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FOOD & BEVERAGES: Marel Starting To Feast In SA

 



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IN spite of the recent credit crunch, Marel Food Systems, with numerous clients in the Cape, has announced impressive growth figures in its latest financial results. In particular, local subsidiary Marel SA claims that since its inception in 2007, it has seen growth of 80%. This is especially impressive in the context of the global organisation’s results, which report organic growth of 15%.

A leading provider of advanced equipment, integrated solutions, software systems and other services to the fish, meat and poultry industries, Marel is well known in the food processing arena. The organisation specialises in providing its customers with a one-stop solution to all their processing needs. This ranges from standalone equipment to turnkey integrated processing lines and solutions.

According to Marel SA’s general manager, Rodney Macer-Wright, the organisation is the only Marel agency in Africa. This means the business not only serves the South African market, but also the rest of the continent. He adds that since the business came into being in 2007, it has virtually doubled in size.

When Marel SA was launched, we had a total of 10 people in the company. Today we have 19, and we have doubled the number of sales and service staff that we had in 2007. Although launching the business just as the economic downturn began to take effect was difficult, we survived through the tough times by providing quality repairs and backup services. This has paid off over the last year or so, as we have found that many of the organisations that received these services are now purchasing new equipment from us – this gives us every confidence heading into 2012,” he says.

Macer-Wright says the service side of the business remains paramount to its success. After all, he explains, its clients are in the food industry, which means they have to be very demanding in regards to their equipment.

Marel SA therefore delivers high-end service level agreements (SLAs) and has a fully trained service division that provides a high-level of service and support for all the equipment it supplies to the market. It is little wonder, then, that we have twice as many service technicians as we have sales people.”

He adds the other reason for the company’s impressive growth is the regular innovations it introduces in terms of its equipment. The machines Marel SA supplies are specifically designed for certain industries – such as its new line for the poultry industry that revolutionises the batching of chicken.

Our innovative developments in new capital equipment have certainly played a major role in increasing our sales. In addition, most of our customers are long-term clients with whom we work side-by-side to continually challenge, extend and re-define the boundaries of food processing performance,” Macer-Wright says.

While our results are not comparable to the Marel offices in the developed world, there is little doubt that in context, Marel SA is doing really well. Our next goal is to use South Africa as the springboard to take our equipment into the rest of Africa. As for the next year, I expect us to achieve at least a 20% growth in comparison to our current figures,” he says.


 
 
 
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