‘Since Coates Brothers’ acquisition in 2000, we have been steadily integrating ourselves into and deriving benefits from the structures provided by Sun Chemical,’ explains MD, John Bisset, in a recent letter to key customers. ‘This has been part of a deliberate strategic plan to improve efficiencies, with the specific intent of delivering greater value to our customers,’ the letter continues.
So, we ask, what exactly does this mean for customers?
‘It means we’re transforming the company to help our customers compete in today’s dynamic business environment through our commitment to quality, service and innovation,’ John answers.
The Sun Chemical acquisition in 2000 was a watershed year – requiring much adjustment and internal reorganisation. But now structures are firmly in place, and John and his team are clearly invigorated by being part of the global Sun Chemical business. ‘We’re really intent on capitalising on being part of Sun Chemical,’ John says. ‘We have the backing of the group’s extensive R&D facilities, and can provide local printers with leading-edge ink technology, as well as innovative solutions to match all their needs. This is crucial, as it’s our mission to be an extension of each customer’s business,’ he insists.
‘It’s time to retire the good ship Coates,’ he quips.
Yes, a good ship it certainly has been, with a proud 75-year history in South Africa. And now the name is disappearing, replaced with a name that is a global brand, and has global recognition.
Quality, service, innovation
Reflecting further on the quality, service and innovation ethic, key accounts manager Gerrie Odendaal underlines the guaranteed consistency that come from providing world-class products to the local market. ‘We’re engaged on a programme to further improve our offering of top-quality, innovative products and services to the South African printing market, and to the broader African market as well,’ he comments.
‘Although the company name has changed, we still have a rock-solid history of 75 years’ knowledge and experience in serving customers locally – and nothing can change that,’ he adds.
The newly-named Sun Chemical South Africa enjoys a ‘global footprint’, with access to detailed information on formulations, applications and best practices; extensive R&D facilities; effective raw material sourcing; continual dialogue on an international basis with suppliers, customers and press manufacturers; and information on global innovations and new directions.
On the innovations front, Sun Chemical’s breakthroughs in ink and pigment technology contribute to ever-improving press performance and efficiencies. ‘Sun has ten R&D centres worldwide,’ Gerrie states proudly, ‘and the company averages two new patents per month. Add to this our service innovations, such as the revitalised in-plant offerings that we’re currently working on, and we believe we’re able to bring an enticing value proposition to current and prospective customers.’
A move to centralised manufacturing
As part of the new-look South African operation, the management team has considered the cost-effective deployment of the company’s manufacturing and technical service resources, especially in the face of shifting market trends. As a result, some initiatives are being implemented in the coming months. ‘We’ll be centralising our manufacturing to regions where it makes sense to do so, in order to achieve improved product consistency and to derive better economies of scale,’ John Bisset explains. ‘Not only will we retain a focused presence in all markets and regions we service but our aim is to improve service. We’re also reorganising our renowned technical resources and skills in a way that will improve customer focus and delivery value.’
It’s not only South African customers who will benefit from these various initiatives – the company continues to make inroads into the rest of the African continent. ‘With Sun Chemical’s commitment to further investment in the South African business, as well as our business interests in other African territories, we intend strengthening our leadership position, which will address customer needs at an even higher level,’ John asserts.