As South Africa’s richest province and the economic powerhouse of the country, Gauteng is home to a vast number of industries – from finance, government, industry, mining and construction and petrochemicals, to mention a few – all generating substantial operational output for critical gross domestic product.
These industries’ continuous operations and new developments drive the need for the swift, yet accurate and reliable supply of products from established, reputable and responsive suppliers and distributors.
With this in mind, the Bolt and Engineering Distributors Group’s (B.E.D.’s) Gauteng branch is not only centrally positioned within the economic heartland of the province, but can match the rapid pace at which customers and suppliers require support – with a differentiated and efficient value chain of quality products.
“As we sell a tangible product, we actively need to be at the coalface of industry: ready and proactive to anticipate customer needs, support and deliver whatever is required with the perfect fit – fast and on time,” says Operations Manager for the Gauteng Branch and Group Director Mitesh Gulab, who started as a general assistant and ‘runner’ back in 2002, and has worked his way up successfully through many different jobs and divisions with the company – including that of HR Manager – prior to his current position.
As such, Bolt and Engineering is ‘bolted’ to its robust culture of ‘100/0’: taking responsibility 100% of the time, with zero excuses. Steadfast in service excellence, the branch values and drives the Group’s ‘back to basics’ approach of consistent customer interaction (telephonically and in-person), combined with new communication and service technologies and strategies.
“Notably, Bolt remains fully focused on maintaining ‘business as usual’: agilely mitigating any challenges which arise through our ‘out of the box’ thinking, sourcing, dynamic logistics planning and delivery – to ensure customers receive the best and differentiated service experience which exceeds expectations,” Gulab explains.
His long-standing colleague Sales Manager and Director Earle Holmes, who also started some 19 years ago with the company and has a wealth of tools and industrial experience behind him, agrees: “Whatever (request) may seem impossible, is tackled as a challenge!”
This resolute and optimistic outlook and its resulting approach has stood the B.E.D. Group in good stead – ensuring that it consistently keeps up to speed with industry changes; and regularly introduces new product innovations from key suppliers, which are implemented across all of its branches.
Other notable developments includes Bolt increasing its footprint in key target markets, increasing the staff complement and benefitting from several new opportunities for growth this year, Holmes points out.
Steadfast operations and synergistic services
Contributing to the Gauteng branch’s success are the value-add services provided from its Wadeville premises.
Established in 1983 in Wadeville by Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Giltrow and co-founder Ernie Barnett, the Gauteng branch is the ‘cornerstone’ of the Group, and also the nerve centre of its national operations. As such, it also serves as the Group head office. With a footprint of over 3800 m2 and a staff complement of 73, the Gauteng branch services the rail, steel, automotive, food and beverage, mining and many other sectors.
“As the cornerstone of the B.E.D. Group, the Gauteng Wadeville branch is very much the ‘keeper’ and repository of our company’s heritage, culture, and knowledge. As such, it also bears testament to the Group’s track record and reputational longevity; as well as hosting essential Group services,” Gulab emphasises.
Housing the national distribution centre, the Gauteng branch executes daily deliveries by a centralised internal logistics team, with products which are meticulously sourced, inspected – precisely and neatly packaged in market-related packaging. Quick traceability is also provided by clear bar coding and colour-coded product labelling and packaging, Gulab advises.
Further enhancing the B.E.D. Group’s distribution footprint across sub-Saharan Africa is the Group’s exports department, which is headed by Exports Sales Manager Kristelle Janse van Vuuren. The department, established in 2014, services multiple markets, including customers in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia.
“Bolt and Engineering pools technical expertise, the assistance of export and product specialists, and our ability to perform Bureau Veritas inspections prior to shipping; as well as the capability to consolidate shipments: all of which enables us to ensure a differentiated export offering,” Janse van Vuuren says.
‘Welded’ to great service
Also situated on the Gauteng premises, and complementing the B.E.D. Holdings service offering is the welding repairs centre, headed by Cutting, Welding and Brazing Product Specialist and Workshop Manager Craig Bister; and managed by a passionate team of welding experts with over a century’s combined welding and cutting experience.
Notably, Gulab and Holmes believe the success of sustained services and product demand, – as well as long-standing and loyal customer relationships – are underpinned by the invaluable contribution of a vibrant, accountable and multi-skilled branch team, and proactive, closely involved management.
“Our motivated team is devoted to the Bolt culture and ethos of ‘working together to make the dream work’. Their goal-orientated teamwork, mutual support and refusal to just ‘sit on the side-lines’ fuse into a dynamic, driving force which powers the B.E.D service engine for excellence,” Gulab emphasises.
As a one-stop shop, we can not only provide a comprehensive portfolio of locally-produced and imported products, but anything else a customer may require, he points out.
Yes equals success
“With a ‘yes’ attitude, mind set and a concerted focus on helping each customer, the Bolt Gauteng branch establishes a firm and lasting rapport with customers – and creates the potential for new supply options – while also cultivating best service compatibilities,” Holmes adds.
“One has to be bold and say yes in life and at work! By doing so, the Gauteng branch – and the Group as a whole – is empowered to explore new possibilities for the benefit of our customers and our company.
The success of the operation is based on many things, and one of the most important factors is the people we work with. Throughout these challenging times, decisions had to be made without as much planning or input from our staff as we would usually have. Yet each staff member has been phenomenal! They all stood by the decisions we made, and as a team ensured that through the adversity of these unpredictable times, we emerged stronger than we were before,” Gulab and Holmes assert.
“In summary: by saying yes, we also open ourselves to new challenges and opportunities for learning and innovation, encourage new partnerships and – importantly – add value in our pivotal distributor or ‘middle man’ role. After all, ‘fortune favours the brave’ as the saying goes – and Bolt!” Gulab concludes.