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MANUFACTURING: GRW Engineering Is On A Roll

 



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WORCESTER-based GRW Engineering, formed as recently as 1996, is on a roll – literally and figuratively speaking. The relatively young company is not only carving major inroads into the local tanker transport market, it’s also achieving major export successes in very competitive, sophisticated foreign markets.

 

If you’re not directly involved in the transport sector, GRW’s name and products may hardly be familiar. Even in the Boland town Worcester many of the towns folk are not aware of the full extent of the company’s vast activities – or its success.

 

Yet there it is, a sprawling heavy engineering company which designs and manufactures a wide range of road tankers and intermodal tank containers in various configurations which today are not only criss-crossing the roads of Southern Africa, but even in countries as far flung as in Europe, in the Middle East and Australia.

 

All manufacturing processes, from dishing to testing and final inspection, are done in-house in two production facilities totalling 20 000 sq m, employing 520 skilled staff.

 

That’s not all. In order to even better serve its customers, it has support facilities in Isando, Gauteng as well as those of the recently acquired TEE’s head office and manufacturing plant, also based in Johannesburg. This month it has also taken over the International Truck dealership operation in Cape Town, from where GRW’s back-up services will be provided.

 

So successful is the company that it has started attracting corporate attention. Last year  Stellenbosch-based PSG, through its Paladin subsidiary, acquired a 40% stake in the holding company.

 

Gerhard van der Merwe, CEO of GRW Engineering, says the group is showing a turnover of R750 million a year. Over the years turnover growth at times reached 40% but this year, in view of tougher trading conditions around the globe, growth will hopefully clock in at around 20%.

 

At full production some 90 tank units of various configurations can be produced. It is currently producing at a rate of around 60 units a month but even at this rate, and including the spin-offs from the TEE and Cape Town International dealership take-overs, there are still  profits to be had.

 

Much of GRW’s success flows from its diversified markets, locally and foreign (exports account from R250 million to R350 million a year) as well as its varied product offerings, according to van der Merwe.

 

“We expect to achieve a growth rate of around 20% each year for the next four to five years. In order to do so we will place even more emphasis on those aspects that we are good at – continuous innovation. This applies not only to our products, but also our manufacturing processes to improve quality – for which we are already well-known – and productivity”, van der Merwe says. “We find ourselves in a continuous revival mode”.

 

What a nice, timely success story.


 
 
 
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