VENTURES: Sabelco On Expansion Trail
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THE Cape Town-based Sabelco Group of companies require closer scrutiny, not only for the remarkable growth they have shown during the past five years (when industry generally experienced lack-luster conditions) but also how they are positioned to maintain and even further expand on their success.
Sabelco’s managing director Marc Moreau says about five years ago the management team developed a growth strategy which reached its aims almost immediately. This resulted between 30% and 50% year-on year growth, establishing Sabelco as South Africa’s largest supplier of electrical low-voltage assemblies, as reported last month in CBN.
The turn-round in Sabelco’s fortunes came about primarily by fixing two problems: difficulty by its suppliers in providing quality products and, secondly, receiving products on time.
“These problems increased exponentially as we grew our business. To really accelerate meaningfully we decided to customise our business to meet our customers’ very specific needs, which in turn led to long-term partner relationships based on our ability to deliver quality products in the quickest time possible”, Moreau says.
The solution, more of which will be discussed later, resulted in Sabelco achieving a reputation of being a supplier of superior end-products, but also with advanced industry knowledge and expertise.
Sabelco is fully compliant with the highest international and local standards which only the multi-nationals previously complied with. “Sabelco is able to give their clients the competitive edge to compete confidently against the multinationals who dominate the market”, Moreau says. Moreau is also an active participant in various SABS technical committees and represents SA on the international committee for electrical low-voltage assemblies.
Sabelco provides a range of boards including (amongst other) fixed, semi and fully withdrawable panels, main and sub distribution boards, motor control centres and control desks. It functions in the low voltage assembly market (max 1 000 Volt).
Having already invested some R10 million in expanding capacity during the past few years, another R20 million has been earmarked for investment to expand production a further threefold, Moreau tells CBN.
To overcome the basic constraints the company previously faced – to obtain supplies of great quality on time, basically – Sabelco in 2000 founded CNC Solutions, for the manufacturing of precise steel fabrications for assembly panels. And in 2004 it founded TAM Powder Coaters for quality epoxy powder coating.
So today the Sabelco Group of companies comprise Sabelco Electrical Industries, which we have known for more than 20 years, as well as CNC Solutions and TAM Powder Coaters which, combined, have created the infrastructure into which the group will grow.
Importantly, both CNC and TAM are currently no more than 50% reliant on Sabelco Electrical for work. The rest originates from outside and, according to Moreau, this reliance will drop to 30% as each of the two subsidiaries grow their outside (of Sabelco) business.
Currently the group employs more than 100 people in areas of 3 000 sq m in total in Montague Gardens, Cape Town and an assembly, sales and service operation of 1 200 sq m in Johannesburg.
“As we have bought the very best equipment with the latest technologies, we have created a stable and reliable plant which puts us in control of our capacity, thus serving the marketplace with customised products when our customers require them. This helps them a great deal and as they grow, so do we,” says Moreau.
All in all, it seems some more sparkling years lie ahead for the Sabelco Group.
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