Bearings International fosters a segment strategy

April 2024 News

Bearings International (BI) has a segment approach to the market, which places an intentional focus on key industries in South and sub-Saharan Africa in a bid to optimise operations, enhance uptime, and drive business sustainability and increased profitability outcomes for customers. “We do this through the timely provision of world-class quality product, technology, service and after-market solutions,” says Christian Chipamaunga, GM of End-User Markets.

BI’s extensive network of thirteen suppliers, which include the three premium brand partners, I-MAK (gearboxes), JTEKT–Koyo (automotive and industrial bearings), Schaeffler (automotive, industrial and linear bearings) and ABB (gearboxes), provides access to premium products and technologies tailored to each industry’s specific needs. These strategic global suppliers serve as catalysts for innovation, efficiency and sustainability in the respective segments. Close collaboration with supplier partners is therefore a cornerstone of BI’s segment strategy.

The advantage of a segment approach is the intentional focus on understanding the unique requirements of each segment. This enables BI to develop customised solutions built around its core product lines − drive systems, torque transfer, bearings and seals, and allied products, which are all supported by professional field services.

“It all comes down to ‘keeping you in motion’, and for good reason this is our segment value proposition which also aligns seamlessly with BI’s ‘In motion’ value proposition,” explains Chipamaunga. “The shared common goal across the BI segments is to provide a comprehensive end-to-end value offering derived from key customer insights and knowledge. Understanding customers intimately and having in-depth knowledge of the segments in which they operate, i.e., mining, automotive, industry, agriculture, FMCG, cement, pharmaceuticals, and pulp and paper, facilitates the timely delivery of bespoke, efficient and sustainable solutions.”

BI has identified mining, automotive, agriculture and FMCG as four primary segments as these are considered as key drivers to the economies in southern and sub-Saharan Africa, contributing significantly to GDP. These segments are often a good indication of the state of the economy and show resilience and robustness through changing landscapes, needs and challenges in terms of technologies, climate and other geo-social factors.

Chipamaunga believes that the adoption of a more streamlined structure with a collaborative framework between products, segments and channel sales enhances the quality of their value proposition. The segments scan the market for the opportunities and develop a solid value proposition, together with the products team, to ensure that the customer gets the correct product offering. Chipamaunga adds that this is driven through BI’s 42 channel sales outlets within South Africa and key distribution partners in southern and sub-Saharan Africa.

Also key to BI’s segment approach is building solid supplier partnerships. “Our suppliers bring tremendous value to the segment table through the provision of technical support, training and product innovation,” notes Chipamaunga. “By giving customers access to the latest supplier technologies, inputs and expertise, they are able to make more informed and precise decisions pertaining to the enhancement of their equipment life cycles and availability for overall optimisation of their operations.”

“We undertake extensive market potential analysis to guide our approach, ensuring each segment receives a unique and effective offering, while harnessing successes of implemented solutions to build a great knowledge database and continuously enhance the value proposition,” asserts Chipamaunga. “Our solutions address critical assets and pain points identified through first-hand consultations, surveys and plant visits, backed by cutting-edge technology and a team of qualified professionals.”

The value add is centred on data and knowledge, so what is required here is a robust customer relationship management system that captures key customer interactions from contacts, assets, inventory and services, and also collaborates with product managers or other important role players in the wider organisation.

As a leading distributor and supplier of bearings and power transmission product, technology and service solutions to the South and sub-Saharan Africa regions, BI remains committed to driving innovation and efficiency to deliver unparalleled value across its segments. “Our advanced technology and qualified specialists, backed by first-class OEM products and partners, perfectly position us as an ideal solutions provider in the market segments in which we participate. We empower customers and drive efficiencies to keep their operations ‘in motion’ for successful and sustainable business growth,” concludes Chipamaunga.


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