Company invests in S African market, targets African expansion

22nd April 2016 By: Malusi Mkhize - journalist

Global pneumatics technologies manufacturer SMC Pneumatics is investing heavily in the local market as it targets further expansion in Africa, following the establishment of its new facility in South Africa in the first quarter of last year.

SMC Pneumatics is ensuring that its production lines are equipped with the latest technology to suit local manufacturing. The official opening of the facility will take place later this month, with local production of selected items earmarked for July.

SMC Pneumatics South Africa (SA) GM Adrian Buddingh explains that the decision to establish a facility in South Africa stems from SMC Pneumatics’ head office, in Japan, having invested in getting the local operation up and running.

“They believe that the local market offers great potential and further opportunity for growth,” he says, adding that SMC’s conducting business in South Africa is a long-term investment, with the company focusing on its local base, while recruiting and training the right people as a short-term goal to achieve long-term growth.

To ensure the production of quality products, SMC Pneumatics SA has imported machinery that is being incorporated and specified at its overseas branches as part of its local base.

“As an international company, we felt the market was ready for a new player. Our relationships with people in Africa have stood us in good stead,” Buddingh says.

Owing to its local presence, the company’s customers are benefiting from stockholding and service, he tells Engineering News.

He notes that the company is targeting new customers to offer products that can match and better those that are currently available.

Meanwhile, SMC Pneumatics SA reports to the group’s UK offices, owing to the time zone and language barrier, Buddingh highlights.

Further, SMC Pneumatics UK production manager Peter Austin has been working with with the local facility to ensure that it operates according to international standards.

“Austin offers a wealth of experience as a long-time SMC employee and is currently setting up a team to ensure the successful and efficient running of production. We have reaped the benefit of the UK’s expertise and have a very close working relationship with them,” Buddingh highlights.

SMC Pneumatic SA will expand its business and market share through the delivery of quality products at reasonable pricing in 2016.

Buddingh tells Engineering News that, as part of its five-year plan, the company aims to expand production to such an extent that a bigger facility will be required.

SMC Pneumatics SA works closely with customers to provide products that are customised for specific applications. The company notes that it can execute small modifications to research and development with the assistance of its international research team.

“Small modifications can be done locally, with the flexibility and turnaround time to have great appeal for customers,” Buddingh concludes.