By: sue charlton
5th September 2008
Originally, Quali Prod focused on the importation of small-sized front-end loaders from the Far East, with a capacity of up to 2-t which proved immensely successful in the South African market owing to their price, simple design and suitability for South African conditions. These small front-end loaders are extremely popular in the mining, farming, civil construction and small supply sectors. The product offerings from the company are focused on industrial equipment and machinery.
Speaking to Engineering News, Quali Prod MD Johan Grobler says, “Originally the vision for the company was to create a quality brand of imported products supported with quality local parts, components and back-up service. We saw this as a niche market opportunity for the company. In the farming community in particular, tractors were having ‘loader accessories’ attached to a tractor frame, which was not originally designed to carry or support such an accessory, therefore, the scope for small front-end-loaders in the farming sector was immense, and our loaders were extremely well priced to the degree that there was no competition to our loader offering in this sector.”
Grobler continues, “We only supply products manufactured for us, to our specifications and standards, and by approved manufacturers. It is important that our focus of superior design, with constant quality control backed up by total commitment to our policy is adhered to by our suppliers, as we believe it is this philosophy which ensures us of a high level of customer satisfaction.
“Crucial to our success was the establishment of a superior distribution network. We have achieved that first milestone. As a result, in 2007 we sourced bigger front-end loaders as well as forklifts, as we saw a change in market conditions and our forward thinking and business planning has shown dividends in terms of Quali Prod’s incredible growth in a relatively short period of time,” Grobler says.
Through regular visits to its Chinese suppliers, Quali Prod has ensured that the products and equipment it imports are of the highest standard and quality. In this regard, Quali Prod actively participates in the training of its Chinese suppliers, for example, in Quality Awareness Programmes, Standard Maintenance and Predelivery Inspection Programmes to name a few. All Quali Prod equipment and components comply with the South African Bureau of Standards inspection criteria. The company has been approved as a registered supplier of front-end loaders and supplies with Wesbank and Standard Bank, however, all of Quali Prod’s equipment is easily financed by all of the financial houses.
The imported equipment is rebranded in the Quali Prod branding and meets international quality and technical specifications.
Upon deciding the best distribution avenues for its products and equipment, Quali Prod chose ‘dealerships’ as the most viable, visible and service-focused route to embark upon.
Currently, the company has 17 dealerships throughout South Africa, and will have expanded to some 40 dealerships by the end of 2008. It is the company’s intention to have a dealership in every major centre in Africa.
Quali Prod’s objective is to ensure that the Quali Prod branding, name and reputation is known and visible not only country wide, but throughout Africa in due course.
A policy Quali Prod seeks through its dealership network is that the dealer must have existing and established workshops and repair facilities; Quali Prod branding must be visible with adequate showroom space.
Additional dealership criteria encompasses:
- Dealership needs to purchase some of the machines in the range which will act as demonstration machines for potential clients
- Dealership is expected to purchase an estimated R550 000 worth of equipment on initial stocking of machinery
- Dealership will sign a legally binding dealership agreement with Quali Prod
“We continue to expand our product ranges and machinery as the opportunities present themselves; we have great confidence in the growth of this sector in the short- to medium-term. It is a company policy to not sell any piece or range of equipment or machinery without supplying spares and back-up service. In fact, we have discontinued two ranges for this very reason.
“Potential dealerships are welcome to contact us directly to discuss the opportunities we have identified, or visit our website at www.qualiprod.co.za,” says Aucamp.
Quali Prod currently has dealerships in Calitzdorp, De Rust, Oudtshoorn, Ladysmith, Prince Albert, Witbank, Secunda, Louis Trichardt, Bethal, Standerton, Ermelo, Potchefstroom, Thabazimbi, Brits, Middelburg, George, and Bothaville and is currently in negotiations to have a presence in other major centres.
The range of loaders are suitable for the mining, farming, civil construction, forestry and industrial sectors with the fork-lift trucks being suitable for use in the freight and warehousing sectors as well as for transportation within the stores and factory materials handling arena.
