The importance of the automotive industry to Bearings International (BI) as a growth area is underlined by the fact that it has just appointed Keith du Preez as Business Development Leader (BDL).
Reporting directly to BI General Manager Shenton Botes, du Preez forms part of the larger BDL team structure established by BI, with a dedicated and focused approach to core market segments. These segments are Mining, Agriculture, Sugar, OEMs, Steel, FMCG, Automotive, Services and Infrastructure, and Wholesale and Retail.
“This new strategy represents a focused and flexible approach to key markets, honing in on where we can add the maximum value,” Botes comments. “Each of the market segments we have identified as key growth areas have specific client applications and requirements.”
On-highway and certain light-duty off-highway automotive applications such as the forklift industry will be overseen by du Preez. The former includes the passenger vehicle and commercial truck-trailer segments.
The passenger vehicle segment itself covers various tiers, from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in Tier 1, to automotive component manufacturers in Tier 2. Plant maintenance requirements and aftermarket bearing and chain requirements will be fielded by BI’s 49-branch network.
A crucial aspect of the automotive industry is parts and accessories, which focuses specifically on imported vehicles not manufactured locally, but which carry a warranty and often use branded products such as bearings supplied by BI. In addition, the needs of the aftermarket are also catered for, from spares shops to the general public.
“Our aftermarket and direct-to-public automotive products can be sourced from any one of our branches countrywide,” Botes highlights, including two branches in Namibia. Tier 1 OEM applications are serviced from BI’s warehouse in Parkhaven, Boksburg, also offering a bonded store facility.
“Here we not only assist with duty reclaims, but are also able to carry sufficient stock to cater for any production variations, as a buffer for our OEM clients to ensure they do not incur any costly downtime,” Botes adds.
BI supplies automotive products such as wheel hub bearings, clutch release bearings, alternator bearings, and rear wheel bearings, focused mainly on the leading KOYO and FAG brands. KML is a subsidiary, non-OE brand for clients requiring a more cost-effective solution.
“We have a dedicated team overseeing the automotive industry. If required, this team can provide technical assistance or general support. This is a very important part of our business, and we value the importance of the automotive industry to the South African economy,” Botes concludes.
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