A new South African distri- bution strategy is result- ing in significant benefits for Harris Products Group, a subsidiary of The Lincoln Electric Company.
Harris is a leading manufacturer of gas-based cutting, welding, brazing and soldering equipment, and consumables and gas distribution systems. In May 2012 it announced a significant expansion to its distribution channel in South Africa.
This move offers customers in South Africa’s mining, railroad, petrochemicals, fabrication and assembly industries more direct access to the company’s products.
By enhancing the distribution system, these products will be available to more customers through additional distributors across South Africa, including Air Liquide and Brandweld, as well as Lincoln Distributors SA Weld, Seflex and Cosmo.
From a strategic perspective, Harris’ decision to expand the distribution channel was based on competitive brands migrating to Chinese parts and products, which challenged the company’s market share. In some cases, they offered copies of products with product numbers similar to those used by Harris.
In South Africa, the brand has long been part of the Afrox stable, with its regulators and gas-cutting torches sold at Afrox outlets across the country. While the relationship between Afrox and Harris is expected to continue, Afrox will no longer be manu- facturing products for Harris.
The distribution channel expan- sion was phased-in beginning in January, and has already produced some very positive results.
“Sales of Harris products in South Africa for the first half of 2012 are three times what they were for all of 2011 and all of 2010,” says David Nangle, Harris Products Group president and CEO and a Lincoln Electric Company VP.
“To me that says a lot of about what the brand has meant to our loyal customers over the years, and how it delivers on its promise of innovation, safety and reliability today.”
He adds that South African customers can be assured that every product bearing the Harris name is manufactured exclusively by the company, with all products for sale in South Africa manufactured at the company’s Dzierzoniów, Poland, facility.
“We chose to locate in Poland, rather than China, because of its skilled labour force and close proximity to our South African customers, and by doing so we would be assured the products coming off the line were of the highest quality in the world,” says Nangle.
“Every single product that Harris manufactures is 100%- tested for safety and reliability before it leaves the factory, which means it works the first time a customer uses it.”
Included in this product line is the new H28 heavy-duty hand cutting torch, designed for foundry and special heavy cutting applications, which features a cutting capacity of 350 mm, triangular stainless steel tubes, solid forged brass head and guaranteed quality control that makes this the “safest” long-life torch in the industry.
“The demand for Harris products continues to grow all over the world, with the greatest potential for growth in emerging markets such as Brazil, India and China,” says Nangle.
For more information about Harris Products Group in South Africa, visit the Lincoln Electric booth at Electra Mining Africa 2012.
Hall 7 Stand E32