Caption: HIGHMAST LIGHTING Beka Schrèder completed a highmast lighting project on the N3 national route connecting Johannesburg and Durban
Leading lighting solutions company Beka Schréder is succeeding in adapting to rapidly changing lighting technology, in its manufacturing process, while maintaining focus on cost benefits for consumers.
Beka Schréder product development manager Daniel Kasper says the company prioritises cost benefits for consumers through energy efficiency. “If you change something to be energy efficient, it should also give some sort of cost benefit. If consumers get no monetary value out of being energy efficient, then it is not sustainable.”
He adds that, for example, the benefit of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is its increased reliability, significantly reducing maintenance costs. The quality of light is also better with LEDs, with better colour rendering and perception than conventional lighting.
“The rapid move towards new technologies, moving away from conventional lighting technologies towards LED requires a very different way of manufacturing. “Companies that are not able to handle the technology changes in the industry simply end up importing products, opting out of local manufacturing and innovation,” he points out.
On the other hand, Beka Schréder marketing manager Sibusiso Skosana notes that many companies are suddenly appearing in the industry, which is good for growth but, as a result, the professionalism of the lighting industry has suffered.
“The change in technology requires large investment if a company wants to occupy space in the industry, which is something that companies are struggling with. “Therefore, there is a need to upskill engineers and artisans, which requires time, investment and an appetite to take risks.”
According to Skosana, most companies prefer employing someone else to manufacture a product and simply import it. “If the company wants to have sustainable growth, it will generate money to localise a few components of their product, thus, creating a parallel manufacturing industry to supplement the lighting industry.”
For instance, he mentions that most electronics used in Beka Schréder products are imported from and manufactured in Asia. This is as a result of the expertise of the electronics manufacturing industry in Asia.
Kasper explains that electronics are the most expensive components in lighting manufacturing, but owing to increased globalisation, the emphasis on local manufacturing does not necessarily have to extend to electronics as well.
“South Africa is not independent from other countries, and, although it is not as cost-efficient to import a component, the Asian electronics manufacturing industry is renowned for this sector of manufacturing, and has a significantly larger supply of qualified engineers,” he points out.
Currently, the main objective of all sectors in the manufacturing industry should be to “keep industries alive in South Africa – that’s step number one”, notes Skosana. Beka Schréder is aiming to constantly increase local manufacturing components and processes, with great success.
Kasper mentions that the lighting manufacturing industry is not isolated from the rest of the South African economy in that it too is struggling. Beka Schréder is, however, thriving in a tough economic climate, by “keeping up with the trends, which is applied throughout the organisation – an essential aspect for the success of any business in this industry”.