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COVER STORY

Pamodzi delivers quality time and again Local pump manufacturers can, and do, keep company with the best in the world. Not only do products measure up quality-wise, but keeping it local often also makes sense from a cost and operational point of view. Pipes, Pumps & Valves Africa sat down with Holly Smith, Supply Chain Manager at Pamodzi Unique Engineering, a level 1 BBBEE company, to find out why local manufacturing is so important. For years now local pump manufacturers have been under threat – on the one side the large multinationals and the other cheap imports that in tough economic times have continued to gain attractiveness. "Developing a local company and strong brand is not easy," says Smith indicating that the challenges are real. "From the get-go, we have kept import items too as few as possible by sourcing most of our material locally. That in itself has been challenging at times however we’ve made some compromises to ensure that we support local suppliers.” But, she says, there is no doubt that local pump producers do produce quality products that meet even the most stringent requirements of the international market. "At Pamodzi we have persevered despite the many challenges that have come our way and we have developed a range of products that meet stringent industry quality and safety standards," she says. "It has required hard work and determination, but we stand behind our products. We have managed to hold to our goals of being as local as we can."

Real benefit The benefit of supporting local manufacturing speak for themselves. Not only does it have a positive economic impact and helping in alleviating unemployment, but it also introduces flexibility into the supply chain. According to Smith, one of the greatest benefits of using a local pump manufacturer is the proximity between the producer and buyer or end-users. “Being near the pump producer means a customer can access our expertise far easier than if they are situated elsewhere in the world. From being able to meet in person

and build relationships, to them coming into our facilities to look at the production process, there is a much closer relationship than what would be the case if they were importing a generic pump from elsewhere in the world.” For Smith, the proximity also means reduced lead times. "Because of local sourcing and local production we can improve turnaround times and pumps are available quicker.” That means plant downtime is decreased which in turn has a direct impact on cost. “At the same time one is also able to mitigate risk faster or introduce corrective action should it be necessary," she explains. "Because of the closer proximity, there is improved understanding of the possibilities and/or limitations of any particular process or product and the ability to address these faster.” It comes down to having a hand on the proverbial pulse. “We can meet more regulatory requirements and there is far more collaboration between producer and pump buyer than would otherwise be the case.” According to Smith being able to address local needs is also often at times easier for a local manufacturer that has a real understanding of the local pump operating conditions.

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