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Top Fix

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company profile

The one stop business Editorial: Harriet Pattison Production: Ajuanne Payne

Founded in 1999, Top Fix has come a long way in just 14 short years. An enterprise heavily focused on service, capital investment and, perhaps most importantly, its people, are the ingredients for a truly successful business.

Top Fix began its early days as a service and personnel outsourcing company, providing scaffolding management services, and, through its sister company MBM, scaffolding personnel to construction and industrial companies across Southern Africa. It wasn’t long before Founder and Managing Director, Webber Marais, realised an alternative and much more lucrative gap in the market: “As we grew, we saw the opportunity of manufacturing and hiring out our own equipment which is where it all started. Entry into the scaffolding market is really expensive; you need a lot of CAPEX, that’s why we decided in 2006 to raise that capital to manufacturing our own scaffolding. We believed it to be a real opportunity.”

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Marais was right. At the start of 2006, he explains: “There were 4 companies: MBM Administration and Labour Brokers, M&S Projects, personnel outsourcing companies started in the early 1990’s, and Top Fix Scaffolding and Safety Adherence Technology, both founded in 1999. We went on to list these companies at the end of 2006, mainly to raise the capital to expand and manufacturer more equipment and to really compete in the boom of 2006 and early 2007. After the market went down I bought the scaffolding and MBM side out of the listed Group at the beginning of 2012.”

A ONE STOP SERVICE Originally focusing on the building and civil

Top Fix

industry, Marais explains the company’s focus soon shifted towards the industrial and mining sectors, especially the petrochemical market in maintenance and construction. “In 2006 to 2007 the civil and building industry had such a boom I think the timing of the listing was very good. The 2008 recession hit the building and civil industry very hard so obviously the performance of the scaffolding side was not as good as the rest of our businesses.” As a result Top Fix decided to restructure and focus much more on the maintenance side of the chemical and petrochemical industries and, perhaps most importantly, offer an innovative solution for companies: a one-stop service. “Strategically, this is a decision we took in 2007, we just supplied

scaffolding. By changing up our strategy to become a one stop service, providing scaffolding, insulation and industrial coating, we could compete in the petrochemical industry which we couldn’t do before” Marais says. “To compete in this industry you need the scaffolding, the insulation and the painting expertise. With the scaffolding alone you can’t get a maintenance contract because the client wants a turn-key service.” Offering such a convenient and efficient service to various industries, Marais explains that for the moment, the company will remain operating and focusing within Southern Africa, despite expanding fourfold in just two years. From under 1 000 employees in 2012, the company

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company profile

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now has over 3,000 members of staff. “With an accredited training school, we focus on training all our employees. In an industry which needs to be very safe, we operate in the petrochemical plants, is an area where you need really skilled and trained people, so staff training is ongoing” says Marais.

ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE With smaller companies emerging onto the market and exploring new industries, Marais explains: “There’s quite a lot of competition in the market, especially providing a service into the bigger companies, but I think we are one of the leading companies in the industry as there are not many that can provide a full service. There are a lot of smaller operators who may provide one of these services but not many with a one stop service like ours.” Reaffirming the company’s spot as a confident industry leader, Marais says, “We’ve got the infrastructure - we have 8,000 tonnes of scaffolding and we’ve got the people and obviously the expertise. We’ve been in the business for a long time and have good people protecting the assets of the company.”

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“As we grew we saw the opportunity of manufacturing our own equipment which is where it all started” The people are clearly very important to this company in helping it maintain the success it enjoys today. Marais explains: “The biggest asset is our people. We have highly skilled people and we work well as a team. We provide a safe and superior service, one of the main reasons we are doing well compared to our competition in such a short time is our people and the service they provide.”

A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS In addition to an increasingly successful team of employees, Top Fix also attributes its success to the impressive equipment infrastructure. Such a strong infrastructure is essential for a company like Top Fix to secure future projects and uphold its position as an industry leader. Marais estimates that just

Top Fix one tonne of scaffolding could cost up to 24,000 Rand today, so the company’s substantial capital investment is imperative. With plans to continue in the successful market where Top Fix currently operates, and for further involvement in petrochemical expansion projects, Marais emphasises that perhaps the company’s real recipe for success remains its people: “Going forward we are going to focus on where we are now and we want to invest more in our people. We have good people and by investing more in them we will achieve an even greater success.”


“We provide a safe and superior service, one of the main reasons we are doing well against competition in such a short time is our people and the service our people provide”

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+44 (0) 1603 411555 East Coast Promotions Ltd, 2 Ardney Rise Norwich, Norfolk NR3 3QH