Metal Work Pneumatic S.p.a. Italy was, for many years, represented by various companies in South Africa. Recognising the need to consolidate its efforts and offer the local market a common point of contact, the company approached Johan Bester in 2017, with a view to launching a local subsidiary.
After filing the necessary documentation, Metal Work Pneumatic South Africa was launched in August 2017 and began trading in January 2018. Bester, who has been involved in the automation industry for over 22 years, says that while this is a relatively new local operation, it is able to leverage the experience, capacity and capabilities of over 1400 employees worldwide in 46 countries.
With its head office in Riverhorse Valley in Durban, Bester says the company plans to expand into the other provinces and simultaneously appoint distribution partners outside South Africa: “We have already appointed two main distributors in South Africa, one being Peninsula Pneumatics in Paarden Eiland. In addition to selling through distributors, we have a direct sales force and a trade counter which allows walk-in customers to buy directly from us in Durban. We have instituted an open door policy, which means that anybody is welcome to pop in and ask for a tour of our facilities at any time during working hours – from the media to suppliers, to potential customers.”
Providing a range of pneumatic and electric actuators, control components, air preparation equipment, fittings, tubing and various other accessories, together with several bespoke products, the organisation focuses on a number of strategic business practices that include lean thinking and a culture of continuous improvement. The company attacks waste through the value chain and employs the Kaizen (change for better) philosophy which increases flexibility and competitiveness through its people.
“We work together for a common purpose and use strict quality control, accompanied by the right products for the task at an affordable price,” says Bester. “We maintain constant contact with customers to identify, assess and meet their needs. More than 80% of our product range is manufactured in-house at the state-of-the-art facilities in Brescia, Italy.”
Metal Work Pneumatic S.p.a holds a number of certifications, including ISO 9001 (1992), ISO 14001 (2000), OHS 18001 (2007), as well as certification by Dekra and accreditation by TGA.
Training at the company is continuous. “We dedicate more than 5000 hours of ongoing training to our employees to ensure that they are completely up-to-date on the latest product iterations,” explains Bester. “We have a base of international trainers who travel around to the various Metal Work Pneumatic subsidiaries specifically to provide technical and new product training as required. Since the company releases up to 50 new products a year, this training happens on a frequent basis. I am also involved in providing in-house sales training to our employees.”
The fact that the company provides components for the entire industrial automation market, combined with its cumulative and collective team application knowledge, means that all industries are served. “In a nutshell, wherever increased production and automation is required we can provide automation componentry,” concludes Bester.
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