FACING THE SUN: PART 3

 

 

 

Ambitious

MANAGING DIRECTOR CHAD ANDREWS WANTS TO CONTINUE LAPP’S GROWTH IN AFRICA

Storage area twice as large at new site
Africa needs a lot of special solutions. Andrews is certain: “Africa is a sleeping giant.” Great market opportunities are also opening up for LAPP. The construction of solar parks in particular has meant that LAPP was able to record sales growth of 55 percent in Africa in the fiscal year 2018/2019. The road to success continues. The site in Founders View South Business Park in Johannesburg has now become too small – particularly the warehouse. Supplies arrive from Europe twice a week. Many products are only stored for a short period before delivery. At the end of the year, LAPP will move to a new site around seven kilometres away. It is more than five times the size of the previous one with 2,700 square metres of warehouse space. The storage area alone is twice as large. This means that products can be dispatched faster and more efficiently. Logistics are still the sticking point in Africa though. On a continent which is three times as large as North America, with 55 countries (including West Sahara, which is not recognised by all nations) where around 3,000 different languages are spoken, the challenges for Andrews and the 30 employees in Johannesburg are enormous. LAPP supplies products to 17 countries in the south of Africa from here.

Visionary: LAPP cables defy the harshest of conditions and therefore help in the construction of the most state-of-the-art solar units in Africa
Disused: The site in Johannesburg has grown too small. LAPP is therefore due to move at the end of the year

Countries that are not just culturally diverse, but could also hardly be more different economically and politically. “When it comes to business development, it is not just enough to sell a product, you also have to keep an eye on the relevant political situation,” states Andrews. LAPP takes a two-pronged approach when it comes to development in Africa. Countries including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and other North and West African states are managed from the Portuguese LAPP subsidiary Policabos by Pedro Morais and his team. Besides the expansion of electricity networks, traditional industrial sectors such as automotive manufacturers (particularly in South Africa), almost all large international brands and the food industry are among the important industrial sectors for LAPP products – and, of course, activities related to using renewable energies such as wind or solar energy. Improving the supply of electricity doesn’t just benefit private households, but also local, medium-sized companies – potential customers for HellermannTyton and LAPP. Andrew’ goals are clearly defined: “We want to gain new customers, expand our market presence, tap into new countries and increase our sales efficiency,” says the Managing Director. LAPP also uses the sun by the way. When the plant closes in the evening, a small, mobile solar unit that has been gathering energy in the car park during the day makes its star turn. It supplies “just” 65 watts. But that is enough to light the site at night.

     
 

 

 

5,000 KILOMETRES OF PURE ADVENTURE
Three countries, 5,000 kilometres in one week, a whole load of adventure and, in the end, only the VW Caravelle van ran out of steam when it briefly faced some mechanical problems: by deciding on a roadshow, LAPP Southern Africa chose an unusual method for self-marketing. With a van crammed full of 16 sample boards about products and application areas, a team of two drove through South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. “We brought our products to customers and interested parties,” explains Jacques Richards, Senior Technical & Project Team Leader. “It was a great adventure from the very beginning,” states Oscar Ncube, who was at the wheel for a large part of the journey. Conrad Harmse, also from LAPP’s field sales team, was with him. The colleagues were often supported by local sales colleagues at the individual stops. From Johannesburg, the route led to Kang in Botswana, past Windhoek and via Swakopmund (both in Namibia) to Walvis Bay and the mines in the south. At the three stops in Namibia and the further ones in South Africa, LAPP built a mini display and deployed the other ace it had up its sleeve: the VW van transformed into “LAPP Café”. Muffins and coffee were served from the vehicle. The journey then continued on from Cape Town back to Johannesburg. “The trip was a great success,” says Managing Director Chad Andrews. Planning for the next road trip is already underway.

 
     

 

Further information about the LAPP SA Mobile Exhibition Unit can be found here:

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