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SEW-EURODRIVE Africa push gathers momentum

With support for the expanding African client-base in mind, SEW-EURODRIVE now offers service and repairs of competitor, as well as their own, industrial gear units. (Image source: SEW EURODRIVE)

SEW-EURODRIVE, a leader in drive technology and drive automation, has established itself in a number of southern African countries and is now aggressively driving its African resource expansion by focusing on Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Mozambique this year

“While we have had an export division at SEW-EURODRIVE’s South African operations since the early 2000s with our shifted focus we are actively setting up in-country entities to ensure an even stronger local presence – close to our customers and the markets we are targeting,” remarekd Jonathan McKey, the company’s national sales and marketing manager.

This has brought more local technically qualified people into the business to drive sales and support. Backed by the strong support from an expanded and upgraded facility in Aeroton near Johannesburg, SEW-EURODRIVE now boasts more capabilities in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya. It has had a firm presence in Tanzania for the past decade.

McKey continued, “Our experience in Tanzania has highlighted the value of localising our operations, especially in terms of staffing and proximity to markets. Apart from the primary sectors such as mining and agriculture, we see huge potential from sectors such as automotive, food and beverage as well as infrastructure development.”

As the turnover of each SEW-EURODRIVE branch grows, the technical support capabilities, warehousing and assembly facilities are further developed. An important starting point for the new branches is an intensive month-long ‘competence induction’ and training process, highlighted Tebogo Moloi, who holds the business development Africa portfolio at SEW-EURODRIVE.

“Our local representatives are already well qualified and experienced in our industry – often at engineer level – but we also give them a solid foundation in our technologies that they can take to their markets,” Moloi said. “Among the advanced facilities at our Aeroton assembly plant is the sophisticated training area with digital and other learning resources.

SEW EURODRIVE industrial gear units against a white background.

Drive technology driving growth

McKey continued, “As Africa develops its economies and infrastructure, it needs the latest drive technology in a range of industries. The continent has already shown that it is hungry for drive solutions that leverage world class quality while delivering leading edge performance with a vision of sustainability.”

While commodity markets on the continent have been an important source of growth, Moloi explained that secondary industries – from automotive companies to transport infrastructure – are also holding exciting prospects as they also require the latest drive solutions.

SEW-EURODRIVE is also seeing considerable diversification in Africa, emphasised McKey. South Africa has long provided the company with organic and controlled growth over the years, but its steady expansion into Africa shows the need to diversify its offerings in new and different markets.

“Historically we have been known as geared motor specialists, but have grown extensively into after-sales service and industrial gear (IG) units,” he said. “Given the large installed base of geared motors and IG units in Africa, we can now also service and repair competitor products – by leveraging our growing technical capability around the continent.”

This exciting new development for SEW-EURODRIVE is being driven by the company’s latest investment plan which is expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2025 – powering further growth through supporting gearing in its entirety, remarked McKey. He added, “We are also diversifying our electronics division, and are already able to support and repair our own electronics offerings in South Africa. This opens the door to the possibility of assessing competitor components as well; we would not shy away from that opportunity.”

The benefits of SEW-EURODRIVE’s local presence around Africa holds direct benefits for customer relationships, stressed Moloi. This is particularly relevant where distances to mines and other operations are great, and where roads may not be well maintained.

McKey explained that this approach underpins SEW-EURODRIVE’s service philosophy, where every engagement with the customer is building on a mutual understanding of operational challenges and technological solutions. He commented, “We want our customers to know that we are not just at their operation to take an order, but rather to develop an integrated appreciation of what will help them drive performance and profitability. Our skilled people can deliver this value, and make the most of our in-country investment for the benefit of customers; this is central to any successful two-way relationship.”

The company’s proactive strategy is already paying dividends, concluded Moloi, with word spreading rapidly as satisfied customers share their good experience with colleagues in their sectors across Africa.

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