Bearing company Bearings International’s Maitland branch, in the Western Cape, last month relocated to larger premises as part of a strategic move to further streamline operations and increase customer service levels, says Western Cape regional manager David Coro.
He adds that the branch has also been renamed the Cape Town branch.
Bearings International’s Stik-land and Cape Town branches supply original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end- users with a range of mechanical engineering, bearing and power transmission products in the pumps, printing, pulp and paper, automotive, steel, mining, food and beverage, fishing, ports and harbours, metal processing and allied industries, as well as government institutions.
Coro, who also manages Bearings International’s Eastern Cape, Free State, Kimberley, Kathu and Namibia branches, says the company has outgrown the Maitland premises, which it has occupied since the early 1970s.
Larger premises were needed to meet the growing market demand in the Western Cape.
“With our strengths in the OEM and end-user sectors, it made geographical sense to remain in Maitland, as it is ideally situated to tackle the major sectors across the Cape Peninsula. We are close to all the main industrial areas, including Epping, Montagu Gardens, Killarney Gardens, Paarden Eiland, Salt River and the southern suburbs,” explains Coro.
He adds that the new location, which also boasts larger customer and supplier parking facilities, is conveniently situated close to the Koeberg interchange for quick and easy access.
Bearings International Cape Town branch manager Pete McPherson states that the new premises have provided the opportunity to improve business efficiency across the board for better customer service.
“To do our job better to the benefit of our customers, we focused on all aspects, including personnel, information technology, switchboard and shelving, which were in need of improvement.
“Shelving was one of the focal areas of improvement as we can carry a lot more stock, which we will continue to receive from our large regional warehouse in Stikland,” he says.
Coro considers stock to be one of the major success factors and says that appropriate stock management ensures that customer requirements are met quickly every time.
“We pride ourselves on our turnaround times through maintaining substantial stock levels; if a product is available, the customer can have it immediately and only distance will affect delivery time. The customer dictates how quickly he wants the product and we always look for the best and fastest transport solution, using third-party transport in the case of remote locations.
“Another key success factor is ensuring that we have sufficient skilled personnel,” he adds.
“In line with an expansion programme adopted by parent company Hudaco a year ago, we are growing the Cape Town branch by first beefing up internal business through the appointment of more internal salespeople. Our focus will then shift externally with the appointment of new sales consultants.”
He adds that there is a desperate need for people development in the industry.
“Training, a core requirement in the Hudaco group, forms an essential part of our success story to ensure that our personnel are equipped with the necessary skills to fulfil customer expectations.”
Active personnel training programmes, conducted by in-house trainers, assessors and outside institutions, cover product, technical, sales, business management, warehousing and logistics courses, as well as Sector Education and Training Authority-approved learnerships in line with the company’s black economic-empowerment objectives.
“Our technical representatives attend ongoing product training sessions and overseas suppliers also provide training locally. Customer training in product handling, fitment and maintenance is offered by our National Qualifications Framework-accredited trainers at the Bearings International head office or on site.
“A third success factor is to ensure that the market identifies Bearings International as more than just a bearings supplier.
“When we receive an enquiry for the supply of bearings, we take a holistic approach. We look beyond bearings and ask the right questions to offer a complete solution – electric motor, gearbox, coupling and seals,” says Coro.
He points out that the success of a solution is ultimately determined by strong technical support. “We offer 24-hour countrywide hotline service support and our regional technical representatives are on standby 24 hours a day.”
Coro concludes that, with larger and improved premises, a well-stocked warehouse, highly skilled personnel and service excellence, the Cape Town branch is well positioned to meet growing market demand in the Western Cape.
“Our world-class product quality offers customers reliability, longer service life and reduced maintenance for lower total over- all cost of ownership and improved productivity.”