Strength lies in numbers

Strength lies in numbers

Bigger is definitely better. Or that is what the TFM Group believes. MARCEL TROUT meets the decision makers.

When Gus Modlin, the founder of TFM, started the company in 1966, it specialised in truck customisation, maintenance and repair, and then entered the armoured vehicle production industry in the late 1970s. His vision to customise trucks for the commercial vehicle industry, by designing the abnormal and heavyweight vehicles, has grown exponentially. Today the company is a globally recognised firm and has branches across South Africa, as well as international alliances.

The TFM Group recently decided to spice things up a little by merging all the companies in the group into one countrywide operation. A total of 10 entities have merged into one, with a central management board. Each business division will still continue to operate with a large amount of independence. The new board took office on 1 July, with Johan van der Merwe (managing director of TFM Industries) and Brian Harmse (managing director of Fabkomp) as joint executive chairmen and Mike Tomsett as chief executive officer (CEO). Tomsett believes this development will be welcomed by customers as it widens the group’s product and service offering. This will facilitate national service and warranty back-up, making the group much more competitive in the marketplace.

“The consolidation will offer significant benefits and savings in terms of economies of scale and synergies in the areas of marketing, purchasing, distribution and administration. We do not foresee any retrenchments at this early stage. We have a workforce of more than 1 400 dedicated people and we feel the consolidated business will be in a better position to expand its operations, and also generate further growth in its export business.”

The company will now have a national footprint with operational facilities strategically placed throughout South Africa, offering experienced and effective sales, service and manufacturing teams nationwide. The TFM group has formed a number of international partnerships. The group is known and respected in Germany, France, England and the USA for its innovative design capabilities.

TFM has over the years ventured into different markets by building products such as ambulances, waste compactors, concrete mixers, tipper trucks and armoured cash-in-transit vehicles as well as components for the automotive and engineering industries, fuel tanks and trailers of all sizes. It has also carried out alterations to truck chassis. The product range extends to motorcycles with sidecars for use as ambulances in remote rural areas in Africa under the eRanger name.

The merger sees the existing companies – TFM Industries (Olifansfontein), TFM Wynberg Manufacturing (Johannesburg), Fabkomp (King Williams Town), TFM Manufacturing (East London), TFM Conversions (East London), TFM Cargo Bodies (Olifansfontein), Signs for You (Midrand) and the Ranger Production Company (King Williams Town) – coming together to operate as one. Leading suppliers of waste and environmental equipment, as well as agents of the TFM group – Transteach Cape and Hydracare Natal – have also joined to make the company even more versatile, better and stronger.

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