Current Issue 53
Schneider Electric may have one of the world’s most extensive operations when it comes to facilitating sustainable industry and energy efficiencies, but this doesn’t detract from an equally prominent local emphasis as is seen in East Africa
A Global Company Optimising its Local Presence
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Donovan Smith
As a global specialist in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric’s mission to continuously provide world-class products, solutions, systems and services to customers across all segments in East African industry continues to compound the wider Group’s ‘Life is On’ ethos.
Operating across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi, Djibouti and Eritrea, the Company’s technologies ensure that Life is On, for everyone and at every moment; enabling lives to be more connected, sustainable, efficient, safe and reliable.
“We serve our customers by offering the largest portfolio in our industry, bringing expertise to our segments and partners in the home, industries, buildings, cities and in the cloud,” explains the Vice President in Partner Business, Ahmed Fateen. “Our customers are at the front and centre of all our managerial, commercial and sales-support actions. We are a strong and reliable partner for the electrical engineering, process automation and IT needs of our customers.
“With an experienced team of first-class engineers, and a world-class manufacturing centre located in Nairobi, we are the only partners who can exceed our customers’ expectations in real value-added services and solutions.
“With us, customer satisfaction is always the number one priority. And at Schneider Electric in East Africa, we call this, ‘Life Is On’.
Combining energy management, automation and software to serve four key markets that make up 70 percent of the world’s energy consumption, the need for such a service has never been greater and the ability to differentiate itself in this niche market has made Schneider Electric an increasingly appealing proposition; especially in East Africa.
“With the growing population in East Africa, Schneider Electric wanted to better its footprints here,” the Company continues. “This was then followed by an acquisition of Power Technics Ltd which has been in existence for more than 33 years serving in the East Africa market.
“With the presence of Schneider Electric in the East African region, this will enhance the expertise as well as knowledge based on the training of young graduates in the field of energy.”
Quality of service and products
From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, Schneider Electric’s technology, software and services facilitate improvements in the way its customers manage and automate their operations. And all of this is achieved from its offices in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda in order to maintain a localised, personable presence.
“Schneider Electric has a manufacturing capability strong enough to support East Africa and its surrounding regions. This factory [in Nairobi] is used to manufacture low and medium switch gear, control gear, feeder pillars for power stations and cable management systems including lan cabinets,” the Company says. “In addition, our fully-fledged local logistics, warehouses, products, equipment distribution centre, and electrical assembly ensure we are able to respond swiftly and professionally to customer standards or emergency equipment requests.”
Completing this highly refined structure is an equally comprehensive supply chain management approach which has been rewarded across the wider Group over the years. As a global entity, the extent of factories, distribution centres, personnel and established partnerships on hand to complete this chain is among the most comprehensive in the world but as is seen through Schneider’s East African operations, it can effectively facilitate more localised operations too.
“In East Africa, 40 percent of our purchases come from the local market, while we continuously work hand-in-hand with our suppliers on building win-win partnerships,“ the Company continues. “Quality of service and products is what keeps us looking in the market for the best-in-class suppliers, so we can deliver our customers the best value they deserve.”
This focus on customer satisfaction requires continuous monitoring and feedback, and forms just one component of an overall dedication to regional enrichment; as is also seen through its extensive corporate social responsibility arm.
Utilising its industrial expertise to electrify 128 rural schools in Kenya in 2015 - impacting as many as 45,000 students - the prime objective of everything that Schneider Electric does is to address these key shortfalls and infrastructure gaps present in the region.
“A lack of electricity in Africa remains one of the biggest barriers to the region’s development and prosperity, and continues to trap millions of people in extreme poverty,” the Company notes. “With a third of all primary schools lacking any access to electricity, 90 million students are left being educated from places that have no power. In Kenya, where 77 percent of the 44 million inhabitants have no access to electricity, the Government entrusted the Rural Electrification Authority with the responsibility of ensuring that all public primary schools in the country are connected to electricity supply in readiness for the implementation of a global laptop programme. Schneider Electric was selected as technical partner to electrify 128 schools in the year.
“The solution developed by Schneider Electric for this project was replicable and customisable for any similar electrification project in Africa.”
Achieving reliability, flexibility and ease
Being a global Company with a unique local presence is what defines Schneider Electric, ensuring that it can deliver the best quality service to its custowmers not just through the aforementioned supply chain optimisation, but via an accessible, accountable and superior workforce.
Encouraging ambition, expertise and resources to tackle the most pressing technological challenges present in the modern world, this ethos emanates from the top down with long-term success dependent on leaders with the vision to drive performance in an ever-changing business arena.
Compounding this necessity are a series of hiring and training approaches adopted to formulate the best internal structure not just for the present day, but to be in place for future sustainability also.
The results are evident across the board with a mixture of genders, ages and skill-sets deployed where they’re most suited across the Group’s numerous divisions.
“Arguably the most significant of these placements is within the Execution Centre though,” the Company explains. “With the demand for efficiency in advanced energy distribution and consumption in East Africa, Schneider Electric has helped businesses achieve better operations through the extension of efficient grid solutions and industries.
“A team exists to provide solutions to the complex situations encountered in the electrical energy sector, addressing the need to have a one-stop shop that handled forward planning, and upgrades and maintenance for the electrical power utility companies, as well as various industries.”
The solutions team is subsequently capable of completing designs of new electrical power systems covering substations, and the transmission and distribution of electrical power at both commercial and industrial levels.
The Company adds: “Schneider electric has undertaken all power reticulation systems including; LV/MV/HV networks up to 132KV power lines, substations and cabling. Schneider electric can handle all protection systems from design, installation, testing and commissioning, environment concerns and all logistical aspects with infrastructure support.”
Having such a turnkey presence on a localised basis is the key differentiator behind its success in East Africa; backed up by its consultancy arm too as it looks to share its unrivalled knowledge with those who need to adopt such long-term significant products.
“While achieving reliability, flexibility and ease in East African major electrical grid networks recently, the team has been able to contribute hugely towards an efficient grid,” the Company concludes. “As Schneider Electric we are continuously developing new products for the energy sector, and providing materials and equipment for the electrical power sector.”
“Our technologies ensure that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment enabling lives to be more connected, sustainable, efficient, safe and reliable. We serve our customers by offering the largest portfolio of our industry, bringing expertise to our segments and partners in the home, industries, buildings, cities and in the cloud. Our customers are at the front and centre of all our managerial, commercial and sales-support actions. We are a strong and reliable partner in the electrical engineering, process automation and IT needs of our customers.”
- Ahmed Fateen, Vice President, Partner Business