Valve and steel supplier Stewarts and Lloyds (S&L) hopes to extend its market share in the municipal and civil engineering sectors, as it expects the drive by government to effectively manage and optimise the water resources sector to result in several supply opportunities for local manufacturers and suppliers.
As such, the company notes that one of its biggest growth opportunities lies in supplying its SALVALVE range of RSV flanged and socketed gate valves. These products were certified in July by accreditation and testing company South African Technical Auditing Services, which verified that the products complied with SANS 664. This standard specifies the requirements for the design, construction and performance of flanged, spigot and socket-ended resilient seal valves used in waterworks.
S&L states that the number of infrastructure projects where civil engineering or municipal entities require such valves is significant.
“We intend to approach the various water boards and authorities, as well as municipalities, to get our SALVALVE brand of valves approved and accepted. Further, it is expected that we will now start tendering for civil contracts . . . we have already engaged with our civil contracting customers,” the company notes.
As a trading company, S&L has several trade partners that manufacture products on its behalf, enabling it to offer a cost-competitive SALVALVE range.
The company has systematically expanded the scope of its valves range over the past two years and its SALVALVE brand now includes several butterfly, gate, ball and resilient seal valves, which are strictly manufactured to local and international standards, including South African and European standards.
Moreover, S&L notes that while the Department of Trade and Industry’s manufacturing support and preferential procurement initiatives have been able to increase capacity for local valve supply, one of the main challenges has been to ensure that suppliers and manufacturers in industry remain competitive. The company notes that a primary challenge for local valve manufacturers is to ensure that they have sufficient economies of scale to remain globally competitive. At present, the challenge has not been sufficiently addressed.
The company notes that the wholesale and reseller markets currently account for a large percentage of S&L’s valve sales, driven largely by companies within these markets having established working relationships with existing customers in the end-user market space. “One must remember that S&L’s valve-focused branch has been operational only over the past two years and, as such, the company relishes any opportunity to increase its customer base in the civil, mining and end-user industrial markets.”
S&L also prides itself on providing education opportunities for staff. Owing to the nature of the products that its sells – many of which are technical in nature – the company continually upskills personnel. Consequently, it has an in-house training academy, where selected employees are identified for training to ensure that S&L provides customers with the correct products for their respective applications.