South Africa’s perimeter security industry has a historically strong tradition of local manufacturing, particularly with regard to fencing systems. This tradition has largely been sustained by two sectors within the industry: large steel companies that manufacture weldmesh, bolted fencing systems and concrete palisade, and local installers with smaller factories that produce bar, palisade and decorative fencing on a made-to-order basis.
In the last few years, however, there has been a shift towards high-density mesh fencing that offer greater visibility without compromising on security. This move away from traditional fencing in favour of the new wire mesh fencing has not only increased the production numbers of larger, established factor-ies, but has also lowered the barriers to entry for smaller installers to effectively compete in the market where they might not have been able to before. Unfortunately this shift has also opened up the local market to imported products from countries such as China and India, often to the detriment of local companies.
There are however many good reasons why manufacturing within South Africa remains important and can continue to be successful. One of the main drivers for local manufacturing is availability of stock and stock planning. Whereas importers are often confronted with the challenge of balancing the costs of stocking large quantities of products with meeting sudden delivery demands, local manufacturers are largely immune to this conundrum as stock can be delivered faster without the long delays often caused by international shipping.
Local manufacturing also holds significant socio-economic benefits: direct employment opportunities are created within the manufacturing sector itself, and indirect employment opportunities are developed within the supply chain. Local manufacturing is also essential to the continuous growth and expansion of skills development for South African workers.
Finally, an often-overlooked benefit of manufacturing in South Africa is that existing products can be tailored to suit the local market, which is often not the case with imported products. Alternatively, new products can also be developed to suit the needs of the local market, resulting in fit-for-purpose solutions.
In conclusion, the positive effects of local manufacturing is rather comprehensive: creating greater opportunities for local companies, advancing skills development and producing customised and affordable products for the South African market.
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