Delivering quality on time
The 2009 FOCUS on Excellence Award for Best Supplier of Trailers, Tankers and Bodies went to Afrit, a pioneering company that’s been in the industry for over 30 years. FOCUS finds out what sets this trailer manufacturer apart from others in the minds of operators.
The South African trailer industry is incredibly competitive, especially at the moment. Not only is it populated by a large number of players; it has also been severely affected by the economic crisis, a fall in commodity prices and a reduction in demand for consumer goods.
Despite this, however, Afrit has managed to retain an edge over the competition. While many manufacturers are forced to close their doors, Afrit has been able to hold onto a 25% market share.
But what is the secret to this success? Considering the company’s iconic status within the industry and its 30-year legacy, it’s clear that Afrit has struck upon a recipe for success.
“We try to remain adaptable and sustainable in our operations,” says Leon van de Wetering, sales manager for Afrit. “We have invested heavily in sophisticated design and manufacturing technology over the years, and are also always striving to improve our processes and systems. By doing this, we are able to offer transport operators trailers that boast excellent payload capacity and reliability.”
Creating these efficient, cost effective trailers begins with innovative design. According to Van de Wetering, Afrit’s success is due in large part to its leading-edge trailer design.
“The quality of our trailers is the result of a very thorough design process. Our designers are always trying to improve the design of our trailers – to make them lighter and more efficient – without having to compromise on quality or durability,” asserts Van de Wetering.
Another important ingredient in the creation of a dependable trailer is the use of high-quality components. With this in mind, Afrit has its own state-of-the-art component division where components are manufactured for use in the company’s trailers.
“We decided to manufacture our own components, rather than outsource the operation, because it allows us to lower costs, have more control over quality and increase production speed,” says Van de Wetering.
In order to satisfy customer needs, trailer manufacturers must be able to deliver products on time. While the quality of a trailer is undoubtedly important, the speed with which it can be delivered is equally crucial. Because of this, Afrit has four production lines that are each dedicated to the production of an individual product group.
“By focusing on one product group per production line we are able to improve the quality of the trailers, as well as increase the speed with which the trailers can be built. Our commitment to quality is incorporated into the production process with each of the four lines being individually managed to ensure improved efficiency and quality,” states Van de Wetering. “However, the lines are constructed in such a way that they can be easily adapted to produce the trailer type most in demand within the market at any given time.”
Overall, Afrit’s success can be attributed to an unwavering commitment to quality manufacturing and excellent customer service.
“We live by our company slogan of ‘quality on time’. We always try to deliver the highest quality trailer in the shortest period possible, because we know how important it is to maximise operators’ uptime,” concludes Van de Wetering.