Helping Customers to Find Their Bearings With Excellent Service and Continuous Innovation
Notably, the regional town of Klerksdorp is an important trading hub – linking the mining centres of Johannesburg and Kimberley – and home to miners, farmers and other sectors servicing these industries; as well as one of the largest agricultural co-operatives in the southern hemisphere.
In light of this, Bolt and Engineering Distributors Group’s (B.E.D.’s) well-positioned and experienced Klerksdorp branch stands fast in providing exceptional service to these industries, through a firm focus on its core business of fasteners – paired with continuous innovation – to meet constantly changing industry needs.
“B.E.D. Klerksdorp is a respected, reputable, and well-priced supplier. By cultivating good relationships with end-users, buyers and suppliers, we can provide solutions to customers’ needs – whether it is to ‘unearth’ or ‘harvest’ the perfect tool or piece of equipment which they need for their business,” says Operations Manager Ian Lloyd.
In a reflection of Klerksdorp’s dedicated commitment to serve customers through the Group’s distinctive ‘100/0’ core ethos of taking 100 percent responsibility, Lloyd highlights two key aspects which have ensured the Klerksdorp branch’s success: experience and close relationships.
“As we always say in B.E.D., it is our business to know our customers’ business – and we always interact with them in line with this ethos. To this end, B.E.D. Klerksdorp draws from an extensive pool of industry knowledge and insight, amassed by an experienced sales team and support staff. This is complemented by our practice of regular, personal visits to customers, phone calls, and follow-ups,” he enthuses.
Klerksdorp was B.E.D.’s very first branch, run by the now Managing Director Jan Viljoen, following B.E.D.’s acquisition of his local business Bilbet Supplies in 1988.
While steadfastly servicing the mining industry, engineering, hardware, retail and DIY sectors, through long-term customer contracts and supplier relationships, the Klerksdorp team have grown the business further by exploring and developing opportunities in agriculture, establishing mutually favourable contracts with several leading co-operatives in the region.
The branch, with a complement of 71 dedicated and long-serving staff, has the key objective of serving customers by accurately understanding their requirements and supplying them with the right solution from a comprehensive range of products: all of which are stocked in neat, market-related packaging with quick traceability provided by bar coding and colour-coded product labelling.
The product range includes locally-produced and imported fasteners, quality tools, welding and cutting equipment and consumables; as well as bearings, lifting products, health and safety PPE, Covid-19 consumables and PPE, industrial paints and thinners, oils and lubricants.
Servicing the branch’s wider regional footprint is B.E.D.’s satellite depot in Kathu, in the neighbouring Northern Cape province. Staffed by three employees, this site mainly serves the Sishen iron-ore mine and surrounding areas.
“Essential to Klerksdorp’s key practice of always providing easily-available and accessible stock is a fleet of nine trucks, which is supplied by daily deliveries from the main B.E.D. distribution centre in Gauteng, and covers a radius of 250 km every day to service customers,” explains Lloyd.
This service has been boosted by the assistance of couriers to reach the broadening service and delivery radius.
“Consequently, we ensure fast and on-time delivery to all our customers, keeping to our guiding ethos of providing the perfect fit – fast,” he emphasises.
Sales Manager Andrè Esterhuizen, agrees, adding: “As part of our accountability in giving customers exceptional service and a quality interaction, there are zero excuses for not giving our best!”
“When a customer has a request, we will go above and beyond, providing them with the essential product – no matter how late the hour, nor how small the part,” he emphasises.
Esterhuizen further draws attention to the fact that staff, while knowing their respective roles and responsibilities and ensuring customer satisfaction as a main commitment will, “through a mutual respect for each other, assist with any role required, to ensure operations run smoothly/seamlessly and consistently to the welfare of all.”
In servicing the North West’s main economic sectors , Klerksdorp’s market offering has developed to include several impressive innovations.
These include the establishment of a B.E.D. expo, a trade show exclusively held in Klerksdorp biennially, where customers and suppliers are presented with new products and demonstrations. The branch also participates in the annual Nampo agricultural show.
“In a bid to enhance our service offering, Klerksdorp also became the first branch to add a bearings division – with resounding success, as several types of bearings are particularly well-suited for use in the agriculture sector,” says Lloyd.
Unique to the branch’s agriculture market offering, is the flagship SKF Agri Hub, which was adapted by B.E.D. Klerksdorp, in collaboration with bearings and seal manufacturer SKF, for use in the South African market.
“While products supplied to the sector currently include plough bolts, planter bearings, and harvesting bearings, B.E.D. will soon be adding cultivator points/plough points and a specialty corn picker chain to the portfolio – enabling us to provide the entire planting and harvesting package to the agriculture sector,” Lloyd says.
“As the agriculture sector is seasonally orientated, strategic planning is key. Therefore, during planting and harvesting seasons we need to ensure that we have ‘in-demand’ stock available at the best pricing,” he emphasises.
Meanwhile, Esterhuizen notes that B.E.D. calls on the mining industry daily to keep updated regarding new requirements, and to supply the correct solutions.
Innovations aimed at this sector include the design of Dardelet bolts and nuts for high vibration applications; as well as the introduction of lock-out systems for machinery shut-off during maintenance or inspection.
In addition, B.E.D. can offer customers a superior bolt securing system – the world-class, yet locally-manufactured anti-vibration Bopa-Lock washers – which provide safe locking for bolted joints, even when exposed to severe vibration and dynamic loads. “With Bopa-Lock washers, customers can optimise their bolted joints to minimise overall cost and maximise safety,” Esterhuizen points out
Esterhuizen further highlights the branch’s role in servicing various apprentice artisan training centres at the mines: “B.E.D. has supplied tailored artisan toolboxes with the specified quality tools according to the mines’ specific requirements, and customised to each trade,” he comments.
“Moreover, by being continuously aware of and anticipating customer needs, we are able to constantly adapt our capabilities and offerings. This is evident in the branch’s efforts to support the mining sector during the Covid-19 pandemic by supplying masks and sanitisers, among other products, and dedicated PPE support from Products Manager Ansa van der Merwe,” adds Esterhuizen.
Lloyd agrees, highlighting that B.E.D. Klerksdorp strives to be the supplier which can deliver the very best: “Importantly, we will remain excellent in our service, keep fast to our trademark focus on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the business and nurturing innovation when stepping up to meet our valued local customers’ requirements,” he concludes.