Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  10 Nov 2009

ENGINEERING: John Thompson Is Steaming Ahead


Recent Western Cape Business News

John Thompson is steaming with activity according to Theo Lotter the divisional director of John Thompson. This is so despite the cooling off of the local economy and even those of the export markets, where the company too has an impressive installed base of complete steam generating plants.

Lotter tells CBN the company achieved record results in turnover and profit for the financial year ending March, with work executed for the first time exceeding R1 billion.

Interestingly, and importantly, revenue from its provision of maintenance and efficiency improvement services exceeded revenues from supply of new plant for the first time. This is a new trend – well planned in advance – that will continue well into the future.

We realised some two years ago that more emphasis had to be placed on the retention and development of skills, for without these we wouldn’t have a business. We also foresaw, because of changing market conditions, that we should closer focus on the potential that the service market holds”, says Lotter.

This move has already paid off handsomely. Whereas revenue from services represented around 20% of revenue a few years ago, it is now more than 50% and growing.

He points out that John Thompson has a large installed base in the market – for example, John Thompson had supplied more than 2000 boilers in South Africa mostly to the process industry, mines, government institutions like hospitals and prisons etc and power stations– and that it has built up, through the years, long-standing relationships of mutual trust with its customers.

Lotter says increasingly customers realise that they cannot maintain and control efficiency as well as John Thompson, the original equipment manufacturer, with its exceptional expertise in cost effective steam management.

For example, with power stations, where we have a permanent presence, availability of electricity has improved dramatically over time and unplanned black-outs have become minimal”, he says.

There is a greater awareness across industry that, because of economic pressure and a number of environmental issues, everybody is forced to look at the energy efficiency of their plants.

Partnerships between John Thompson and customers today provide service solutions which is in sharp contrast with most situations of years gone by, where the company was often only called upon “as an ambulance emergency”, as Lotter puts it.

To effectively execute on its service delivery the company has factory-trained technicians based in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Nelspruit and Bloemfontein to provide a national network of service for all aspects of boiler combustion – electrical, coal, oil, gas and mixed fuel. In addition, an international service is available to customers throughout Africa, the Middle East and South America.

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