From a cool-drink can to an oil tanker, before something is manufactured or fabricated, each component needs to be cut from raw material. However, the speed, accuracy, precision and reliability with which that cutting is done all has a profound impact on a manufacturer’s ultimate profitability.
This year First Cut, a leading South African manufacturer and distributor of a range of cutting consumables and distributor of capital equipment, is celebrating 60 years of supplying total cutting solutions to South African industry. The company's substantial product range serves the cutting requirements of the fabrication, manufacturing, renewable energy, automotive, steel, tube and pipe, maritime, timber, meat, textile and DIY sectors, among others.
From modest beginnings as a Cape Town ‘saw doctor’ in 1956, the company has grown into one which employs 240 people, with management based in Johannesburg, a manufacturing facility in Cape Town and branches in Durban and Port Elizabeth.
"While First Cut may be 60 years old, we still maintain a vigorous and innovative approach to business, while retaining the stringent principles and strategic decision-making which has set us so firmly on the path of success.
To this end, we are constantly developing new cutting solutions in our Cape Town facility; or sourcing technologically advanced capital equipment from the world's finest cutting and bending equipment manufacturers. We then find appropriate solutions in response to the demands of South African industry," says First Cut Managing Director Andrew Poole.
First Cut Chief Executive Officer Ian McCrystal agrees: "Integrity and pride in both our business practices and in the quality of the products we manufacture and supply have been the keys to our longevity. Coupled with the fact that we are ISO 9001:2008 certified is testament to our adherence to the highest standard of safety and quality standards."
In the consumables division, First Cut manufactures and supplies band-saw blades, circular saw blades, hacksaw blades and other cutting consumables to an extensive industry spectrum. "We have been at the ’cutting edge’ of blade technology since we manufactured our first metal-cutting band-saw blade in 1960," adds McCrystal.
Long-standing relationships with world-leading consumables principals such as Starrett, Eclipse and Wikus have capitalised on the synergies needed to develop these brands in South Africa.
More recently, the company took the strategic decision to diversify into the capital equipment sector. Today the capital equipment division supplies specialist machines for metal cutting, sheet metal processing, tube laser processing and structural fabrication. First Cut’s established relationships with leading global names in capital equipment such as Bystronic, BLM and Everising have allowed it to supply trail-blazing technology to South African industry.
Complementing First Cut's superb product range is a highly knowledgeable and experienced team, the majority of which have many years of service - and in some cases even decades - with the company. First Cut invests substantially in development and training, so that staff not only grow in their own careers, but are also empowered to provide customers with the best possible service.
"Our excellent track record of unfailing service and solutions - built up over the past 60 years - is largely as a result of the 'can do' attitude that is imbued in every staff member, ensuring they are aligned with and live our values on a daily basis. Our service ethos is to be a proactive, trustworthy partner in our unflagging search for solutions for our customers," says McCrystal.
"In a nutshell, First Cut is about so much more than ‘just the blade’ or the manufacture and supply of consumables and capital equipment. Rather, we see ourselves offering a total cutting solution and value offering, which is to the long-term benefit of South Africa's engineering industry and the country as a whole. We look forward to continuing this in the future - well beyond the next 60 years," concludes Poole.