Rebuff MD Bruce Sutherland says that the development of the stainless steel industry is in his company’s interests and, as the awards have been achieving this so successfully over the years, he is delighted to be part of them again.
“The awards are undoubtedly the highlight of the stainless steel calendar and Rebuff’s participation in them has been a valuable promotional exercise for the company,” says Sutherland. Sutherland adds that, since its investment two years ago of more than a million rands in general upgrades and automation at its factories in Polokwane and Isando, which included a new line for its non-woven abrasive products, Rebuff has been able to respond to the demands of a burgeoning market both here and abroad.
“Our business has grown substantially in the local market and we are obviously pleased about that, but especially gratifying is our export growth,” he says.
Rebuff has not only been success- ful in exporting its product to Europe, Australia and the East, but also to North America, where it recently became the preferred supplier of finishing material to Harley Davidson – whose stainless-steel finishes are world renowned. In addition, it has managed to export its knowledge and expertise to these countries, where it has developed an excellent reputation.
Earlier this year, Rebuff was appointed quality consultant to one of China’s largest stainless-steel cutlery manufacturers on the back of the company’s successes in Indonesia and Malaysia where, according to Cam Wong, MD of the Malaysian company, there is substantial demand for the Rebuff product.
“We have been importing similar products from Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Germany and, while the Japanese and German products are excellent, the Rebuff products not only match this quality but the quality of the company’s service is superior. “Although the Rebuff product is slightly more expensive than similar products from the East, there is no comparison in performance,” he says.
Sutherland says that the long-term view of business in the East is something South African companies can learn from. “Most of the companies with whom I have dealt in the East look at the cost of the entire cycle rather than the cost of any particular item within the cycle.
“They are aware that, even though our buffs may be slightly more expensive, they last much longer, saving significantly in the long run. Further, they take into account the cost benefits of the increased quality they attain through using our technically advanced products,” says Sutherland.
Campbell says the stainless steel awards have been designed to promote excellence by stimulating creativity, competitiveness and productivity. They showcase innovation and entrepreneurial development, as well as increasing stainless steel awareness and usage in the local industry, and boosting South Africa’s image in the international arena.
“Entries are judged according to their excellence, quality, innovation, ingenuity or creativity, productivity and competitiveness, empowerment and job-creation potential, business and environmental sustainability and initiative,” he says. Rebuff’s cosponsors are Afrox, the Fischer group SA, Stalcor, NDE, Macsteel VRN, Nickel Institute, Bosal, Columbus Stainless, 3M South Africa, Rimex Metals SA, Franke Kitchen Systems, Steloy Castings, Eurosteel, Fabrinox, NDE and Gutco. The 2006 Stainless Steel Awards will be held in October at the Theatre on the Track, in Kyalami, Johannesburg, and, simultaneously, at the Bay Hotel, Camps Bay in Cape Town, with the two venues linked through satellite.