Quali Prod is currently expanding its presence in the South African markets, after which it will then focus on the further development of its export potential. The company already exports to Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique but believes there is opportunity in the rest of Africa that has yet to be tapped in to.
Grobler says, “Quali Prod’s success is attributable to the company’s appropriate expansion policies as well as our very professional back-up service. In the current economic climate we are fortunate to be able to hold our own successfully, unlike other industrial sectors which are feeling the pinch. Operating in a diverse range of industries has proved the right road to travel and I anticipate further growth in the South African and the African markets for some time. We view ourselves as a supplier to Africa long term.”
A ferrochrome mining and smelting business based in sub-Saharan Africa testifies to the quality and success of the Quali Prod. The company purchased two front-end loaders earlier in 2008, which have been in operation in a 24 h/d shift system. The environment in which the front–end loaders were working was harsh and extreme as ferrochrome ores, alloy and slag are heavy, hard and highly abrasive and the loaders performed very well. Quali Prod provided operator and maintenance training as well as the initial servicing and spares back-up. Based on the performance of the loaders and the service from Quali Prod, the company intends to acquire additional units, and states that these machines have changed the materials handling landscape at its company dramatically.
The company will be undertaking local manufacture of front end-loader assemblies and subassemblies within the next year and this will have a positive impact on its competitive pricing structure, as well as its delivery turnaround time.
To have an efficiently run local manufacturing facility, Quali Prod is currently seeking to expand its premises in order to house the technology and machinery required for a streamlined local manufacture operation.
Since 2005 and through constant communications with its suppliers, the company has built a positive and strong relationship with its Chinese manufacturers. The South African and African conditions for some of the earthmoving equipment are unique to this continent and therefore standards and specifications were initially unfamiliar to the manufacturer. Since Quali Prod has visited China regularly, a greater understanding of the company’s stringent requirements have been taken on-board, resulting in a superior imported product. Quali Prod believes that only through relationship building and knowledge transfer can the company be assured of receiving equipment of precise quality.
The company believes that the local mindset towards imports from the Far East is changing rapidly as more buyers realise that a more competitively priced piece of equipment, machinery or accessory does not mean substandard quality and performance – something Quali Prod has proved time and time again.
Grobler says, “Some importers of industrial machinery find the going difficult in terms of maintaining quality and performance standards, Quali Prod is fortunate in that it has now set the bar with its overseas suppliers, and we will not accept one piece of machinery that fails this Quali Prod test.”
The Quali Prod Promise
Quali Prod is committed to the supply of quality products and services without compromise. This philosophy is entrenched within the company’s management and support staff. All Quali Prod staff are trained to deliver upon this promise of excellence to the customer and they strive to deliver the highest possible level of sales service and customer care. This policy is entrenched throughout its dealership network.
Quali Prod is active in supporting the local primary school Under 6’s school rugby team known as the Qualiprod Buffel Bulletjies where they supplied the kit and equipment for the team. Aucamp is also active in the training of the team.
Quali Prod believes it has the right managerial approach and a highly positive team to continue the successful growth of the company over the next five to ten years. It has sourced good, affordable and reliable machinery and equipment and will continue to do so in order to offer its customer base the best available product at competitive prices. The company continues with skills development programmes so that staff can offer a quick, efficient and professional back-up service.
With new premises on the horizon to start manufacturing assemblies locally, and with business plans having been reached more quickly than anticipated, Quali Prod believes it will see continued growth in the various sectors that it serves. Grobler says that while Quali Prod may be the ‘new kid on the block’ it has proved itself to be more than a minor player and with the company’s expanding dealership structures and outreach into the rest of Africa, he believes the company is already a force to be reckoned with. “We do not wish to overpower our competitors as we believe competition is healthy and there is room for us all. But I do believe we are the key player and the leading supplier and we will continue to show our strengths and successes because we believe in Quali Prod, its past achievements, its amazing unexpected growth and we believe that our vision for the future is focused, targeted and crystal clear.”
Edited by: Esmarie Swanepoel