What suppliers need to service African Markets

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What suppliers need to service African Markets

Boilers and water treatment solutions are used in a vast array of industries, from farming to manufacturing, textile production and even oil separation. In Africa, and Southern Africa in particular, part availability and servicing capabilities become important considerations for companies when choosing a supplier.

Lionel Maasdorp, MD of Allmech, leading South African manufacturer of boilers and supplier of water treatment components, says that for the supplier/customer relationship to function optimally, companies need to take time to understand their customers’ needs and context. In the countries where Allmech works, including Eswatini, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius and Saudi Arabia, there are different requirements and localised nuances that need to be taken into consideration when servicing customers.

Maasdorp adds that there are different demand rhythms in each market and demand for boilers, for example, may fluctuate depending on issues like power supply reliability in a particular country. “Because boilers can be a capital expenditure decision for a company, the choice to purchase one can also take some time,” he says. However, chemical usage and replacement parts usually have fairly consistent demand and suppliers need to be able to balance their stock levels so that they can help clients with servicing requirements as and when needed.

Proactive maintenance
“We are seeing a shift in the approach to maintenance, in Africa in particular, where companies are becoming more proactive and inclined to do the necessary maintenance and upkeep of equipment rather than waiting for an item to fail before repairing it,” says Maasdorp.

There are obvious benefits to this approach and Maasdorp says that clients are saving money because their production is less affected by planned maintenance and small repairs are made before they become major failures that have a bigger fallout for uptime.

Supplier approaches
As the water treatment and boiler applications are so broad, suppliers need to work closely with customers to ensure that the solution they provide is relevant and will be useful to the client over the long term. Maasdorp says that in terms of Allmech’s approach, “we work with customers to resolve issues that arise so that we supply a comprehensive solution as our involvement is a relationship and not just a sale. We want to be part of their running solution for their plant.”

To enhance supply security to customers, in 2019 Allmech also became the sole agent for Runxin valves in South Africa. This allows it to carry a large range of spares to service valves and test them on a test bench to ensure repairs are correct.

Allmech supplies Runxin valves with flow rates ranging from 2 000 l/hr, such as the F56A1 manual filter valve and the F63B/C automatic filters, right through to 30 000 l/hr F112A softener and F112B filter valves.

“We really work hard to provide an end-to-end solution for our water treatment clients, whether they are business owners, engineers or downstream distributors. They know they can come to us for expertise on which valve to use for a specific application, for repairs and maintenance, and for other technical input,” says Maasdorp.