SKF South Africa appoints three new authorised distributors
2013 October 22, 08:27 Africa
SKF recently appointed three new authorised distributors in line with the company’s commitment to deliver complete engineering product and service solutions to the customer’s doorstep.
“The location of our distributors is strategically chosen to be close to our customers, making it easy to build and maintain relationships,” notesSKF Manager of Distribution Development, AntonTheunissen. “Two of our newly appointed authorised distributors are situated outside South African borders with the third, West Cape Bearing & Transmission, based in Brackenfell, serving Western Cape industry. Operating from Gaborone, Botswana, Oculus Rail & Mining Supplies focuses mainly on the mining sector. Bearing Centre in Blantyre, Malawi, services the tobacco, tea and commercial vehicle industries,” explainsTheunissen.
Theunissen points out that a SKF authorised distributor is much more than merely a channel partner. “Our distributors are an extension of our sales force into the market. During the process of identifying new SKF distributors, various factors are taken into account. SKF has a proud reputation for extremely high values and business ethics so an important consideration when appointing a new distributor is ‘a like mindedness’; the group demands honesty and integrity in all parts of our activities and expects the same from all parties with whom we have business relations – customers, suppliers, distributors and agents.”
Theunissen discusses some of the benefits of being an authorised SKF Distributor: “SKF’sstate-of-the-art supply chain management processes and systems enable distributors tooptimise their own practices while having direct access to our warehouses locally and in
Europe. Furthermore, SKF’s large, highly skilled team has the local resources to design and deliver complex solutions across the SKF technology platforms. Local experts have access to global resources built on more than 100 years of experience, knowledge and capabilities to ensure that no challenge goes unsolved. This, combined with the extremely powerful, best quality global SKF brand, which is valuable for the distributor to be associated with, adds tremendous value to our distributors.”
“One of the main reasons we embarked on a distributor programme in 2008 is to benefit our customers. We want to sustainably deliver the high levels of quality products and services our customers have come to expect,” continues Theunissen. “Our distributor network give us the best route to market to be able us to place SKF appropriate resources and skills where they are required, in other words, equip our customers with SKF knowledge to improve their own performance. Being situated closer to our customer base, they can plan and manage stock more effectively and have the ability to service end-users quickly, meeting their demands for high quality, reliable products and services that will reduce total cost of ownership. Our authorised distributors also make it possible for us to further extend our local responsibilities and activities to strategic markets in neighbouring countries; our strategy includes aggressive growth aspirations in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi over the next three to five years.”
SKF’s policy is very clear regarding its committed approach to its distributors. All aftermarket/end user requirements are addressed through the distributor network and SKF is obligated to supply the best possible support by providing a best-in-class supply chain. SKF supports area management through the appointment of territory managers, in co-operation with the authorised distributors, in all the regions. These managers are expected to actively support SKF authorised distributors by identifying, developing and delivering on opportunities in their respective areas. Through SKF territory managers, distributors are able to gain direct access to technical and sales support that will facilitate delivery of solutions to customers quickly and seamlessly.
Turning to distributor responsibilities, Theunissen says, “Our channel partners have a key role to play in the delivery of the SKF value proposition. Carefully planned stock holding and using a flexible, responsive customer service model, enable our distributors to meet customer expectations through prompt delivery of key items. The value-add is a reduction of customer equipment downtime to maximise production. Our distributors also maintain strong relationships with our customers and understand their needs.”
The progress of SKF’s authorised distributor programme, since implementation five years ago, has been and will continue to be a great success. Theunissen attributes this to the fact that “we do not compete with our distributors; we work hand in hand, providing valuable complementary resources such as the aforementioned highly experienced territory managers. We sharean extremely close relationship with all our distributors with both parties constantly sharing information regarding market, competition and opportunities.” As part of the support to its distribution network, SKF offers a platform called SKF Distributor College which currently offers more than 40 product and industry related courses for on-line education of distributor staff, in their own time and at their own pace. “At SKF we believe that knowledge is power and that the best educated sales staff will result in the best sales performance and customer service,” adds Theunissen.
With over 100 years’ experience in bearing and rotating technology, SKF’s global vision is to ‘Equip the world with SKF knowledge’ through its six core technologies - bearings and units, seals, lubrication systems, power transmission, mechatronics, and mechanical and reliability engineering services. To this end, SKF will continue to strategically grow its geographical footprint though-out Southern Africa by partnering with companies that share the same growth aspirations and market strategies, to continue the world class standard SKF has become known for.
SKF’s authoriseddistributor network includes industrial authorised distributors, lubrication distributors, agricultural distributors, and commercial vehicle distributors. “The recent appointments bring the total number of SKF authorised distributors to 156 with three more appointments scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2013,” concludes Theunissen.