Great business is often predicated on excellent relationships. This was the case, when some 20 years ago, leading local cutting consumables and capital equipment supplier First Cut began distributing the products of global French timber industry specialist Forezienne MFLS in South Africa.
Forezienne was founded in 1977 and currently employs some 250 people. Manufacturing is carried out in a 23,000 m² plant in Epercieux-Saint-Paul, in the Loire region of France. The company is very much geared to supplying the world’s timber industries in sectors such as woodworking and sawmilling; and, as such, produces approximately 2,000 tons of blades annually. In addition, it also imports certain products and capital equipment which is then rebranded accordingly.
Since 2000, Forezienne has been supplying First Cut with circular saw blades, chipper knives and planer blades. The French manufacturer currently supplies First Cut with a range of circular saw blades – universal, scoring and panel blades. The latter are specifically aimed at the woodworking market. In addition, Forezienne supplies First Cut’s timber/sawmilling sector with multi-ripping blades; as well as cross-cut and multi-gas ripping saws.
“The products which Forezienne supplies us with are quite specific, and all very much targeted at the woodworking and also timber industries,” explains First Cut Consumables division director Gary Willis.
First Cut’s timber programme, which the company has been actively driving for the past 16 years, is very much focused in the timber growing and processing regions of South Africa: the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
“For this reason, we were particularly pleased to acquire a long-established and well-known local business, blade sharpening and cutting consumables provider Bremsaw, based in Mbombela, Mpumalanga. We could see the possibilities for growing the business further in this pivotal timber-producing region, by expanding the range of capital equipment, consumables and services offered to the local timber industry in particular,” he continues.
Extrapolating on the shared business ethos of quality and other synergies between its principal Forezienne and First Cut, Willis adds: “The relationship with a world-leading timber industry supplier such as Forezienne is very much to our strategic advantage – and our customers’ too. For example, as Forezienne are a major player in the global timber market, they produce a 400-page annual catalogue of their product range, which we refer to and source from accordingly,” he continues.
The quality of Forezienne’s products also stands distributors such as First Cut and its local timber industry customers in good stead. For example – as far back as 1989 – Forezienne’s Forestill trademark was registered for the steels required to manufacture band saw blades used in the timber industry. Following extensive research, the Forestill steel was specially developed to manufacture extremely high-quality band saw blades. Made from very pure ore, the manufacturing of these blades is done according to a very strict specifications and protocols: heat quality, hot then cold rolling, including multiple quenching and tempering.
As First Cut takes pride in being a supplier of world-class, premium products to its valued customer base, the synergy and successful twenty year-plus relationship with Forezienne is a reflection of the enduring nature of their shared dedication to product quality and customer service.
“With Forezienne’s quality and specialised timber industry products, our drive to expand our product range and service to the South African timber industry has not only gained more impetus, but also a dash of French flair,” Willis concludes.