A number of South African companies are increasingly winning sales in the international access control market. This is good news for local end-users because it is such a powerful endorsement of the quality of these export-winning products.
International demand for South African access control products continues to grow, underlining the fact that local manufacturers can compete with the leading brands in the global market. Of particular interest is the growth of markets outside sub-Saharan Africa where SA products are winning market share from established First-World brands.
Barry East, marketing manager of Impro Technologies says that the company has been exporting for over 15 years: "Many of the distribution channels, especially in Europe, were established back in the '80s through government initiatives but today most of our growth comes through strategically placed international offices. We have sales offices in Germany and Holland - where we also have our European warehouse. In the USA we have a warehouse and sales office to service the demanding American market. From these offices we source and appoint new distributors and dealers and are able to offer them the service and support that they require."
Exports account for some 20% of Turnstar's production, with Europe being the biggest market followed by the Middle East. As Mark Eardley, Turnstar marketing manager explains, "We have three distributors covering Europe and are experiencing strong growth as we win sales from leading European brands." The company's UK distributor is Abacos Automation and MD John Morgan is confident about future sales: "This year we aim to build volumes to over 250 units. Turnstiles are becoming an essential component within the security industry and I believe that Turnstar turnstiles are second to none in terms of reliability and durability."
Closer to home, Blick is finding increased demand for access control and time and attendance solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. In the past 12 months, sales consultant Quentin Still has completed sizable projects in Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique. He is sure that this success stems from personal contact: "For large projects like these, meeting clients face-to-face is an essential part of demonstrating our capability and reliability."
The importance of this personal contact is echoed by Barry East, "Obviously having a world class product is essential, but beyond that the next factor is personal contact. We have always believed in creating a solid relationship with our customer base, one that promotes open communication and feedback. This can only be done through face-to-face time spent with them. Our travel schedule is prepared with that in mind and Impro's international sales staff members take hundreds of flights a year. The spin-off is that we gain much needed knowledge of each market as a result of the time spent there and we can adapt our product offering accordingly."
Still is convinced that growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to continue and is looking to become even more active in these markets, "For example, we are currently planning an event in Mozambique that will showcase our products and services to organisations that are going to be expanding our solutions or implementing new ones. An event like this reinforces our message that we can operate effectively outside of SA and demonstrates our commitment to do so."
The fact that export markets are growing is endorsed by East: "In the last 24 months Impro has experienced unbelievable growth internationally. Emerging markets such as the Middle East have yielded the highest percentage growth. Established markets such as Europe have stabilised to a large degree but still continue to grow. We are expecting a bumper 2006 with all budgeted volume targets being exceeded until now."
Eardley also sees the Middle East as having great potential for future growth, "We went to Dubai at the end of 2003 to appoint a distributor in the region and we have been delighted with the results since then. We are competing head-on with European producers and are winning sales against them."
For more information contact Impro Technologies, 031 700 1087, firstname.lastname@example.org
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