January 2011 marked the opening of another two authorised SKF distributors, Eagle Construction Bloemfontein and Eagle Construction Welkom. “The excellent and untapped potential for the provision of SKF products and services into these two regions created a suitable opportunity for distributor appointment” explain Eagle Construction Directors, Thys Basson and Rein Oosthuizen. “Gold mines and smaller mills are our primary target markets within the Welkom area where SKF’s industrial product range, including conveyors, pumps, screws, compressors and other customer related equipment, are in demand. Bloemfontein is a very different story where food and beverage form the major businesses. This creates a whole new ball game for Eagle Construction to get a grip on.”
According to Basson and Oosthuizen, the criteria to which SKF distributors must adhere include building good working relationships with companies involved with the different segments supplied by SKF and commitment to the SKF brand. “Our preference is to sell only SKF products. Of equal importance is a dedication to quality, service and value added.”
Discussing present and future goals, Basson and Oosthuizen say, “Our main focus at this stage is to concentrate on the quality aspect of services and add-ons to achieve cost savings for our customers. Our long-term plan is to establish a rock-solid foundation for SKF in the Free State area and to become not only the preferred brand within the next two years but also the preferred partner.” “While our long term goals have been established, it is also vitally important to feature in the short term goals, which entail ensuring the reliable distribution of regular SKF products such as spherical rollers, deep groove ball bearings and lubricants. The introduction of product ranges to a broader spectrum, incorporating a service department as well as remanufacturing and remote conditioning centres, form part of Eagle Construction’s medium term goals.”
Discussing the objectives behind the distributor programme, SKF South Africa’s Managing Director, Barry Dailly, says that the establishment of Eagle Construction in Bloemfontein and Welkom is in line with the company’s strategic decision to restructure its South African branches and establish an authorised SKF distributor network. “SKF has over 100 years’ experience in bearing and rotating equipment technology, with a global vision to ‘Equip the world with SKF knowledge’. We aim to provide customers with added value across the board by delivering SKF’s core technologies - bearings and units, seals, lubrication systems, power transmission, mechatronics, and mechanical and reliability engineering services. However, because it is impossible for us to be everywhere, our authorised independent industrial distributors, who are an extension of our product and service delivery, give us the best route to market and enable us to place SKF appropriate resources and skills where they are required, in other words, equip our customers with SKF knowledge”.
Looking at it from the end user’s perspective, Basson and Oosthuizen says that it is very important to buy SKF products only from an authorised distributor. “All your warranties and local support rest on the shoulders of the distributor in the area, to eliminate the risk of counterfeit products and to provide customers with peace of mind that they are using only genuine SKF products,” concludes Basson and Oosthuizen.
Agreeing with Basson and Oosthuizen, Dailly says that the best way to safeguard product authenticity is to source SKF products through SKF authorised distributors. “As our distributors only stock and sell quality SKF branded products, our customers can buy with confidence from any authorised SKF distributor. Our distributor network enables us to supply the full SKF value offering to customers on time, every time, anywhere in the country. The synergy of product quality, service excellence, ethics and quality shared by SKF and Eagle Construction means that customers will benefit from the best that both companies have to offer. They can place their trust in SKF and the authorised distributor closest to them.”