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Optimising display excellence


Optimising display excellence Editorial: Lauren Grey Production: Chris Bolderstone South African manufacturer of refrigerated display cases, Colcab recently acquired the assets and intellectual property of coil manufacturer, Yucon in order to grow its market share. IndustrySA speaks to Operations Director, Rainer Faustmann and Regional Sales Manager, Ian Nichols to find out more.

Supermarket display cabinets are essential pieces of equipment used by all major food retailers, but the function of a cabinet extends way beyond storage, to playing a pivotal role in enticing and selling a product to a customer. Without intelligent storage solutions for its refrigerated and frozen goods, food retailers would not achieve the maximum shelf-life of a product, resulting in a continuous turnover of stock with much smaller product batches. Fortunately, South African manufacturer of refrigerated, heated and ambient display cases, Colcab understands the importance of intelligent storage solutions and has been working in partnership with many of the country’s leading retailers to optimise efficiency and influence consumer spending. “We are very much an extension of our customer’s business,” explains Colcab Production Director, Rainer Faustmann, “It’s not as simple as manufacturing a case, putting it in a container and sending it to the client, the


journey continues through the client’s supply line. “We also have to make sure that our cabinets provide the right environment for our customer’s product. We are that connected to our customer base that we see ourselves in partnership with them in terms of their specifications and requirements.” As South Africa’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of refrigerated supermarket display cases, Colcab is committed to optimizing display excellence through the continuous improvement of its products. “From a quality, reliability and performance point of view, we are definitely leaders in our industry,” says Faustmann, “we have a product which is very well adapted to the African market; we have a very high quality standard, and within our production environment we have a very high level of flexibility in order to satisfy customer demand and expectation.” Based in Cape Town, in a factory comprising 17,000 square metres, Colcab satisfies between 60-70% of local market demand, working predominantly within the retail


industry. The company also exports into Africa and parts of Europe. “We started as a very small business specialising in refrigeration and case manufacturing, but together with our expertise and faithful customer base we grew into a large organisation comprising of around 300 employees and we began servicing new markets across the continent,” says Faustmann.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Colcab’s refrigerated cases are manufactured to store a number of different food products such as bakery, deli, butchery and salads, and come in a variety of styles and sizes, and although they are robust and made to last between 10-20 years, Regional Sales Manager Ian Nichols says that many retail chains opt to change the look of their refrigerators on a more regular basis. “Our display cases are built to last because many of our customers will ask for something robust that will withstand 15-20 years of use, however if they do not renew or refurbish

their supermarket environment on a five year minimum cycle, then they are not keeping up with their competition.” Five year cycles are common throughout the retail market in order for chains to keep their stores looking fresh, modern and up-dated; market trends and consumer demand are just two influences that may determine how often a retail chain changes its refrigerators, as Nichols explains: “The consumer expects to have a good shopping experience within their neighbourhood store, so in order to ensure this, retail chains are almost forced into five year cycles of refurbishment. Another influence for refurbishment is market trends; retailers follow both local and Eurpoean trends to ensure they have the most up-to-date equipment installed in their supermarkets.” Colcab is both aware and understanding of its clients needs to keep their supermarkets consumer friendly and looking fresh; it is therefore the company’s mission to ensure its clients have access to the latest trends and technology, as Faustmann explains: “What we really need to focus on as a company when it


CompANY PROFILE comes to the refrigerated cases is fashion and performance; retailers will go for whatever is fashionable in order to capture the market, but on the other hand we need to ensure that the cases are efficient and operate within world standards.” In order to ensure its cabinets operate efficiently and utilize the best technology, Colcab tests the cabinets extensively in order to ensure that the design criteria are achieved. The cabinets are tested in a fully equipped test laboratory, which is available for testing airflow, performance and electrical usage for both low and medium temperature. “Our cases are tested in line with BS EN specifications,” says Faustmann, “they are tested in world class laboratories, and manufactured under ISO 9001 standards. Fashion is obviously a huge influence on the cabinet’s design, but performance and energy efficiency is a critical factor.” Keeping up with global trends is imperative to Colcab, and to ensure the company is ahead of the competition Faustmann says they try to bring new product ranges into the market as often as possible. “We introduce new product ranges as often as necessary, but retailers also bring that change themselves. For example, a retailer may go overseas and return with an idea of a style they like, and ask if we can design a similar look. “In some cases you can revamp the look of the fridge, for example we will build the same basic structure of the fridge, but we will clad it in different ways to give it a different look; the internals of the fridge will remain the same but externally it will look different. “If the customer wants to change the height or width, then we would have to build a different fridge altogether, but just


“On behalf of Food Lovers Market Kuils River, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ref Tec Refrigeration and Colcab teams for their professional services rendered and for going the extra mile for us. “Your teams exceeded our expectations with regards to meeting the deadlines and still maintaining an excellent standard of work. “Thank you for making the impossible possible.” Regards Herman Fouche’ (Owner) Food Lovers Market – De Kuilen Kuils River, Cape Town.



COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL & MARINE REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS REF TEC SYSTEMS - AN INDUSTRY LEADER Founded by Vaughan Abrahams and Hendrik Potgieter, each equipped with a unique skill and passion for the industry, have developed a company that today stands proud and is acknowledged as an industry leader in the commercial refrigeration sector throughout the Western Cape and now, Gauteng regions. Today Ref Tec has become somewhat of a household name within the commercial retail sector. Our highest priority puts focus on service delivery ensuring our clients’ needs are constantly met. To ensure this we employ a highly skilled team of artisans and labourers alike. Ref Tec thrives on building long lasting relationships, not only with our clients but also with our suppliers ensuring we have optimal buying power and delivery flexibility so as to remain competitive without compromising on quality. Our innovative flexible approach to projects enables us to continually adapt to the constraints and eventualities that affect project completion and delivery dates. Our Team Excels at being professional, reliable and accountable. Believes in team work with all project participants. Understand the cost of inaccuracy. Aims to improve every day by anticipating our customers’ needs.

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to change the external look, that can be done by utilising different cladding.”

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT Since its inception within the South African market, Colcab have expanded rapidly and now export to customers in Namibia, Australia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Sri Lanka. The company’s growth over the years has been fairly organic, and Faustmann admits that as its clients expand and grow into new markets, it opens up new doors for the business. “When it comes to the African market, we are able to expand alongside our customers; as they open new stores across the continent, they take our services with them and we are able to enter the market that way. “Then of course networking; we have many strong relationships and networks within the industry, and through that we are able to export into different countries,” it is these close knit relationships which further emphasise the company’s excellent reputation, and contribute to its expansion. As part of the company’s expansion strategy, Colcab

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recently acquired the assets and intellectual property of coil manufacturer, Yucon in order to strategically grow its market share. “Yucon design and manufacture heat exchangers for our market and related markets, such as refrigeration, air conditioning, marine and agriculture. We acquired the assets and intellectual property in order to expand our own product range and customer base,” says Faustmann. “We already manufacture heat exchangers for our own use because our cases need a heat exchanger within them, and the acquisition was part of expanding and strategically growing that side of the business.” The acquisition has increased Colcab’s capability and capacity in the heat exchange market, and going forward, the company’s strategy is to further penetrate the market in order to gain more market share.


“From a quality, reliability and performance point of view, we are definitely leaders in our industry”



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