A stable market on the rise. That is how Carel Neveling and Choeu Mpya describe the manufacturing industry in South Africa. They work as Sales Engineers at FlexLink’s South African office and they both see a growing demand for automated production flow solutions on the South African market. In this article, they describe FlexLink’s experiences in the country and how they collaborate with local customers to support their needs.
Hi, Carel and Choeu. Tell me about FlexLink’s operations in South Africa?
FlexLink has been present in South Africa for many years through a strong partner network and since a couple of years back we also have our own sales office. We help our customers with their production challenges and support them by identifying the most suitable solutions for them and their specific needs. Another big part of our job is market communication and we work a lot with company and product awareness, promoting the company on the local market, says Choeu Mpya.
How do you cooperate with other FlexLink offices?
Our international customers expect to receive the same services and solutions wherever their plants are located. For FlexLink, collaborations between units are essential in order to offer our customers the best experience. In our case we work a lot with FlexLink’s operating unit in France, where Application Engineers, Design Engineers and Sales Managers help us with everything we need. Our goal is that the South African office will grow to a much larger office, not only focusing on South Africa but also covering the whole Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a true challenge but at the end of the day, that is what it is all about, to challenge yourself. Our journey with FlexLink has been full of support and helpful people offering their services. So that part of the business has been great, says Carel Neveling.
How would you describe the manufacturing industry in South Africa?
I would describe it as a stable market on the rise. All kinds of products are manufactured here, and we work for example with industries such as FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), pharmaceutical and automotive, says Choeu Mpya. The manufacturing companies deliver products to South Africa as well as export products globally. According to me, the manufacturing industry has done well based on the South African production statistics. Up until now, there has been a great variety of different, smaller conveyor suppliers, but not that many big, consistent suppliers. However, I believe the manufacturing industry in South Africa would benefit from having a consistent and experienced provider of automated production flow solutions present on the market. FlexLink’s products differ a lot from our competitors’ products. Not just the quality of the product itself, but also the way you can configure and adapt it to fit the customer’s needs, Carel Neveling continues.
What requirements do your customers have on their production equipment?
Our customers put a lot of attention on quality and price. However, over time the total cost of ownership has gained territory. Our automation equipment is not just different products but solutions that give our customers peace of mind. We provide good warranties so they do not have to worry about their production line’s performance. We sell automated production flow solutions to create long-term relationships with our customers, says Choeu Mpya.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?
South Africa is a big country so we have long distances to travel, and since we are only two employees, it is a challenge to visit both existing and potential customers. Some customers have a lot of challenges to solve and some know exactly what they want, so it all depends on the customer. An average day, we spend about 60% of our time on marketing and creating awareness about FlexLink, Carel Neveling explains.
What do you think the future will look like for the manufacturing industry in South Africa?
I think the future looks bright. The manufacturing industry in South Africa has many opportunities to grow and develop, and it is important for FlexLink to stay competitive on the market and meet all the challenges that will be coming our way. The demand for automated production flow solutions is growing steadily and the technology in our solutions is constantly developing. I want our customers to stay competitive on their markets and I am confident that our solutions will make a difference and help our customers achieve successful production results. FlexLink’s goal in South Africa is to extend our office in order to develop a strong, local presence and win future customers’ trust, says Choeu Mpya.
Thank you, Carel and Choeu, for a nice chat!
I hope you enjoyed reading my interview with Carel Neveling and Choeu Mpya. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Visit our website if you want to know more about FlexLink, our solutions or the areas we operate in. Also, if you liked the interview, please let us know in our social media channels by liking, commenting or sharing our post.