Capital Equipment News

A part of its one-stop shop approach to the provision of compact gear, Smith Power Equipment has signed an exclusive distributorship agreement with AUSA, allowing the local distributor to offer a full range of the Spanish OEM’s equipment in southern Africa, writes Munesu Shoko.

Reinforcing the compact strategy

In line with its compact approach, Smith Power Equipment used the recently-ended bauma CONEXPO AFRICA to present a range of new products from several new international partners, namely AUSA, Haulotte and Italian attachment manufacturer, Cangini. The new distributorship agreements with the internationally-renowned brands further reiterates the local distributor’s pioneering position in the local compact market. Bear in mind that the new ranges join an ever-growing and updated line of compact excavators from leading international manufacturer, Kubota, already distributed locally by Smith Power since 2014.

Of interest to Capital Equipment News was the distribution agreement with AUSA, a leading Spanish OEM renowned for its extensive range of dumpers, rough terrain forklifts and all-terrain telescopic handlers. The exclusive distribution agreement, which allows Smith Power to offer AUSA’s full range, was signed in September 2017. Tom Bloom, general manager for Construction Equipment at Smith Power Equipment, says a key deciding factor in opting for this gear is that it fits perfectly into the local distributor’s compact strategy. Added to that is the fact that AUSA’s range of equipment is powered by Kubota engines, which are already distributed and supported by Smith Power locally.

Mario Torres, regional manager for Africa at AUSA, tells Capital Equipment News that the Spanish OEM is excited to have partnered a well-established dealer of Smith Power Equipment’s stature. He is optimistic that the distributorship agreement will further boost AUSA’s business in Africa, a hub which already represents 8-10% of the Spanish OEM’s global business. AUSA has three previous distributors in the local market, but Torres believes Smith Power’s extensive footprint and dedicated compact strategy will be key to further growing the brand locally.

Full range

Bloom is mostly excited about AUSA’s range of rough terrain forklifts which gives the company the much needed traction into arduous working conditions. “AUSA forklifts are versatile machines capable of handling heavy loads on rough and sloping terrain. This makes them suitable for construction, mining, agriculture and industrial applications,” explains Bloom, adding that the wide line of off-road and semi-industrial models ranges from 2,5 t to 3,5 t.

“We have a specific focus on three models. These are the D150, an entry level model with a 1,5 t load capacity, as well as the D250 (2,5 t) and the D350 (3,5 t). We have initially brought in the D250 and D350 models, and both units have already been sold. We have also imported two Tauralifts, and we are busy closing deals on these machines,” adds Bloom.

AUSA is a big name in the global dumper market and offers the most varied range in this market segment. Bloom maintains that compact wheel dumpers are replacing smaller trucks on many construction sites. Due to their compact size, they are now the preferred solution to transport material in particularly difficult terrain and where space is at a premium. The dumper, together with a compact excavator, is a perfect combination for urban construction.

The model range includes a rigid chassis dumper with a 1 500 kg payload, as well as the articulated dumpers from 2 500 to 3 500 kg. “There are 4WD, 2WD, mechanical, hydrostatic and torque converter transmissions available in combination with front loading and swivel unloading hoppers. We also have available options for self-loading shovel, backhoe and sweeper,” explains Bloom. At the time of writing, Bloom expected the first models in the country in April.

Meanwhile, AUSA also offers one of the widest line of compact all-terrain telehandlers, with capacities from 1,5 to 2 t. “The range has two models that are highly compact, designed to work in open spaces under very extreme conditions, as well as narrow semi-enclosed spaces with difficult access,” explains Bloom. “The versatility of the telescopic arm allows positioning at height, but also to the front, which makes the range ideal for handling materials on site.”

More ranges

Apart from AUSA, Smith has also added the Haulotte range of telehandlers to its stable. Haulotte offers three ranges – Compact, High Lift and Heavy Load. The range is said to have a special design focus on minimising operator fatigue through well-laid ergonomics. 

To allow its customers to further benefit from the versatility of its compact gear, Smith has also extended its product offering with the full range of Cangini attachments. The distributorship agreement – to cover the whole of southern Africa – was concluded in September last year. “With Cangini, we are able to offer a wide range of attachments, from crusher buckets, winches, brackets, quick hitches, to screening buckets, grapples, wood grabs, mulchers, augurs, rippers, broom sweepers and pallet forks,” says Bloom.

Bloom says the attachment solutions can also be used for other manufacturers’ equipment to allow multi-brand equipment owners to maximise versatility on their different pieces of equipment. However, Bloom reiterates that the Cangini product is predominantly focused on compact equipment, from 14 t tool carries downwards. “We have previously sourced attachments from Cangini to supply to our customers over a number of years, but we have since tied up the exclusive distribution towards the end of last year.”

Growing compact market

Although the trend towards compact equipment is still very much in its infancy locally compared with international markets, Bloom is adamant that the future is compact and there are clear signs that the market is on a sustainable growth path.

He says the 100% sales growth year-on-year since it introduced its Kubota range of mini excavators is testimony that there is a steady uptake of this gear in the local market. However, he believes that education remains key if the market is to further grow locally. “We continue to educate our customers on the greater potential of this gear. Compact equipment is a trend that has been proven globally. Our strategy is to grow this market, through education and demonstration,” says Bloom.

Bloom adds that Smith Power is working towards being a one-stop shop for all things compact, and the local distributor will carefully seek further distribution agreements with international suppliers to offer a full, but complementary compact range. “We are aggressive, but also cautious that we continuously offer our customers the best service, while experiencing growth,” adds Bloom.

“We are fully aware of the importance of service and we continue to invest heavily in this area of our business,” says Bloom. Smith Power recently opened a new branch in Cape Town in November last year. On March 1 this year, the company opened another branch in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. The local compact specialist has also invested in additional support vehicles to look after its existing customers and dealers. Meanwhile, the appointment of Eugene Brown, a proven compact expert and former president of Wacker Neuson’s sub-Saharan Africa business, to head up Smith Power’s sales division is a statement of intent to set a compact empire in southern Africa.

“One of our strengths is our footprint. We currently have over 50 dealers and branches throughout South Africa. We continuously work with our dealers and branches to provide customers with product, solutions and aftersales service,” concludes Bloom.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108