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The IDC

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is the national development finance institution promoting economic growth and industrial development. The organisation’s primary objectives are to contribute to the creation of balanced, sustainable economic growth in South Africa and the rest of Africa. MORE>>

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Quick Press

Life is much easier at Quick Press Manufacturing since the company upgraded its machinery through the Department of Trade and Industry's Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP).
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March 19, 2014

mcep-quickpress insideLife is much easier at Quick Press Manufacturing since the company upgraded its machinery. It has boosted business, bumped up staff numbers and “allowed a lot more time for quality living”.

Quick Press Manufacturing in Alrode, an industrial district on the outskirts of Johannesburg, has been around for about as long as South Africa has been a democracy – the business opened its doors in February 1994.

It is owned by Harry Potgieter and Ken McAllister and employs 148 people. Quick Press Manufacturing specialises in sheet metal manufacturing, and it does laser cutting and punching, steel fabrication and just about anything to do with converting the raw steel product into powder-coated and finished metal products.

However, as Potgieter will tell you, the road to a successful manufacturing business comes with its challenges, and keeping up with the competition is a hard race to win without the right equipment.

His son, Deon Potgieter, the company’s technical director, explains: “The main challenge is keeping up with technology. In our business, you cannot lag behind; otherwise you are going to fall short very quickly.”

The younger Potgieter says that upgrading equipment was a necessity, and the company approached the Department of Trade and Industry under its Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme in August 2012. “The [MCEP] allowed us to expand our business. It allowed us to employ new people and provide training for them, which has obviously helped us and the staff as well.”

He says the company made its application through consultants, which made the entire process much easier. In December 2012, Quick Press Manufacturers was notified that its application for an MCEP grant was successful. Having extra funds available to plough into new equipment made the world of difference in terms of keeping up with the competition and expanding the business. The grant was paid out in May 2013.

“It has definitely made a difference. We have come out of an era where everything was done step by step without the aid of modern-day machinery – it’s allowed ourselves a lot more time for, I’d say, quality living,” adds the younger Potgieter.

The company bought heavy duty equipment to bring it into the modern age, including an Amada Laser Cutting Machine. Quick Press Manufacturing now does laser cutting of steel, brass, copper, wood, Perspex and plastics. “I definitely recommend that other businesses should apply. It allows you to grow your business and it’s definitely the way to go.”

Potgieter believes that Quick Press Manufacturing would never have been able to upgrade the business the way it has without financial assistance. “The Industrial Development Corporation and the dti are really making a difference in helping us grow our business. The business has definitely been enhanced and our growth has been phenomenal – an increase in turnover and has also allowed us to up production quite a lot.”

Programmer draftsman Jovan Sales adds: “With the new machines we can do basically anything. It has improved on the manufacturing side, the design time – all the basic things, like doing the programming side. It has improved very much.”

His sentiments are echoed by machine operator Siphiwe Tshabalala, who says he has learned much at Quick Press Manufacturing in terms of his work. On a personal level he can also feel the difference, he adds. “My life has changed a lot. Like now I am a married man and I have two children, and even my children have learned more at school because of this job. I am proud of my job.”

Supervisor and machine operator Joseph Kumbane agrees that life is much easier. The Amada machinery is more user-friendly than the old equipment he used to work on – and “it’s much faster as well”.

“With the help of the IDC and the dti I really think that within the next five to 10 years the business will grow and we will up our turnover by at least another 30 percent,” says Potgieter junior.

The shareholders, the elder Potgieter and McAllister, have a big vision for Quick Press Manufacturing going forward, which means a better business and more people being employed.