Many international companies look on the markets of Africa as the great untapped potential. In many ways they are right, but all too often their views come from a standpoint of simply wanting to make money rather than offering quality products, solutions and services to a market which is looking to grow and modernise. The problem they face, is understanding the African market and how it works.
Companies which are achieving success have an understanding for the requirements of the African markets – which essentially are no different to anywhere else. They want quality products and services with qualified technical support and back-up. No one, anywhere in the world, wants to install a system only to be left high and dry when a problem arises.
The economy of the world has slowed and currently growth rates of two to three per cent are considered good. If you consider that Africa, as a continent, is currently achieving growth rates in the region of four per cent then it is clear that this continent is ahead of the curve and this is expected to continue for at least the next 20 years. Factors such as varying levels of development, population size, access to education, regional politics and socio-political upheaval have an impact on rates of growth with the result that some areas are achieving even stronger rates of growth. The markets of East Africa are currently experiencing relative stability which means that they should be enjoying the benefits of the higher rates of growth.
Another major influencing factor is that worldwide, the packaging industry is considered the one part of the overall printing industry where growth is being seen. Printing and packaging are major contributors to the economies of developing markets and are a clear indicator of the advancement of the population of a country. Globally it is expected that the packaging market will achieve consistent growth rates of around five per cent per year, making it a particularly viable sector, particularly in Africa. Add to this the growth of the economies of Africa and the increasing earning capabilities of the burgeoning middle-class and it is obvious that printing and packaging in Africa is set to take off.
Until recently, African companies looking to invest in this sector were obliged to purchase second-hand technology or equipment from the Far East due to the lower capital costs. The problem with both of these was that they did not come without problems. Second-hand equipment, especially older models, has limitations in terms of productivity. Newer equipment supplied from the Far East
often requires a higher level of service and support, something which was generally absent. They are also often more unreliable.
The growth rates being achieved in these markets are now resulting in more reputable companies from Europe and the Far East bringing their technology to the markets of Africa with the goal of partnering with the local manufacturing companies rather than merely selling to them.
In the packaging manufacturing sector one company which is doing it slightly differently is Alliance Machinery – a South African company with links to strong packaging solutions brands including Brausse and Eterna. Both of these brands are internationally recognised and also have strong links – both financially and technologically – to Bobst renowned as one of the leading manufacturers of packaging solutions.
Alliance Machinery was formed in Johannesburg, South Africa with the aim of supplying the printing and packaging industry in sub-Saharan Africa with high-quality and reliable packaging solutions at affordable prices but with all the necessary technical service and support. Using the services of an established technical team fully versed in the installation, commissioning, repair and maintenance of high-end packaging manufacturing equipment, Alliance has quickly developed a reputation for providing quality technology with top-notch back-up.
Alliance Machinery is the distributor in the sub-Saharan region for the Brausse range of die-cutters and folder-gluers for solid board packaging manufacture. It is also the distributor in the region for the Eterna range of die-cutters and folder-gluers for the corrugated and fluted board packaging market. Today these companies are owned by the Bobst Group and some technology sharing is certainly evident on recent models. Brausse also manufactures hot-foil stamping machines which allows packaging printers to bring a previously out-sourced service in-house, thereby improving quality assurance and increasing efficiency.
Said Bradley Bate of Alliance Machinery, ‘We have achieved considerable success in South and Southern Africa with these solutions. They are world-class solutions and systems but at an entry-level price. We are now excited to bring these solutions to the markets of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda where we believe we can assist packaging companies achieve top-quality results. These markets have so much potential but lack reputable suppliers with the best interests of their customers at heart.’
He added, ‘We understand the challenges faced by the markets in terms of difficulty of supply, high exchange rates and high interest rates. We have also seen many of our customers in South Africa being taken advantage of by companies who concentrate on selling their equipment but without the necessary support and training. We know that the technology is only as good as the support offered to service and maintain that equipment. It is for this reason that we offer our clients a turnkey solution and we assist them through every step of the process.’
Alliance Machinery offers its clients the additional advantage of faster response times compared to international companies. Bradley added, ‘Travelling in Africa is easier for us than for companies from Europe and The Far East. The time difference is negligible, distances are shorter and there is no language barrier. This makes us a fast, efficient and reliable partner for customers in the markets of East Africa.’
The product range at Alliance Machinery is not limited to state-of-the-art entrylevel packaging solutions. The entire range is aimed at helping printing and packaging professionals to become more professional and competitive, whether that means that they are moving into packaging for the first time with the very latest technologies available to them.
In addition to the highly productive die-cutters and folder-gluers in its portfolio, Alliance Machinery offers a full range of ancillary equipment and consumables for diemaking and packaging converting such as rule benders, lipper cutters, rule bridgers, matrix cutters, nick grinders, waste strippers and more. It also supplies solutions for commercial printers including offline coating and laminating solutions and paper reel sheeters from BW Papersystems. Both of these offer printers the ability to reduce costs and maintain greater levels of quality control.
Bradley added, ‘The challenges facing printers and packaging convertors in these markets are similar to those faced by printers in South Africa. We understand these challenges and we know exactly how to help newcomers and experienced companies reach very high efficiency levels. We are looking to partner with manufacturers in these markets.’
He continued, ‘We have assembled a comprehensive product range in order to be able to offer printers and packaging convertors the type of equipment they need to meet their production requirements. We have travelled extensively whilst compiling this range and guarantee our clients that they are receiving top-quality equipment with the assurance of the support of a highly-qualified technical back-up team.
‘Our goal with the entire range of equipment we supply is to offer printers products with the shortest return on investment. Ultimately this means that they can grow their businesses which is not only good for them but also for their staff and the economy as a whole,’ he concluded.
Having state-of-the-art printing and packaging systems and solutions need not be a painful and expensive process. Join market-leading printers in other parts of Africa who have experienced top-level service throughout the sales process, and long after. Contact Alliance Machinery and take your rightful place as a trendsetter in printing and packaging production.