Komatsu Africa Holdings, the Southern African division of global capital equipment player Komatsu, has opened a new industrial hub, built to the tune of R985-million, in Germiston, Johannesburg.
The campus was officially unveiled on Thursday, at a ceremony attended by local and international Komatsu stakeholders, and Japanese and South African government entities.
The 300 000 m2 development is one of the largest industrial campuses in the country and will serve as the central hub from which the company will manage its widespread operational footprint across South and Southern Africa.
The venture brings together multiple previously geographically dispersed operations in a single complex that has been designed to streamline existing operations and enable the business to capitalise on future market resurgence opportunities.
The campus comprises the company’s head office operations, Gauteng branch and training centre, equipment workshop and parts distribution centre.
Construction on a technically advanced component remanufacturing facility will begin in 2019 and is set for completion in 2020. The company expects to break ground as early as April next year, Komatsu Africa Holdings MD Mike Blom said during a press briefing.
The facility will allow Komatsu to support the expansion of the local economy through streamlined supply of equipment to the mining, construction and utilities markets, noted Blom.
The parts distributions centre (PDC) is 21 000 m2 in size and 23% larger than the previous facility.
It comprises inventory of around 40 000 line items valued at R885-million.
The PDC distributes around 12 000 pieces to more than 40 destinations every day.
It boasts semi-automated turret trucks, enabling safe, accurate access to the highest racking areas.
Stock processing is undertaken using Komatsu Warehouse Management System and SAP interface.
For the training centre, the learning hub features a technical, health and safety, and operator training dojo focused on meeting employee and customer skills requirements.
The centre features virtual reality technologies with realistic machine controls for simulated operator training and testing.
Over the past five years, more than 130 apprentices have participated in the Komatsu apprenticeship programme.
The centre currently offers 36 courses and has provided training for more than 2 300 people over the past three years.
Speaking at the unveiling, Blom expressed his pleasure at the project and substantial investment coming to fruition.
The opening comes as Komatsu prepares to mark its centenary year in 2021.
Further, Blom noted that the investment was approved at a time when the business experienced a downturn, which he enthused speaks to the confidence Komatsu has in the region and in its business.
“Africa, and South Africa in particular, have become an integral part of our global business,” said Komatsu CEO and president Tetsuji Ohashi.
He added that the country is not only the company’s biggest market on the continent but the base from which operations in nine separate countries across the region are driven.
Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies, who also attended the unveiling, expressed his appreciation for an internationally recognised and successful group investing in South Africa and supporting its development, an indication of its confidence in the country.