A global manufacturing base, combined with strict quality control, ongoing customer liaison, and regular interaction with local distributors has allowed Band-It to make significant inroads into Africa, where it has seen an uptick in growth for the past four to five years.
The Band-It product range is distributed locally by Banding & Identification (ID) Solutions Africa, which represented the continent at a global sales conference organised by Band-It UK in October 2017. Here Sales Director Rosa Dos Remendos and Senior Sales Representative Matthew Campbell outlined how Ultra-Lok® has played such a key role in combating cable theft in South Africa.
This example of an innovative application of an existing product is the type of expertise that Band-It shares globally among both its customer and distributor base, not only to remain up-to-date with trends and developments, but to help it forge closer relationships with customers in key industries globally.
“What differentiates Band-It is that it not only sells products, but key solutions,” Paul Clark comments, who heads up sales for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. Based in Derbyshire in the UK, Clark recently paid a visit to Banding & ID Solutions Africa, which included site visits to key clients such as Rand Refinery.
Here the company has supplied 10 000 reusable Band-It cable ties as part of a 316 stainless steel strapping solution that features a performance polymer alloy (PPA) 571 coating to withstand the harsh operating conditions of the smelting complex.
Not only does a major customer such as Rand Refinery appreciate the opportunity to engage one-on-one with global Band-It management representatives such as Clark, but it also affords the company the opportunity a hands-on overview of its customer’s operational requirements.
“Our product and application knowledge is unsurpassed in the industry,” Clark stresses. “We do not have a single competitor globally with as extensive a product range, from cable ties to hose clamps, strapping, brackets, and identification systems.” All of these products are applicable to Rand Refinery, for example, where Band-It can offer a customised strapping solution for this highly-corrosive environment.
The fact that Band-It has a global manufacturing presence, in conjunction with international manufacturing and quality standards, allows it to leverage economies of scale in all of the different regions, markets, and industries in which it operates. For example, there is a dedicated Global Quality Manager and a Global Director of Manufacturing Operations, both of whom travel extensively. Clark himself has paid six visits to Africa to date, which is testament to the importance of the continent to Band-It globally.
“We always challenge the status quo in terms of what a company can do for its customers,” Filipe Prata highlights, who is Business Line Director for Band-It IDEX in Denver, Colorado in the US. Apart from a huge New Product Development (NPD) drive, a critical aim is to ensure that such innovation is disseminated directly to distributors and customers globally.
“That is why it was such an eye-opener for us to attend the global sales conference in the UK,” Dos Remendos adds. “Being able to talk to other distributors directly added immeasurably to our own knowledge base, while our own experience benefited others as well. Our ultimate aim is to service any application where our products are applicable by focusing on a total solution. It is a direct approach that our global customers have come to appreciate.”
Another key strategy for Band-It is to work directly with project houses, procurement departments, and contractors in order to ensure the brand remains top-of-mind, whether it is specified in the Middle East or in the US. “In terms of our product mix and pricing levels, we are definitely at the top end of the market. We can effectively guarantee that every single product we put out into the market will work, which is down to our global policies and procedures. Our customers have absolute confidence that they will have no comebacks,” Clark points out.
Prata reveals that the trend to buy cheaper quality, usually inferior products has changed to a renewed to a longer-term focus on total cost of ownership, which means quality products and the necessary aftermarket support and technical back-up wherever needed. “Customers are far more aware of the consequences in terms of downtime and lost revenue of using inferior products. Essentially it is a reversal of the trend to date, which is vindication of our strategy of excellence in everything we do.”
Another important factor in Band-It’s global success is its quick turnaround time and strong inventory, which means it can respond to customers’ needs quickly and effectively, anywhere in the world. This flexibility is due to manufacturing facilities as far afield as the UK, the US, and even China, a base that serves markets as diverse as Canada and Latin America.
Band-It prides itself on appointing distributors with technical acumen and sufficient zeal to be on the lookout for new opportunities and growth areas, such as Banding & ID Solutions Africa’s highly-successful entry into the niche local market to combat cable theft. “Our goal is to provide our distributors with all of the technical knowledge that they may require, in addition to our high level of service and quality product range,” Prata elaborates.
“When we see different applications or requirements in different parts of the world, we bring this to the attention of the global Band-It family, so they can enrich this knowledge base even further. Ultimately this level of intimate customer knowledge also feeds through into our NPD efforts,” he concludes.