To grow its share of the African motors and drives market, electrical equipment supplier Zest WEG Group is investigating the possibility of opening two more sales offices in Africa and is planning to partner with new distributors in Madagascar, Tanzania and Malawi. The company has an office in Ghana and 6 appointed strategically positioned distributors throughout Africa. Zest WEG Group African business development manager Quentin Korff points out that the company’s aim is not only to supply products into the African market, but to also provide technical support and training for customers using their products. “We have identified target markets in Africa where there is a large amount of projects activities and our intention is to move our products from South Africa into the rest of Africa, while ensuring our support for the products supplied.
“Our strategy is to open offices in certain areas and establish distributors that are able to technically support and provide end-users with training on the use of the products,” he says.
Korff notes that the company has established comprehensive training facilities at all its major South African branches and at its Ghana branch, as well as at a Zambian distributor’s premises. Zest WEG Group’s training programmes are registered with the relevant Sector Education and Training Authority enabling engineers to earn continuing professional development points for attending training sessions. Training, which covers all aspects related to motors, variable speed drives and transformers, is offered free of charge to clients as a means to build the customer’s confidence in the products.
Zest WEG Group has dedicated training officers and where required, senior technicians are available to assist with the presenting of the training. Trainers are sent out to clients’ premises in remote areas across Africa. Training modules are customised to suit the needs of the customer. The company has 22 service technicians in South Africa who fly to other African countries on a regular basis to provide training and support. To date, the company has conducted in excess of 150 customer support trips into Africa to provide training and support for its products.
Korff says there is a high demand for and a major shortage of technical training, not only in South Africa but also across Africa. “Once the clients receive training on the products they have bought, the number of operational errors is reduced, as the client’s employees are more knowledgeable about the product and understand how it works. Further, clients are able to deal with any minor breakdowns on their own, minimising production down time” he states. , Zest WEG Group has adopted modules from parent company WEG’s school, in Brazil. “From a group perspective, we managed to harness some aspects of the WEG school and, with that, our training officers are able to assist customers with the technical aspects and the full installation of products. In turn, that has assisted clients from a project perspective, as they need to deal with only one person, resulting in reduced downtime,” he states.