Mining, as a key economic activity in South Africa, forms the bedrock of the country, having helped shaped industrial success through employment generation, downstream manufacturing, processing, and more.
As such the ‘Platinum City’ – Rustenburg – is a pivotal and well-known hub central to, and inextricably linked with, the local mining sector. With many of the town’s businesses either directly or indirectly supplying the region’s mines, there is prolific demand for the reliable and dedicated supply of tools, fasteners, bearings, welding equipment and others.
Taking this into consideration, Bolt and Engineering Distributors Group’s (B.E.D.’s) well-positioned Rustenburg branch is right ‘at the platinum face’ – actively engaging in the mining industry and constantly ‘moving the earth’ through steadfast and exceptional customer service.
“As we are certainly reliant on what happens in the mining sector, we delve deep into our culture and ‘100/0’ core ethos of taking 100 percent responsibility and accountability with zero tolerance for excuses to provide a differentiated customer service focus,” says Operations Manager for the B.E.D. Rustenburg and Ellisras branches, Phil van der Westhuizen.
“Ensuring the Rustenburg branch’s success, are our multi-skilled, agile and flexible team members who have the ability to adapt, pay attention to and exceed our customers’ expectations in every interaction,” he says.
A ‘major’ in mining
The Rustenburg branch was established by current Managing Director Jan Viljoen in 1993. From humble beginnings in small premises in the centre of town and run by a staff complement of just four, the branch expanded exponentially, eventually moving to larger, purpose-built premises hosting 65 employees, most of which are still employed at the branch today.
“Mining has undoubtedly shaped our branch, as is reflected by our customer base and our stockholding,” van der Westhuizen says.
“Our well-organised service, paired with our mining industry experience and product knowledge – as well as the inherent trust between the B.E.D. Group and the broader mining community – allows us to accurately advise and assist this vital industry sector through the provision of the best possible solutions, from the right place, at the right time and at the right place,” van der Westhuizen emphasises.
“To this extent, we are pleased to have played our part in shaping many mining companies’ approach to procurement; and we are privileged to be acknowledged as a benchmark of excellence to the industry,” he adds.
All these facets have resulted in a differentiated offering, with the branch experiencing a record month recently – boosted by new business opportunities, stronger commodity prices and mining sector performance.
‘Mining’ for innovation
Supported by the B.E.D. Group’s continuous advancements in the supply of state-of-the-art products and the latest technologies, B.E.D. Rustenburg has come up with several innovations to service the broader mining industry and related industries:
“These include valuable preventative maintenance initiatives, such as the SKF Rotary Equipment Programme, aimed at reducing total cost of ownership (TCO), while extending total life of equipment,” van der Westhuizen explains.
“As operations-critical equipment in mining mills and concentrator plants often form the core of minerals processing, mines depend heavily on first-class proactive and preventative maintenance to ensure optimal uptime, and minimal interruptions caused by breakdowns and shutdowns.
Bearing this in mind, B.E.D. Rustenburg focuses on the provision of products, such as those from bearings supplier SKF South Africa.
Van der Westhuizen elaborates: “As part of promoting the SKF MaPro and Power Transmission products, we have grouped a series of SKF tools into a practical toolkit: comprising a TKBA 10 belt alignment tool, a PUBSDC1007 tensioner tester and a PHGT/C1 006 pulley gauge for vibration testing and condition monitoring.
This toolkit has gained significant market traction, and according to SKF, the resourcefulness of B.E.D. – in addition to strengthening the relationship between the two parties – has unquestionably led to an increased awareness of the MaPro and Power Transmission product portfolios among end-users,” he enthuses.
Further ratcheting up the B.E.D. and SKF relationship, is Rustenburg’s placement of advanced stock orders for products, to ensure customer demand is planned for and met – while mitigating the risk of downtime and protecting their future sustainability.
Within the ambit of proactively considering the potential and future needs of customers, the Rustenburg team secures success with a consultative and customised approach to provide the ‘perfect fit – fast’ to customers.
“Our approach is encapsulated by our tagline ‘it’s our business to know your business’ – as we do not simply sell a product, but offer tangible results which are supported by a 100% commitment to quality and service,” van der Westhuizen emphasises.
In terms of its product range fasteners – as Bolt’s flagship offering – constitute the largest and most popular products – followed by tools, bearings, and welding equipment.
“Considering the continuous demand for technologically-advanced cutting and welding equipment, our Messer and Fronius products have also been well-received,” Van der Westhuizen notes.
These include the comprehensive Messer Oxyfuel mining cutting kits, which are an innovation for general maintenance in surface or underground applications; Hypertherm manual plasma cutting systems, which ensure reliable cutting without the need for oxyacetylene gas; and the portable Fronius AccuPocket – a lithium-ion, battery-operated, cordless welding inverter.
“We also supply tailored artisan toolboxes with the specified quality tools according to the mines’ specific requirements,” he comments.
Taking ‘root’ in agriculture
Although comparatively still a market ‘seedling’, the Rustenburg and surrounding agricultural sector is another industry focus for the B.E.D. Rustenburg branch, which Van der Westhuizen believes is ripe for greater growth:
“Based on the seasonality of the agriculture sector, the increasing need for food security and concerted efforts by government in supporting agricultural expansion, there will always be a sustained stream of product demand from this sector,” he observes.
“As Bolt Rustenburg is supported by the Group’s dedicated agriculture-specific product portfolio of ‘in-demand’ stock – comprising the SKF Agri Hub, plough bolts, planter and harvester bearings and more – we are well-equipped, easily accessible and eager to service the local agriculture sector,” van der Westhuizen emphasises.
In a further reflection of B.E.D. Rustenburg’s agriculture-specific capabilities, van der Westhuizen notes that: “With well-known local B.E.D. salesperson Connie de Jager assisting in the establishment of long-standing and trustworthy relationships within this sector, there is excellent potential for growth in cultivating relationships with existing co-operatives in the region.
“Notably, the relationship with a new co-operative near Thabazimbi is budding – with B.E.D. supplying stock on a consignment basis.”
“The agriculture sector has certainly taken root in B.E.D. Rustenburg’s service ‘field’, with more ‘seeds’ poised for growth,” he quips.
Importantly, B.E.D. Rustenburg’s continued ability to thrive through its flagship mining sector capabilities and offerings – as well as positive growth plans for the agriculture sector – is underpinned by the valued contribution of its people, supported by robust, energised management.
“Our reciprocal acknowledgement and appreciation of each other is a powerful hallmark that drives our success. By living, managing, and leading through the Bolt 100/0 principle and culture, we all reap the rewards. After all, it takes each one of us to make a difference for all of us!” van der Westhuizen concludes.