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Concrete convenience for Africa

Well-resourced, Putzmeister South Africa is a reliable provider of one-stop concrete solutions to construction sites in sub-Saharan African countries.

Driven by the philosophy “African solutions for African needs”, South African-based concrete pumps, mortar machines, industrial pumps and truck-mounted transit mixers manufacturer, Putzmeister South Africa is able to meet the exact requirements of mega infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa sufficiently.

While most South African suppliers engage local agents, Putzmeister South Africa’s Managing Director, Ludwig Geyser, tells Construction Review that his organisation works more efficiently by dealing with sub-Saharan Africa clients directly from South Africa.

“As soon as we sell a machine to a customer a relationship starts. We believe that a product is only as good as its after-service. Hence, we ensure that every machine that we have sold is functioning perfectly.

“When a customer experiences a problem, we often use telephonic troubleshooting. However, it is only when we can’t solve it that we send someone. We have several travelling technicians on hand,” he says.

Putzmeister offers a comprehensive after-sale service to its customers in Africa and its warehouse in Honeydew, Johannesburg, has a steady supply of replacement parts.

Practical solutions

Through experience and timeous market research, Putzmeister has succeeded in developing a  market outside South Africa, says Geyser.

“Realising that, while technology that works in South Africa is generally accepted it is not always practical. That’s why, with our factories, we have developed low tech Africa-specific machines that have simplified hydraulics and electronics making fault finding easier. The products are simple, manually operated. Furthermore, they are mainly diesel-driven, convenient for most parts of Africa which have little or no access to electricity,” he explains, adding that although low-tech, the products are made to Germany quality specifications in accordance with ISO 9001 standards.

With guaranteed availability of machines and spares from its factories, Putzmeister is able to meet demand in any country within their allocated region.

Tailored turnkey package

Putzmeister’s unique approach to African needs can also be reflected in the turnkey package tailored made for customers. Putzmeister South Africa supplies the batching plants where concrete is produced, truck-mounted and trailer-mounted concrete pumps, concrete mixers for a complete concrete solution.

“With regards to Africa, we have had to diversify and broaden our horizons in terms of product spectrum to create a convenient one-stop shop kind of service,” explains Geyser.

Remarkable growth

Putzmeister’s unique approach has paid off substantially, with tremendous growth experienced in countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to name a few. Its recent supply contracts include Dar Es Salaam-based projects, the Pension Towers and the Port Authority Building – which will be the tallest building in the area once completed – the I-Towers Phase 1 and 2 in Gaborone, Botswana, and the expansion of various mines in the DRC and Zambia.

To a degree, Geyser believes the company’s success in implementing German machines in Africa has been facilitated by the groundbreaking success of Putzmeister products in projects globally. “The fact that our brand is well known in a way opens the door for us sometimes,” he says.

He adds: “In the main, what works to our advantage is that every construction project in Africa needs a concrete pump. Further, we are the only group that can supply a truly turnkey project in the region – sub-Saharan Africa including the Indian Ocean Islands (Madagascar, Reunion, Seychelles, and Mauritius).”

With South African construction and in infrastructure sector in a stagnant state, Putzmeister hopes to capitalise on steady demand for complete concrete solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. It is aiming to utilise events like Bauma Africa to increase its footprint.

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