anesca is responsible for Space Planning, Data Collection, Data Preparation, Training, Marketing and Support.

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Michael Valsecchi | Director | Sales and Marketing

Skills & Experience:

Michael Valsecchi has studied Marketing and Sales Management, and in 1998 he received his MBA in Strategic Marketing from the University of Hull in the UK.

He has over 20 years of classical marketing and managerial and executive experience in blue chip companies such as Spar Build It, Barloworld Plascon, The Essential Group, PPG, LRB House of Paint and Décor and Universal Paints under his belt.

Since starting his professional career in 1991, he has honed many skills across various industries and business diciplines, including Retail, Hardware, Franchising and others. His skills include business management, marketing, business development and growth, enterprise development, retail operations and group negotiation with various stakeholders across the value chain.

Michael is a true asset and a fresh newcomer in the role of director in our Marketing and Sales division.

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Mark Jenkins | Director | Key Accounts

Skills & Experience:

Mark started his career as a trainee manager at Pick ‘n Pay at the Boksburg Hypermarket in 1987 and worked in various management roles and as a space planner until his appointment as Category Manager at the Pick ‘n Pay Head Office in 1995. Mark worked with leading international suppliers such as Coca Cola, Nestle and Kellogg’s during this time in developing and implementing category plans for Pick ‘n Pay. Mark then joined Tiger Milling in 2000 as Space Planning Manager for Albany, King Food and Milling. A restructure of the Tiger business in 2001 saw Mark become the Space Planning Manager for the entire Foods division, looking after illustrious brands such as Koo, All Gold, Tastic, Albany, Fattis&Monis, Jungle Oats and Ace, to name a few. Mark then became the Customer Intelligence Manager for the Tiger Grains Division in 2010 and then became a Customer Marketing Manager for the Jungle and King Food Wholesale business in 2017 until he departed Tiger. Mark has worked across multiple food categories and with all the major retailers and Wholesalers in South Africa in the last 30+ years and has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge of the category management and review arena during this time.

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Melissa Van der Merwe | Space Planner | Training and Support

Skills & Experience:

Melissa is responsible for : Space planning, training (new team members on the tactical side) and software support.

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Jason Werber | Software Project Manager

Skills & Experience:

Jason has 11 years experience in software development. He is skilled in Agile, C#, Vue, JS, .NET, SQL, Mongo DB, MVC, MEF, WCF, WPF and Micro Services.

He published two systems: Promotions Executive (Promotion and Loyalty system) and drPromo (Plugin based, Modular Promotional System). Jason has certifications in Slots Academy, BSC Software Engineering (on-going) and is a Microsoft Certified WCF Micro Services Developer

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Brandon Lange | Lead Software Developer

Skills & Experience:

Brandon has 5 years experience in software development. He is skilled in Agile, C#, Vue, JS, .NET, SQL and Mongo DB

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