As a local supplier of premium brands – including those of measuring tool supplier Stabila, power tool manufacturer Milwaukee and construction fastening and fixing supplier fischer – leading distributor Upat South Africa offers a complete solution to clients in construction and associated trades.
Upat South Africa MD Richard Kuhlmann tells Engineering News that choosing German suppliers was an obvious choice. He explains that Upat South Africa’s partnership started with Upat Germany in 1981. However, in 1992, fischer bought Upat Germany and started with the integration of the fischer and Upat product ranges, which was realised in 2003. Since then, Upat South Africa has been supplying the fischer range of products.
As the need for tool manufacturers and fasteners grew in the South African market, Upat South Africa started forming, in addition to fischer, more partnerships with Germany-based companies such as Stabila, Eibenstock and construction industry cleaning equipment suppliers STARMIX.
These German suppliers invest a significant amount of time and expense in research and development (R&D) to ensure the quality of their products, says Kuhlmann. Continuous R&D enables companies to enhance existing products and develop new product lines.
“Because we want to offer our clients the latest products and technology available, we are continuously launching new models and replacing older versions.”
This is one of the challenges Upat South Africa faces: “Trying to keep up with our German suppliers and their speed of innovation,” notes Kuhlmann, adding that although frequently stocking new products could be a costly process for the company, it is an advantage for the end-user.
Although the cost of German-imported products is significantly higher compared with that of local competitors, the quality and capability of these products are superior, he adds.
“If you have an anchor bolt and it needs to carry 1 t of weight and you are comparing it to a product that is 20% cheaper but has a carrying capacity of only 60% of our product, then clearly our product is still less expensive if you take into account the cost per tonne.”