The document solutions provider is a key importer of Konica Minolta copiers, printers, faxes and multifunctional products, which are distributed in Southern Africa under the Itec umbrella.
The automation distributor bought the rights for Konica six years ago, and has been distributing Konica Minolta products for the last eight months, since the two Japanese companies merged.
Sandton-based Itec has thus established its presence in African countries on behalf of its overseas principals.
In total, the SADC outlets contribute R50-million to Itec’s R700-million turnover.
Even though most of Itec’s revenue is derived locally, the company’s footprint extends into several African countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland and Reunion island.
One of the reasons for the company’s presence in these African countries is that it has to service its existing client base, which has been created by customers such as DHL.
“With our South African customers already having a presence in these countries, Itec is expected to provide a full range of services,” he adds.
Moreover, Duyver believes that South African businesses have an inherent responsibility for developing the African continent.
“We are committed to servicing and establishing resources for our African neighbours, despite the fact that they are small contributors to our total turnover,” says Duyver.
On a global front, it is essential to be aware that countries’ economic climates do change.
Therefore, it is important to establish a market when anticipating change, explains Duyver.
Currently, the company is only responsible for some SADC countries and these agencies were awarded to the distributor by its Japanese principals.
There have, however, been some discussions regarding Itec’s responsibility for Central and East African countries, such as Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.
At this stage, Japan is responsible for business in these countries.
In terms of feasibility and viability, it makes sense for Itec to distribute Konica Minolta products into the rest of Africa, especially since Japan can only distri-bute bulk packages, notes Duyver.
Hence he is confident that Japan will eventually award these rights to the South African firm.
The company’s most successful African outlet is in Botswana and, co-incidentally, this country also happens to be one of SADC’s most economically stable countries.
Duyver attributes its success to its employees.
There are two Botswanan outlets, which employ some 30 people, and they contribute R30-million a year to the company’s total earnings.
Ironically, Zimbabwe was the most successful outlet four years ago; however, this outlet is now struggling to survive, as citizens are unable to obtain foreign currency.
The Zimbabwean outlet had a turnover of R800 000 a month, and now it turns only R50 000 a month.
This is quite interesting considering the average price of a copier is R50 000.
Ultimately, all the company is doing in Zimbabwe is providing a service, notes Duyver. By employing locals the branches have a better chance of success, as the people have an understanding of the respective country’s working environment.
For example, in Botswana, depending on the area in which the equipment is to be serviced, servicing is only done on certain days of the week, highlights Duyver.
“Only the local people have the knowledge of the unique circumstan-ces in their countries and hence they are most equipped to deal with indigenous challenges,” he continues.
No matter which country, the biggest challenge for the company is finding the right people.
Duyver tells Engineering News that the recent merger has substantially benefited the company, as the firm now has the support of a much larger organis-ation with a larger product range.
Moreover, Konica and Minolta are two of the most well-known brands in the world.
With the launch of the distributor’s new brand, which has been developed in the last six months, the company has also decided to make its range more comprehensive by introducing new products to its current range.
Itec hopes to increase its current market share of 10% by becoming the third-largest player in the market.