Selling solutions not just products

By | 2019-06-21T07:45:54+00:00 June 12th, 2019|

By Tarren Bolton | Photos by Mandirk Lifting

Offering 360° lifting solutions from all angles and directions.

Mandirk Lifting general manager, Jaco Vorster.

Mandirk Lifting general manager,
Jaco Vorster.

Mandirk Lifting is part of the Mandirk Group, a specialist supplier of engineering tools and equipment for Maintenance, Repair and Operating (MRO) applications in a range of industrial sectors.

The lifting division was established to extend the group’s service offering and total solutions approach, under GM Jaco Vorster, who points out that management has more than 30 years’ combined experience in the lifting industry. “We cater for all tooling needs and lifting solutions in a number of sectors: the motor industry, tyre manufacturing, paper and pulp, sugar and salt, forestry, marine and offshore and mining,” says Vorster.

“In addition to our extensive expertise, we also have a comprehensive inventory of equipment and spares stockholding and can leverage off the almost 250-branch network that the Mandirk Group has access to through its holding company ESG,” Vorster adds. The equipment range includes mechanical ratchet jacks, hydraulic pumps and cylinders, chain and lever blocks, geared and plain crawls, pneumatic hoists and winches, Tirfors and ropes, mechanical grabs and clamps and slings (chains, polyester and steel wire rope), together with inspection and proof load testing services.

The internationally-renowned brands represented by Mandirk Lifting includes Enerpac, a leading manufacturer of hydraulics tools, equipment and bolting solutions; KITO (electric chain hoists, manual chain blocks and lever hoists, with SABS permits on the manual units as well as the chain); Ingersoll Rand (lifting and materials-handling); Liftall (chain blocks and lever hoists); and below-the-hook (sling protection and load hugger cargo control.) Lifting tackle brands available include Myte, McKinnon Chain and Umoya.

Focus on solutions

“Most lifting companies will focus on doing a lift,” says Vorster. “We focus on doing a lift from all angles where we use lifting machinery to lift from above, and hydraulics to lift from below and from the sides. Hence, we deploy a 360° lifting solution from all angles, along with all the tooling to support the application – therefore offering a full solution.”

Not only does Mandirk Lifting offer complete solutions tailored to suit specific requirements, but they also cater for different budgets. “We offer different products for different markets. For example, we have high-efficiency products like Enerpac and KITO. These are for customers who buy into ‘cost of ownership’ to use in the long run. Then we have entry-level products on lifting machinery, which are for customers who just want to buy a product to get the job done, but these products are still SANS compliant and international recognised. The most obvious reason for expanding our offer in this way is, of course, cost-effectiveness,” explains Vorster.

“What gives us the leading edge in the marketplace is that we have the full support and back-up of all of the global brands we represent, which gives us a depth of technical support that is hugely beneficial to our customers. In addition, all of our global brands are not only SANS- and SABS-compliant, but subscribe to all relevant international regulations and accreditation,” Vorster points out.

“Having the support of OEMs on all our products means that if anything happens, the OEM provides us with backup. All our products are traceable to the factory of manufacture, so we don’t lose traceability and traceability means accountability. The products we sell have international reputations; they are world-renowned. Should anything go wrong after a sale, the OEM takes on the responsibility because they have their product name and reputation to consider. That is our backup and assurance to the customer,” says Vorster.

Mandirk has the full support and back-up of all of the global brands they represent, giving them a depth of technical support that is hugely beneficial to their customers.

Mandirk has the full support and back-up of all of the global brands they represent, giving them a depth of technical support that is hugely beneficial to their customers.

Training and development

An ongoing training and skills development programme ensures that Mandirk Lifting’s personnel are up-to-date with the latest trends and developments.
Vorster says, “Our salespeople and technical specialists in the field are trained by the OEMs on technical aspects as well as product development. We always try to be one step ahead. If a customer’s needs develop into a certain area, we will develop and improve on the skills and mindset of our own salespeople and specialists – which is our core focus.”

Safety and compliance

A unique offering from Mandirk is that its lifting solutions include a full product risk-assessment, giving clients peace of mind that they comply fully with all regulatory requirements, as well as ensuring the safety of all personnel.

