RACA Journal June 2016 - Page 91

LocalManufacturing When excellence matters Advantage Air is a serviced-oriented business and aims for a 1-2% error rate for the whole year. On the one-day delivery side, that rate is 0%. “We motivate staff to talk about their errors so we know what the problems are and can address them timeously,” explains Henning. “This allows us to offer reliable service and quality products. “All customers, whether they’re a small contracting company or a large one, need to be serviced well – especially in a difficult economic climate, and that’s what we do.” The production through-put is based on Australian and international standards. The Australian company employs nine full-time research and development (R&D) engineers overseas ensuring that it stays up to date with market-leading technology. Looking after staff Advantage Air employs about 130 staff, but it’s naturally a very lean organisation, placing high value on ensuring the right people are in the right positions. “Labour is the biggest overhead cost and therefore it’s vital that this is managed well,” says Henning. To Henning, his staff are very important and they get paid good rates. “I need to look after my people – they are my biggest asset,” he says. “And I make sure that they know this.” That’s why we always treat all the staff with dignity and respect. The tricky part is trying to find the right people, though, especially ones who fit the service-oriented company culture. “It’s important that staff have the right understanding and getting buy-in is often the biggest challenge,” explains Henning. That’s why the company also prioritises training, flying in experts from Australia every six weeks to keep staff up to date. Challenges As mentioned, one of the biggest challenges with local manufacturing is labour. “Escalating labour costs are a huge 1 3 4 issue, as is staying relevant in what the market needs,” says Henning. Another issue, of course, is power supply and the ability to maintain high efficiency levels consistently. Staying competitive with imports coming in is another challenge, Henning confirms. “You have to balance the demand of manufacturing while staying competitive with imports – not always an easy task,” he says. RACA 2 1. 2. 3. 4. www.hvacronline.co.za Most of its product ranges are manufactured in-house. Advantage Air offers an unmatched one-day lead time in Gauteng. One of the biggest challenges with local manufacturing is labour. Staff is considered the company’s biggest asset and treated well throughout. RACA Journal I June 2016 89