With a strong focus on supply chain efficiencies, industrial and speciality gas products supplier – and Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) member – Air Products South Africa has built up strong relationships with its distributors, creating partnerships that are mutually beneficial and which are in support of the gas industry as a whole. One such case is Air Product’s partnership with gas and welding distributor Cosmo Industrial, based in Silverton, Pretoria.
“Cosmo has demonstrated a refreshingly energetic and ‘can do’ approach to business, enthusiastically embracing opportunities in the years that we have been associated with them. The result has been a highly successful extension of Air Products’ product base, value system and footprint, and a synergistic partnership that can only go from strength to strength,” says Air Products South Africa distributor business manager Jorg Scholz.
Cosmo Industrial is a gas and gas-related products and equipment supplier to a wide customer base in the engineering, petrochemicals, pipeline, mining, rail and heavy manufacturing industries. The company has grown into a thriving business and Cosmo distributes a range of welding gases through Air Products’ customer-orientated supply modes, from cylinders to maxi-tanks and the CryoEase offering for large-volume requirements.
“Customers perceive Cosmo to be a reliable one-stop shop with regard to their gas and gas equipment requirements, based on Cosmo’s expertise, efficient and fast service and a quality product base,” says Scholz. He adds that the litmus test of a good distributor in the industrial gas industry is one that invests not only in its business and in that of its supplier – as Cosmo has done over the years with its vehicle fleet, staff and safety training and compliance – but also in its asset control and management over a long time.
Air Products’ monthly monitoring of Cosmo’s CryoEase customers’ gas use through its telemetry systems also enables an accurate forecasting of future needs, which further enhances customer service levels.
“Our shared approach to finding solutions, especially through some difficult economic times in the past, has strengthened our relationship with Air Products,” says Cosmo Industrial MD Pierre van Nieuwenhuizen. “We have found that Air Products has always been ready to listen to us and to take our ideas and requests seriously. Importantly, we also share the same values when it comes to training and ‘giving back’ to industry,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Cosmo Industrial unveiled its plans in 2014 for an in-house training academy, as part of its twentieth anniversary celebrations. This initiative will be undertaken with the support of various role-players in the industry, as well as Air Products. A long-time corporate member of the SAIW and sponsor of the yearly Young Welder of the Year competition, Air Products welcomes opportunities to support and empower youth, particularly when it comes to industrial skills shortages.
“The field of welding, which is critical to so many industrial and manufacturing processes, requires a focus on ongoing training initiatives to ensure that we grow an increasingly skilled workforce.
“We feel it is incumbent on Air Products to give back to the industry by assisting and upskilling young welders, thereby ensuring the future sustainability of both the welding and the gas industries in this country.”
Once it is operational, the Cosmo welding academy will offer both training and training facilities in basic welding techniques, as well as apprenticeships that are beneficial to companies wishing to meet their own training and skills development requirements.
Air Products is sponsoring the full installation required to supply its various welding and cutting gases to the welding bays, which will be used for practical training. Further, Air Products has incorporated its CryoEase mode of supply for this installation, which not only acts as a source of supply to the school but as a demonstration unit for future CryoEase prospects.
“Training will be done using a range of Air Products’ gases, including argon, oxygen and acetylene, as well as various welding mixtures, such as Coogar 84 and Magmix 3. Sponsoring the academy not only affords us the opportunity to showcase our products and capabilities in the welding industry, but also serves to strengthen our relationship with Cosmo through investing in critical skills development,” he concludes.
About Air Products South Africa
Air Products South Africa manufactures, supplies and distributes a diverse portfolio of atmospheric gases, speciality gases, performance materials, equipment and services to the Southern African region.
Air Products touches the lives of consumers in positive ways every day and serves customers across a range of industries, from food and beverage to mining and petrochemicals, primary metal and steel manufacturers, chemical applications, welding and cutting applications and laboratory applications.
Founded in 1969, Air Products South Africa has built a reputation for its modern culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety, quality and the environment. In addition, the company aims to continue its growth and market leadership position in the Southern African region.