The market for ware washing systems is bigger in Germany and in Europe, but South Africa’s small, yet growing, market potential is prompting many companies to expand in it, says German ware washing systems manufacturer Winterhalter. The company started investing in South Africa in 2008.
“We chose to invest in South Africa, as it is regarded as the gateway into Africa, but the country is also an important market in its own right,” says Winterhalter development manager Brandon Park.
The Winterhalter brand name is well known in Europe. “Being a family-owned business, Winterhalter relies on upholding high levels of customer service, which is impossible without direct involvement in a market,” he says. However, Winterhalter does not consider South Africa as an easy market to penetrate.
“Getting our potential customers to understand the benefit of using a dishwasher instead of washing by hand in a price-conscious market is difficult. “ It becomes even more difficult when one considers that the price of labour in South Africa is relatively low, compared with labour in Germany,” says Park.
The company says South Africa is also a geographically large country, making backup services and repairs a challenge. Meanwhile, Winterhalter is proud to have exposed the South African market to the latest European technologies. “We are also excited to work hand in hand with local distributors to change the perceptions and understanding of ware washing,” says Park. South Africa vs Germany Winterhalter boasts that Germany is globally recognised for producing high-end products and the country was, until recently, the leaders in exporting these high-end goods to the rest of the world.
“There are no local manufac- turers of ware washing equipment currently in South Africa and, while it would be possible to manufacture it locally, this would require a huge investment,” says Park, adding that the company is open to considering interested investors and potential partnerships. Winterhalter was established in 1947 and has refined the manufacturing process to its highest standards, with large research and development budgets and high levels of quality control.
The company says that, despite being price conscious, the South African market does have an appreciation for well-engineered, high-quality products. “It is also important to note that South Africa has had to deal with a crisis in its utilities markets over the past few years, with substantial price increases,” says Park.
South Africa, like many other countries, is taking heed of the importance of going green, which is often highlighted by governments, large organisations and the media. Park adds that Winterhalter has been manufacturing energy efficiency systems for many years, and intelligent resource management has always been a priority for the company.
Meanwhile, the company says it has a positive relationship with South Africa. “The relationship between South Africa and Germany has always been strong, and Winterhalter is pleased to be a part of the diverse South African market,” says Park.
The company hopes to continue bringing a high level of professionalism to the South African commercial ware washing industry.
About Winterhalter Winterhalter South Africa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Winterhalter Germany. Winter-halter currently has more than 36 subsidiaries worldwide.