Increased demand for Hytec South Africa support amid skills shortage challenge, says new GM

Hytec South Africa GM Freddie Kühn

Hytec South Africa GM Freddie Kühn

21st June 2023

By: Tracy Hancock

Creamer Media Contributing Editor


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Hydraulics specialist Hytec South Africa is helping its customers bridge the skills gap created by the decrease in availability of skilled individuals locally, with increased demand for the skills and knowledge offered by the company through its aftersales support, says new Hytec South Africa GM Freddie Kühn.

Appointed to the position in January this year, Kühn explains that while addressing its own skills challenges, Hytec South Africa is increasingly mobilising its skill set through the deployment of the company’s field service technicians and engineers to maintain and ensure optimal uptime of its customers’ plants.

“With this comes other opportunities, such as implementing modernisation projects to upgrade older systems and bring them in line with modern energy efficiency targets by embracing new technology that furthers the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Hytec South Africa has several projects under way where new technologies, such as its Smart Mine range of Artificial Intelligence of Things solutions, have been implemented to facilitate offsite remote monitoring of installed equipment. Solutions such as Smart Conveyor, Stop-Start Retrofit, Smart Inspection and Smart Lockout are being used to analyse captured data to provide customers with the insight needed to ensure informed decision-making to optimise mining operations.

“Many of our customers are progressing in this regard, particularly our mining customers which are looking for end-to-end solutions that embrace the latest technological advancements.”

Kühn aims to keep Hytec South Africa customer-focused and ensure that the company continues to offer its customers “exceptional service and value” and, ultimately, unique solutions driven by the adoption of new technology.

He also emphasises the importance of “taking our people along on this journey by investing in their skills development and making them feel like they have a sense of belonging” through embracing diversity to ensure that the company continues to be sustainable into the future, “long after I've fulfilled my role within the organisation”.

To address South Africa’s skills shortage, which Kühn says is now no big secret or surprise, Hytec South Africa has successfully developed and implemented an apprentice programme.

“Between three and five of 17 apprentices qualify every year. That speaks to the skills level that is required to be able to provide the technology and solutions that we offer our customers.

“Bosch Rexroth Africa also offers one years’ work experience to people that have not had exposure to a formal work environment through our Youth Employment Service (YES) Programme.”

This is the third year the group has offered its experiential learning programme, with 36 YES learners from previously disadvantaged groups graduating last year. Twenty-four learners were offered permanent or limited-duration contracts in positions across the group. Bosch Rexroth Africa will accommodate another 36 learners this year.

“This speaks to the effort we put into finding and developing talent. Hopefully, these learners will go on to contribute to society and to the working world to earn a living wage and support their families, as well as realise their own ideas and initiatives in life.”

An employee of Bosch Rexroth, Hytec South Africa’s parent company, for almost 27 years, Kühn has occupied various roles within the organisation which is of huge benefit to him in his current position.

From an internal salesperson to being appointed Hytec South Africa sales director in 2019, Kühn has “really got to know the business from an insight perspective” – the processes and day-to-day tasks, which may be perceived to be mundane experiences, he says.

“I really have an appreciation for some of the challenges dealt with when our staff, at all levels, undertake their duties.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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