With most of the country in mourning over the antics of senior politicians and the resulting weakness of the rand, Roston Sadie, MD of GIS SA is not complaining. Over the past year or so, Sadie and his partners have set a business plan in motion to produce lighting products in South Africa for the security and other industries. Since these new products are designed and manufactured locally, the weaker rand gives GIS a boost in terms of export potential.
The weak rand is nothing new. In fact, it has been on a downward trend for a while, boosted in its decline by recent events, which has resulted in the cost of imported lighting products (and any other imports, of course) rising. In addition, when it comes to lighting specifically, having to pay a 20% duty on the import costs simply adds to the expense. This has created an opportunity in the local market, which GIS is taking advantage of.
Sadie says the products GIS manufactures are all made from the best components in order to offer quality goods, but because they are produced locally, they cost half of what the same quality would cost from the UK or Australia.
GIS has a number of products it can assist customers with, as well as lighting services for those planning, for example, a perimeter security system. Sadie says the company’s first offering is a perimeter lighting product that delivers reliable illumination at a low cost. It can be shipped as an infrared (IR) or a traditional white light.
GIS also has a locally produced flood light, the 50-Watt T1. Again, users can choose between IR and white light. The product is designed for flexibility, and can be adapted to whatever the client needs, such as different output at various times of the day. It can also be adapted to be used as a full solar solution.
Two potential export contracts GIS is looking into, one in Angola and one in Zambia, may see the T1 adapted to be used as street lights running on solar power. These contracts would put GIS on the map as the order will run into thousands of units.
Despite the advances of technology that enables some surveillance cameras to ‘see’ in the dark, the security industry still relies on lighting, both IR and white light, for many applications. Especially when it comes to IR lighting, the products GIS offers are, as noted above, significantly less costly than the premium international products and they are of significantly better quality than the cheaper imports.
Another product line GIS is working on is locally produced power supplies. In many projects the team has been working on, Sadie has found that getting the right power supply was an issue. The power supply GIS is developing offers users a wider range of output voltages to enable it to adapt to the requirement of each project. This could well be the first mountable constant current power supply manufactured locally.
Sadie says the focus of GIS from the start has been on producing quality products that can measure up to any competitor in the world. It has achieved this goal with the assistance of its partners, such as EBV Elektronik and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. Its partners have assisted with the development process as well as testing to ensure quality standards are maintained. Moreover, during the design phase, Sadie received input from many security industry players who were able to use their real-world experiences to identify what lighting solutions they would like to see in the market.
The manufacturing business of GIS is still in its infancy, but already Sadie says the market has responded positively, including interest from outside the country’s borders. With internal potential and export options opening up for GIS, the future of this local innovator is looking very bright.
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