B.E.D. Cape Town branch: Consistency, customer service and teamwork the cornerstones of success

The Bolt and Engineering Distributors (B.E.D.) Group’s Cape Town branch, situated in Bellville, has seen a period of renewed growth under the leadership of Operations Manager Juan van Zyl, who joined the branch one month before the Covid-19 lockdown was implemented in early 2020. Van Zyl and his team achieved profitable results during the pandemic – despite its inherent logistical and financial challenges – and B.E.D. Cape Town has consistently improved their bottom line ever since.

Established in 2010, the Cape Town branch services a large region that extends as far as Bredasdorp on the west coast. Key target industries include agriculture, construction and engineering, food and beverage, commercial transport, and the maritime sector.

Van Zyl started his journey with the B.E.D. Group in 2010 at the Welkom branch. He then transferred to the former Steelpoort branch and became Operations Manager, before moving to Cape Town as Operations Manager in March 2020.

Van Zyl, who is the youngest-ever operations manager in the Group, leads a team of 28 people, and sends a strong internal message of care for every individual – and their families. He notes: “I am proud of our team, and the  significant growth we have achieved during the past three years, despite the challenges of a global pandemic and war in Europe. We are still facing challenges, however – as with the rest of the Group – we are very customer-centric and service-driven: seeking first to understand our customers, then to find the best solutions for them, ensuring we are their ‘supplier for life’. In the Western Cape, I foresee future growth areas especially in the construction, fabrication, food and beverage, and marine industries.

“I believe that consistency is key to success, as is outstanding customer service, which – I believe – has played a significant role in growing the region’s business in recent years. I also believe in fostering strong teamwork.”

A wide industry footprint

In terms of the Cape Town branch’s industry focus, Van Zyl clarifies that agriculture and construction are the largest vertical sectors: each accounting for approximately 30 percent of the region’s business overall.

“The food and beverage sector comes in a strong second, with some 20 percent of the focus, and engineering thereafter, with around 10 percent,” he notes. “We are also very focused on growing B.E.D. Cape Town’s market share in the maritime sector, and in addition have seen promising potential in commercial transport.”

Van Zyl is ably assisted by welding and cutting specialist and Area Sales Manager, Ewan Jubileus, as well as bearing specialist and Area Sales Manager, Michael de Waal. The welding division enjoys supports various local market sectors; while the bearings division supports global bearings brand SKF’s customers.

Cape Town welding division on the rise

Under the experienced leadership of Jubileus, the Cape Town welding division offers a significant value-add to customers: providing expert cutting and welding solutions and support, as this area of the business continues to expand.

Jubileus clarifies: “We do repairs on products that we supply ourselves, and we also liaise as required with the B.E.D. cutting and welding repair centre in Johannesburg. We are proud to offer machines and consumables from Austrian global welding manufacturer Fronius; and, more recently, the French GYS brand. We have had an excellent relationship with Fronius for a number of years now. In fact, I received product and technical training by Fronius in Austria. Our new relationship with GYS also bodes extremely well.”

The B.E.D. Group recently identified GYS welding and plasma cutting machines as being ideal for the B.E.D. mid-range market, such as smaller engineering workshops, the agricultural sector, and smaller fabrication end-users.

He adds: “We maintain a significant stockholding in the Cape Town branch, given our geographical location and physical distance from the rest of the Group. We also import our welding products from  international suppliers directly into Cape Town, to speed up logistics and efficiencies.”

Proudly offering premium SKF bearings 

Having been an official SKF authorised distributor since 2014, the B.E.D. Group is proud to supply its customers with SKF’s world-class agri-bearing and industrial bearings products.

De Waal notes: “I am proud to have introduced many clients in the Cape area to SKF for their bearings needs, which we are able offer at a very competitive price point. We keep a full stockholding of products and are able to offer a very quick turnaround, offering the right fit – fast – for our regional customers’ requirements.”

He clarifies that the Cape Town branch services the following vertical markets for bearings:  agriculture; construction; marine; food and beverage; and mining and quarrying, with a focus on cement, adding: “Our reseller market is also a focus in the Western Cape region, especially in the smaller towns. B.E.D. is the largest agricultural distributor for SKF bearings in South Africa. The flagship SKF Agri Hub, unique to our bearings range, has been specially adapted by B.E.D. in collaboration with SKF for use in the South African market.”

A special combination of employees

B.E.D. CEO Mike Giltrow notes: “With each region having its own unique identity, it is a winning solution for the Group to embrace the diverse business cultures and strategies of each and every one of our branches throughout South Africa. Our Cape Town branch showcases a special combination of proud South Africans, adding to our distinctive character as a Group.

Juan van Zyl has furthermore instilled a wonderful sense of pride and belonging in the Cape Town branch, and as we like to say in B.E.D: ‘We care, and you matter’! It is all part of the B.E.D. ‘100 / 0’ ethos, whereby all of our employees take 100 percent responsibility and accountability, with zero excuses – as well as our ‘CGB’ or ‘Continually Getting Better’ call-to-action, to ensure our customers get great service and quality in every single interaction.”

Van Zyl adds: “We appreciate the B.E.D. Group’s practice of allowing branches to operate independently, while still being accountable to the Group as a whole. Going forward, our branch looks forward to consistent, excellent growth and we believe we will go from strength to strength.”

As part of the next generation of this great company, my team and I are very aware that we have responsibility and accountability to our wise leaders Mike Giltrow and Jan Viljoen, and the whole of the B.E.D. Group. It is therefore our aim to keep up with the times, without changing the warmth and character for which B.E.D. has always been known and loved. We are all in this together for the long haul, and we look forward to consistently furthering the growth and success of the Cape Town branch, and that of our staff and their families!”