The company is in the process of buying a leading manufacturer of kitchenware in the Comesa trade bloc and is currently conducting a due-diligence.
“We export to 15 African countries and to Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Poland, Thailand and Turkey,” advises MD Gerhard Kotzee.
Franke South Africa exports some 15% of its pro- ducts, with the rest being absorbed by the local market.
Kotzee says that of all the Franke companies, South Africa has the highest domestic market share.
In addition, the company will be launching a new product range sourced from its Italian factory.
“This new range will include stainless-steel ovens, gas hobs and extractor hoods.” “In conjunction, the Franke Group is in the process of taking a 49% share in one of the largest extractor- hood manufacturers in the world,” he reports.
The new kitchen system approach will enable the entire kitchen’s design and style to be coordinated.
Further, Kotzee reveals that the company will have a new appliance launch later this year.
“Research has shown that for only 30% of the time is the sink used for washing up.” “Because it is a wet area, people tend to use the sink for food pre-paration.” Thus, the new appliance range, called Active Kitchen, will take food preparation to the next level enabling people to use less space more effectively.
“This range was developed by our German operation to enable people to have higher productivity when preparing food,” Kotzee maintains.
Without revealing too much, he says that the sink will take space on the horizontal level, with a stainless-steel system on the vertical level which has a channel where all the appliances hook in.
Franke South Africa also recently increased its capacity by installing a second multiple-point deep drawing press, which enables the company to press two bowls from one sheet of stainless steel.
“With the new technology we have the capacity to produce in excess of 450 000 kitchen sinks a year, and we are currently running at 75% capacity,” he tells Engineering News.
As part of the company’s drive to remain a leader in the industry, it is running a programme called 20 Keys, aimed at continually improving business.
Kotzee says that the programme focuses on 20 best-practice elements, starting with cleaning and organising; goal alignment; small-group activities; managed maintenance and quality man-agement.
“This is a three- to four-year program- me, with a cost of R300 000, for training.
“It is Franke’s philosophy to think glo-bal and act local by applying global know-how adapted for the markets where we are active.” The Franke Group sources 60% of its turnover from kitchen systems and is the world’s largest provider of complete kitchen systems and fittings. Other Franke divisions are coffee systems; wash-room and sanitary systems; beverage containers; and industrial engineering.
Established in 1914, Franke South Africa, the wholly- owned subsidiary of the Swiss-owned company, is based in Mobeni, Durban, with an 11 000 m2 factory on an 18 000 m2 site.
Raw materials employed in the manufacturing process include stainless steel, protective films, and grinding and polishing consumables.
The company consumes some 2 000 t of flat sheet and stainless-steel coil sourced from South Africa and supplemented from Europe and Japan.