Middelburg’s new premises supports ever-increasing growth

The Bolt and Engineering Distributors (B.E.D.) Group’s Mpumalanga branch in Middelburg has recently relocated to new, larger premises, reflecting the strong growth this branch has achieved over the past two years – despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy during the same period. 

Mpumalanga Operations Manager Marc Jewitt, who has been managing the branch for the past five years, clarifies: “At B.E.D. we are always looking for ways to improve, including servicing our customers in the best manner possible. Our move to new premises in July 2022 has allowed us to add significant value to our customers in some pivotal ways.”

For example, the new premises provides more space, allowing for enhanced stock planning, says Jewitt.

“This in turn translates to quicker service delivery, as we have the stock on hand at a more competitive pricing point. The value here includes being able to supply on demand, and of course time-saving is of the essence for any customer in any industry.”

The new premises are also strategically situated in a more convenient location, with easier access for customers to serve in the Mpumalanga Province “This will drive more foot traffic to our new and improved sales counter, which is open to members of the public who would like to buy their fasteners, tools, bearings, welding, industrial paints and PPE (personal protective equipment) at wholesale pricing,” Jewitt explains.

An even spread of vertical sectors

Having opened its doors in 2010, the Mpumalanga branch is responsible for all areas within the borders of Mpumalanga, servicing key sectors in the region which include mining, engineering, power generation; as well as the petrochemical and agricultural sectors.

Jewitt, who heads up a team of 32 people, notes: “Our branch is fortunately able to offer our services across a broad range of vertical industries, and our business is spread among these sectors relatively evenly, which assists with risk management. Agriculture has most recently become a growth area for us, in addition to mining and the other three afore-mentioned business areas. We have made a strategic decision to attend more agricultural events moving forward, and see good growth potential within this industry in Mpumalanga.”

Jewitt clarifies that the Mpumalanga branch has an Area Sales Manager (ASM) for each major business vertical. “Each ASM lives near the particular focus of their specialist vertical area, which facilitates effective planning for customer visits. They go back and forth independently as required, servicing our customers and offering solutions. This method allows for effective customer support, while ensuring efficient time and cost management.”   

Solid foundations support strong growth

Over the past few years, the branch has seen an ever-increasing growth trend, and Jewitt is positive about the future, attributing its success to date to several foundational aspects:

“This branch is a nodal hub,” he explains, “servicing a large area across a number of key industries, as previously outlined. Furthermore, B.E.D. products are pivotal across all our markets, and the Mpumalanga branch sells the full range including fasteners, bearings, welding, tools, industrial paints and thinners, piping and valves, PPE, oils and lubrication, and tools. It is not feasible to single out one key product area, as all our products are essential requirements for our customers.”

In addition to its solid product offering across different markets, Jewitt says the Mpumalanga branch invests continuously in its team members. “We are always conscious that ‘people buy from people’ as the saying goes,” he adds, “and our team offers an excellent mix of youthful enthusiasm combined with experience, which ensures we appeal to a broad cross-section of customers and also our longevity as a company. We also operate according to old-school values, with service levels being paramount. Ultimately, we always have the customers’ best interests at heart.

At the same time, we encourage our team members by giving them ownership of their careers, enabling them to grow professionally and personally through training, development and being accountable and responsible in line with the company’s overriding ethos of ‘100 / 0’: taking 100% responsibility and accountability, with zero excuses.

I wholeheartedly believe that if we adhere to 100 / 0 and if we continuously do the small things right, success will follow.”

Jewitt notes that the B.E.D. Group’s reputation and relationships with its suppliers are also key strengths. “Since inception, B.E.D. has fostered strong relationships with the quality brands and suppliers with whom we partner. This holds true for new partnerships or distributorships as well – the Group is very selective before bringing any new brands into our suite of offerings.”

A long service history with the Group

Jewitt has been with the company for some 25 years, having started at B.E.D.’s Free State operation in Welkom. “I began at ground level at counter sales, progressing upwards into the role of an ASM,” he clarifies.

“In 2008, the company opened a branch in Steelpoort, which I headed and where I ‘cut my teeth’ in management. This branch was then moved to Burgersfort in 2018, and that same year I moved to Middelburg, to take up the reins of managing that branch. I have been able to look after geographical areas that had not previously formed part of the B.E.D. Group’s national network, and I am grateful and proud to have enjoyed these opportunities.”

Jewitt says the Group’s renowned ‘100/0’ culture is a strong theme underlying the success of the Mpumalanga branch: “We thrive on having independence as a branch, as this provides ownership and responsibility, but at the same time, we are given excellent support by our executive management, and feel like part of the larger B.E.D. family. In line with the way our Group management operates, I also like to foster an open-door policy, and create a fundamental awareness that everyone in the branch belongs to the same team.”

B.E.D. Mpumalanga plays an integral role in the mining, engineering and agricultural sectors of Mpumalanga, and the branch also has an eye on the renewable energy and preventative maintenance sectors as target areas for further potential growth.

“At the same time, safety will always be of paramount importance, and brings with it additional new business opportunities. In summary, we intend to fulfil the opportunity to be the fastener, tools, welding, bearings and PPE provider of choice across the Mpumalanga region, and our spacious, conveniently-located new premises are supporting us in achieving this goal,” Jewitt concludes.