The importance of the on-site service offered by Mandirk Lifting is that testing and certification of lifting equipment is not only a legal requirement in South Africa but must be conducted by qualified specialists with access to calibrated testing equipment. It also issues certificates for all new equipment sold, in addition to inspecting, testing and certifying equipment that is already in the field.

Mandirk Lifting complies fully with the requirements of the Lifting Machine and Lifting Tackle Regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993. The company is a certified member of the Lifting Equipment Engineering Association of South Africa (LEEASA) and a certified member of the Chamber of Engineering Technology (COET).

Its lifting machinery inspectors are certified in terms of the Engineering Profession Act 2000 (Act No46 of 2000), and it is a registered member of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). The Department of Labour has approved the company in terms of the Driven Machinery Regulations 18(5) of the Occupational and Safety Act, 1993 for examining and testing lifting machines and lifting tackles.

Vorster explains that a competent person determines whether the equipment is safe to use and is qualified to make recommendations on safety. “There are serious repercussions for non-compliance. An example is equipment from overseas which is not compliant with SANS and may have a non-compliant technical point – such as the hooks – which don’t yield or open on an overload. If there’s no indication of safety or cost of ownership, if the product breaks, if it doesn’t operate within duty cycles, then it doesn’t comply. At the end of the day, non-compliant products result in fatalities. The responsibility associated with operating lifting machinery is immense – you have the responsibility to ensure that your end users and employees go home safely at the end of a working shift. Therefore, you have to make use of compliant products,” says Vorster.

All our products are traceable to the factory of manufacture, so we don’t lose traceability, and traceability means accountability.”
– Jaco Vorster, Mandirk Lifting general manager

Solution-centred

“We assess the customer’s application needs and then offer the customer an array of products to get the job done. Our focus is not only on a specific item, but rather a group of products to make life easier for the customer. We have specialists in network branches who oversee projects by going out to the end user to ascertain the application and customer needs for themselves,” elaborates Vorster.

“We provide tools and products that suit a customer’s application. For example, marine and offshore products and machinery have a high IP and ED rating. In this instance, our products handle environmental conditions offering a certain degree of corrosion and moisture. Another example is food-grade, where our KITO food-grade hoists incorporate a special type of lifting machinery hoist designed solely for food-trade applications such as for fisheries, abattoirs, wineries and so on. Everything in this equipment is sterile – even the grease inside. The plating is a type of silver to prevent bacteria from settling on the parts. These products also have a very high IP and ED rating, so they can withstand vigorous cleaning with high-pressure hoses, for instance,” he explains.

Aftersales

“When a customer purchases a solution from us, we visit the customer to provide on-site training on the products. Some customers, like the mining houses, prefer to use one of our training centres when they purchase a product. Before they put a product in their plant, they visit one of our training centres where they receive all the necessary information and instruction on how to use the product. Included in all training is instruction on maintenance and upkeep to ensure the long life of all products and tools, as well as information and instruction on safety features. Once a customer is listed with us as linked to a certain product, we offer the customer new and updated information and products available. We are available for any training requirements. The customer’s needs always come first after the sale; our involvement doesn’t end with the sale,” adds Vorster.

Stockholding

“When a customer wants to carry out a lift, there’s specific tools involved. There’s lifting tackle and other equipment to make it all easier. Our vast stockholding means there is no waiting period for stock on consumable products and our products are also repairable. Most other products imported to South Africa are discarded once they need repair because it’s not cost-effective to repair them. All our product spares and parts are available from our stockholding and we repair using OEM parts. This is where the total cost of ownership comes into play,” says Vorster.

Challenges

“Our challenge as a company is to be a market leader in lifting machinery and hydraulics and to always be one step ahead of our opposition when it comes to development. In order to do this, we link our products with good international reputations and therefore decrease our risk and liability in the group. You have to adapt and keep up with technology according to customer needs. We don’t merely sell a product; we sell a solution. Because of our large suite of products, we can offer a customer a choice from A to Z in lifting from all angles,” concludes Vorster.