Capital Equipment News

By Munesu Shoko

Key investments into aftermarket support capabilities have seen Ever Star Industries (ESI) turn around the fortunes of the Shantui brand since taking over the local dealership some three years ago. Testimony to the success of the customer-centric approach was the recent global excellence award from Shantui, while eight machine sales during bauma CONEXPO AFRICA reflect the brand’s upward trajectory in southern Africa. 

Ever Star on an upward tracjectory

Having a good product is one thing, and being able to offer crucial backup and parts support once the particular product is operational in the field, is quite another. Based on a clear understanding of this notion, in 2014, Shantui abandoned its subsidiary approach in southern Africa and appointed Ever Star Industries, the local distributor of Powerstar trucks in the region, as its authorised dealer. The move allowed the brand to leverage ESI’sstrong dealer network of over 15 full dealers across the region, complemented by the distributor’s financial strength to keep a sizeable inventory of parts to better service Shantui customers operating across the region.

Three-and-a-half years later, the move has already paid strong dividends, according to Dirk Poley, national sales manager – Yellow Equipment at ESI. Speaking to Capital Equipment News at the recently-ended bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, Poley pointed out that a strong share of the local bulldozer market, growing customer satisfaction, a recent bronze award from Shantui in China and increasing machine sales, are key indicators that Shantui is on an upward trajectory in the local market.

Poley also reiterates that the recent success at bauma CONEXPO AFRICA 2018 reflects the hard work ESI has put in reviving the fortunes of the Chinese brand in the local market. “We concluded a total of eight deals during the show, and this reflects the level of confidence local southern African customers have in the brand,” says Poley. “A total of eight machines were sold to local South African customers. These included three SD16 dozers and three SG21-3 graders. Two SD22W dozers were sold to a Democratic Republic of Congo customer.”

 “A total of eight machines were sold to local South African customers. These included three SD16 dozers and three SG21-3 graders. Two SD22W dozers were sold to a Democratic Republic of Congo customer.

Aftermarket is key

Poley says when ESI took over the distribution and support duties of the Shantui brand, the supplier had its work cut out, especially its dozer range,already rated highly in the local market, was no exaggeration. Shantui is regarded the bulldozer king in China, holding about 60% share of the domestic Chinese dozer market.

Back in 2010, it went on to become the largest producer of bulldozers by volume on a global scale, making over 10 000 units that year, representing two in five crawler-type dozers produced in the world. The next largest producer by number of units was Caterpillar. At present, Shantui’s annual production capacity exceeds 15 000 dozers.  

In a 200-unit per year South African dozer market, Shantui holds between 5% and 10% share of the market. Despite the dominance of premium OEMs in this market segment, Shantui is the third biggest supplier of dozers by volume in South Africa, behind Caterpillar and Komatsu. Since its arrival in southern Africa back in 2010, the Chinese construction equipment maker has well over 600 units operating in the field.   

Despite a strong reputation, a lacklustre support structure didn’t do the brand any favours before ESI assumed the support duties in 2014. Poley admits that it took the Chinese OEMs some time to understand that aftermarket support is a key business driver in export markets, contrary to the approach in their Chinese domestic market. He reasons that local customers rank parts and service support high up the list of key influencers of their buying decisions. “When we took over the dealership, we already knew that the quality of the product was never a point of contention, but a lot needed to be done from an aftermarket point of view,” says Poley.   

“During the past three years, we have had a greater focus on boosting our aftermarket support structures for the brand. We have invested significantly in this area. For example, one of the first things we did was to invest into a massive parts stockholding of about R80-million. We also have five chief technicians supporting our network of eight well-supported dealerships,” says Poley.

The interventions have steered the brand to a strong market standing. ESI was recently awarded a Global Bronze Medal for high sales at a Shantui dealership conference held in China. This was in recognition of the strides the local distributor has made in increasing sales and customer satisfaction in southern Africa.

Positive outlook

According to David Gao, Chief Operating Officer of Shantui at Ever Star Industries is optimistic that the yellow metal equipment market will build on last year’s uptick to record much higher growth this year. According to figures released by the Construction and Mining Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CONMESA), earthmoving and mining equipment sales moved strongly upwards during 2017 to break a three-year downward cycle that had gripped the industry since the second quarter of 2014.

CONMESA figures show that 5 614 new units were sold during 2017, representing a healthy 18,3% increase over the 2016 results. Until then the decline in sales had seen the number of units sold dwindle from 7 250 units in 2013 to a low of 4 747 in 2016.

A new political era in South Africa and Zimbabwe has ushered in a new wave of business confidence and Gao is optimistic that, together with a rebounding mining sector, this will have a positive impact on the overall growth of the equipment sector.   

“We have already seen that 2018 is signalling to be a year of significant growth for the industry. Since January this year we have already sold about 35 machines, which is a key reflector that there is an upward sales trend in the local market. Our success at bauma CONEXPO AFRICA is also testimony to the good times ahead. We are confident of better economic prospects in South Africa and southern Africa at large this year,” concludes Gao.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Email: capnews@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Email: elmaries@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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