First Cut and Starrett: a ‘precision partnership’ built on consistent quality and service

First Cut, South Africa’s foremost distributor of cutting, welding and grinding consumables and equipment, has had a strong partnership with Starrett for several decades. Starrett is a world-renowned manufacturer of industrial blades and metrology equipment, and First Cut is proud to be a long-standing distributor of Starrett products to a range of industries in South Africa including metal, timber, textile, meat, DIY, paper and plastic.

Shared dedication to quality – and more

First Cut and Starrett enjoy a shared ethos of dedication to quality and service; as well as an innovative approach which allows them to pivot and respond to market trends and customer requirements as necessary, diversifying their product offerings in order to expand their operations successfully.

“For over 140 years, manufacturers worldwide have depended on Starrett for quality tools and equipment, which have always been revolutionary,” says Zelda Vorster, Commercial Manager for First Cut.

Vorster joined First Cut in July 2021, and is responsible for providing commercial support to the sales team. This includes ensuring that the business has the right products – at the right place and at the right price – with the best promotional support possible; as well as playing a role in the operations for the broader business as a part of the Exco team.

Customer loyalty and growth

Leveraging their strong, decades-long relationship with First Cut, Starrett has developed a wide market presence in South Africa and sees the country as an important area of growth moving forward – particularly in the blading and power tool accessory sectors – despite current local economic challenges such as the constrained national electricity supply.

“This can be attributed to uncompromising product quality, reliability and service – which has engendered consistent, long-term customer loyalty.

In fact, Starrett has a reputation both globally and locally which is so solid and trustworthy that the words ‘quality’ and ‘Starrett’ are perceived by customers to go hand in hand,” Vorster remarks.

When First Cut merged with Alexander and Poole (Pty) Ltd in 2001, the Starrett product range was incorporated into their distribution portfolio. This included the addition of Starrett’s engineering and precision tools.

Precision hand tools: carving a local niche

Apart from an array of general precision measuring instruments, service and repair tools, Starrett’s comprehensive range of precision hand tools includes calipers and dividers, micrometers, dial indicators and gauges, rules, squares and parallels.

Reflecting on the features of the product range, Vorster is impressed by the accuracy, hardiness and quality finish which make Starrett products the most sought-after in the market.

“Starrett’s precision hand tools are renowned for their accuracy and robustness,” she says.

“Take Starrett’s outside micrometres for example. They are the most popular precision micrometres used in the industry worldwide,” she says, adding that they are accurate, rugged and easy to use, “the heart of their accuracy being the extremely solid and stable one-piece spindle.”

Starrett’s popular ‘Yankee’ calipers and dividers are another example of durability, manufactured from a well-finished, high-grade steel.

“The legs are made of flat stock and are very durable. The fulcrum stud is hardened and has a smooth bearing surface, while the bow spring – although flexible – is exceedingly strong to assure reliability,” she points out.

As Starrett’s long-standing South African representative and distributor, First Cut offers a wide selection of these tools, manufactured to optimum standards and workmanship. In addition to precision tools, the wide product range also includes force measurement and material testing, saws and hand tools.

All are produced from the finest materials, and in compliance with the strictest European and other international quality and safety standards.

Starrett’s innovative approach and diversified cutting technology portfolio has been particularly indispensable in the local metalworking and meat sectors, although their products are in demand throughout other sectors such as electronics, aerospace, general manufacturing and energy.

“Starrett’s precision hand tools, metrology and other products are in perfect alignment with what First Cut stands for – to be ‘one step better’ all the time, upholding quality in all that we do and offer – and therefore making Starrett the best choice as a highly successful long-term supply partner,” Vorster concludes.