The Zest WEG Group has a dedicated training centre in River Horse Valley Business Estate in Durban North where it conducts free training for all its customers on its entire product range.
“This is a substantial investment on the part of the Zest WEG Group as a whole, reflecting the importance it places on disseminating the latest developments and innovations to its varied customer base,” Taylor Milan, Branch Manager – Durban KZN, says.
“We do not use the training as leverage to sell our products or technologies. We rather take the opportunity after the training has been concluded to interact with our customers. The training period is not a sales pitch; it is strictly about adding value. We are very sensitive to that,” Louis Meiring, CEO of the Zest WEG Group, comments.
The Zest WEG Group also provides bursaries for promising BSc graduates and learnership opportunities for engineering technicians and apprentices. Meiring comments that it has been exciting to witness all these training initiatives bear fruit. “It does not come without its challenges, but it is especially gratifying to identify certain people and skills you wish to retain in the business.”
Milan adds that the Training Centre “is a real differentiator for us in terms of the rest of the industry, which is cutting back on training and development in order to save on costs. The Zest WEG Group, on the other hand, is using this downturn in the economic cycle to consolidate its training initiatives in order to ensure that its customers are kept up to date.”
The Zest WEG Group’s Training Officer visits all the branches on a regular basis. “He visits Durban four times a year for a week at a time, so we run three courses during his stay, which essentially means we offer 12 courses a year.” Milan concludes that about 400 people have been through the doors of the training centre in Durban North since its inception.
A specific focus of the training conducted by the Durban branch focuses on Variable Speed Drives (VSDs), which falls under the Zest WEG Group’s Drives & Automation division. “VSDs are becoming increasingly important in terms of energy savings and optimisation of machinery. We believe a lot of the market has not taken advantage of that yet. There is a much large scope for growth in that particular area,” Milan comments.
“The major focus of the Training Centre here is automation, which is the most complicated section of the business. We have our complete product range available for practical training. It has stood us in good stead,” Milan says.
The Durban branch is differentiated from the rest of the Zest WEG Group by its unique focus on the sugar and paper and pulp industries. It has played an active role in these sectors since the establishment of the branch in 1991. Other industries represented by its well established and continuously growing client base are water, cement, petrochemical, mining, agriculture and marine.
Together with a branch in Richards Bay, the KZN market has access to the full scope of off-the-shelf WEG products, including low voltage AC electric motors, variable speed drives (VSDs), soft starters and a comprehensive range of switchgear. This is in addition to the products and services from the Group’s core companies and divisions.
Maintenance and service contracts and aftermarket are integral to the Zest WEG Group’s continued success in KwaZulu-Natal, where it maintains a comprehensive stockholding, including a full motor and VSD range, in its comprehensive warehouse and repair facilities.