As part of the company’s commitment to stay relevant through innovation, local stainless steel and aluminium cookware manufacturer Hendler & Hart is implementing a substantial two-year re-engineering process, based on the concept of continuous improvement, at its Boksburg manufacturing plant.
Hendler & Hart CEO Nash Soni says the aim is to increase productivity by 20% and create a more agile production process.
“We continue on a strong growth path, despite tough market conditions. We believe that this new venture will be beneficial not only to our company but also global cookware provider partner Groupe SEB, as well as to our trading partners,” he adds.
In October 2016, the company announced the conclusion of an agreement with Groupe SEB, for the sale and distribution of its Tefal and Krups brands.
The agreement with SEB will also allow Hendler & Hart to add a range of innovative new products to its current product offering, incorporating features such as resistant nonstick coatings and Tefal’s patented Thermo-Spot technology.
Groupe SEB ceased operations on December 15 last year, with the service and sale of the SEB brands and products continuing uninterruptedly by Hendler & Hart.
“Our new association with SEB stems from the fact that, to date, our primary target market has been the lower- to middle-income consumer base, but as this market undergoes rapid socioeconomic advancement, we’ve realised that there is a gap in our current offering for a premium range of products that will better serve the burgeoning middle- to upper-income consumer base in South Africa,” Soni enthuses.
Hendler & Hart – which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year – locally manufactures a broad range of aluminium and stainless steel products that are synonymous with its core brands: Hart, Aloe, CaterPride, Impala and Pointerware.
“Local manufacturing contributes to the redevelopment of the South African skills set, as well as easing the process for any repairs or exchanges where necessary,” says Soni, who notes that he is dedicated to skills development in the country.
He adds that Hendler & Hart uses only pure stainless steel and aluminium, which is also bought locally and supplied with a quality guarantee.
Stainless steel pots are manufactured using Grade 304 to ensure strength, durability, corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal.
Imports can be cheaper, Soni notes, but ultimately, the threat from global markets is transitory.
“Cheap imports are predominantly made from an inferior-quality material, generally a Grade of 200 series steel, and South African products are significantly superior.”
He explains that imports are often in one-off container shipments without distribution infrastructure. About 70% of these imports easily sell at a good margin, but then importers end up holding the rest of the stock.
“The world is becoming unrealistic with the costs of labour, which eventuates into cost-level parity. The next generation of employees, owing to the aspirations set for them by their predecessors and themselves, will be embarking on more skilled labour practices to sustain future inflationary times.”
Based on this philosophy, Soni does not believe that local manufacturing is under threat, especially if there are other risk-taking entrepreneurs out there.
“We buy only local. It ensures that we have full control over our product. We promise quality and, therefore, need to ensure that all our material is the best,” he points out.
Hendler & Hart’s distribution network includes Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.