What are South Africa’s competitive advantages?
First of all, South Africa has infrastructure. We have good roads, we have a very good banking sector and we are able to move money wherever we want it in the world. We still have good levels of expertise; there are people who are very skilled in South Africa compared to the rest of Africa, particularly in manufacturing.
With regards to innovation how do you stay at the cutting edge of the field?
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, South Africa suffered from sanctions, which meant a lot of what was manufactured had to be technologically innovative. A lot of innovation has taken place out of necessity.
Much of the rest of the world has a myopic focus. For example, if someone manufactures diesel engines, they will know nothing about petrol engines. Whereas in South Africa we won’t just make the diesel engine but will probably manufacture the truck too.
My company might deal with four or five products a week at any given time. A product might come up that we have never seen in our lives. We will have to manufacture it and it has to be done quickly. In that sense we have a bit of a market niche and typically South African reinvent themselves pretty quickly. Whether it is shorter volumes and business opportunities, we grab them.
What are the differences in doing business in different African countries?
We’ve done business in Angola, Botswana, Dubai, Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria. Every country has its own set of rules and items that you need to know. For example, we are currently exporting boilers to Mozambique. Because we are part of SADC, the parts of the product are not taxable if they are built in South Africa. But if they open the container and find an item in there that was not made in South Africa they will apply a 20% duty on that item even if it is a part of a system.
“…People can invest their money in Africa. If an investor is looking to partner up and are looking for a platform into Africa I believe South Africa is it…”
How do you create partnerships on the African continent?
You need to have someone on the ground that you trust. It’s the same in South Africa. If you want to do business here you better have someone on the ground here. There needs to be someone that understands each company’s challenges.
Could you please tell us more about your solar projects?
One of the opportunities in South Africa is that a lot of homes don’t have any boilers. The average RDP (Reconstruction and Development Program) house has no hot water and some of them still have a communal tap. We produce solar hot water heaters and we have a contract to supply those heaters to the Low Cost Housing Projects. This means individuals in low cost housing have hot water, purely from the sun.
Do you think South African solutions can be taken elsewhere in the world?
We are starting to export a little bit more into Africa. As a manufacturer I am always trying to drive our price down, make it quicker, simpler and more competitive. We do that actively all the time while keeping the standard of quality. We never compromise on the quality because in the long-term quality will prevail.
People who originally bought have realised that our products work, they make your water hot consistently and don’t need servicing. Our customers’ complaints are not even at 0.002 percent of what we have sold.
Where do you see Press Dynamik in the next three to five years?
As Press Dynamik we hope we will be selling far more solar water heaters. We as Press Dynamik are hoping to clock in and sell more products. We are different to the rest of the world. We kind of had nothing and we don’t have the same communication structures. We don’t have the fastest Internet in the world. There are many opportunities on the housing fronts and there is a lot of infrastructure spending to be done.
What solutions is South Africa bringing to the world?
We have a huge abundance of labour and innovation. People can invest their money in Africa. If an investor is looking to partner up and are looking for a platform into Africa I believe South Africa is it. I understand one could go to other countries but I don’t believe they have the infrastructure levels.Pick the right partners, pick the right people and come and visit. South Africa can offer an alternative place to purchase your product.