Local bearings distributor Bearings International (BI) has experienced rapid growth in the food production industry.
The company says food production security is important, especially given how harsh and dynamic an environment the South African agricultural industry operates in at present. Therefore, the company has appointed an industry specialist to look after this market.
“We believe that, with additional focus, we can add further value. With this in mind, we will continue with development here in order for us to be able to meet the specific needs of this market sector,” comments BI business unit head Ross Trevelyan.
The company has aligned itself with global suppliers with all the products it offers underscoring its promise of having the right product at the right price for every application in the agriculture industry.
“We do not compromise on quality, in recognition of the fact that downtime, owing to component failure, is costly,” Trevelyan explains.
He points out that some of the leading brands supplied by BI in South Africa are KML, FAG, Koyo bearings, Opti and Continental V-belts, Bauer electric motors, Motodrive worm gearboxes, TR inline gearboxes, Dodge gearboxes, ABES seals in various sizes, Rocol specialised lubricants, and Kobo chains.
BI-branded products include power takeoff shafts and chain. He explains that a range of special sprockets and pulleys is also available, in addition to Citronol hand cleaners and degreasers, and Loctite adhesives and sealants. Tool ranges on offer include Jonnesway hand tools and Makita power tools.
Trevelyan highlights that BI has a good relationship with the farming community, largely through industry initiatives such as its long-standing association with grain farmers association Grain SA’s Nampo Harvest Day in Bothaville, in the Free State.
“BI is proud to be a part of Nampo and will continue to do so. Nampo gives us a unique opportunity to interact with our customers, original-equipment manufacturers and end-users from all over South Africa to share technical insight and to showcase our specific products for this market sector,” he says.
An important aspect of BI’s product offering is having the necessary stock on hand at all times. He explains that the company is being proactive in planning to get the correct stock, at the correct place, at the correct time, and at the right price in order to service customers.
Trevelyan stresses that BI’s underlying philosophy is based on “being there and making it work”.
“Agricultural customers are always under huge time pressure, owing to the seasonal constraints of the industry. “We believe our customers need a service provider that will not only have the right spares available whenever necessary, but which can also assist with any technical aspects of our products,” he states.
He points out that another critical element is ongoing research and development into the company’s customers’ diverse needs and requirements. BI has improved the sealing design of its hub bearings by means of zinc plating for corrosion protection, which extends the required service life. A new hub unit has also been designed specifically for furrow openers on planters, which is expected on the market shortly.
BI is also working with its suppliers to develop new products to help combat common industry problems, Trevelyan notes.
Not only does BI satisfy market needs and keep abreast of industry trends, it also provides ongoing training for personnel. “We strive to have close relationships with our customers in order to better understand their needs and challenges. These relationships have been cemented by our annual involvement with representative events organisations such as Grain SA and the South African Sugar Technologists’ Association,” he highlights.
Further, he points out that BI showcases its extensive product portfolio at farmers’ unions, which also provide an invaluable opportunity for networking with customers and providing technical advice and assistance where needed. It also has a strong regional presence, supplying its products and services as far afield as Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia, among others.
“Planning in this market is a challenge, but we monitor and update our planning continuously to remain proactive. We are putting huge resources and effort into this sector as we strive to be the preferred supplier to the farming community,” Trevelyan concludes.