Wall to wall innovation
Ergosystem bring their brand of passion and bespoke services to Southern Africa
Writer Matt Bone
Project manager Arron Rampling
Ergosystem and its subsidiary companies, translucent and acoustic, are creative and innovative solutions-driven companies based in South Africa operating in the commercial, hospitality, retail and domestic interiors markets.
Together or in isolation, they are able to transform ordinary or proposed walls, dividers, screens into practical solutions that are clad decoratively, walls that are demountable, single-sided, double sided, illuminated or non-illuminated. Many of these applications have also transgressed their boundaries and become floor and ceiling treatments.
Dean Armstrong, Managing Director of Ergosystem is quick to point out what makes them so unique: "We don't believe that we are a small company operating in a third world country. We know we are a competitive, structured company with integrity and values, differentiating ourselves by adopting a first world mindset where quality and service are an essential part of our core business."
Ergosystem offer a truly unique and bespoke service that is always tailored to the client's specifications. No two projects Armstrong has overseen have been the same and it will continue to be so: "I do not like doing the same style again and again, I want each one to be fresh and commissioned exactly as the client envisaged."
"Passion for what we do"
Having overseen impressive and constant growth over the last 9 years, Armstrong is convinced that there is one main reason why they have seen such a period of growth in a recession: "It all comes down to passion. If you love the job you do and go to work with a fire in your heart for what you do, then you will always put in 110 per cent. That is not to say that there are other attributes that have helped us become a very successful company, but it is our passion as a team, that really drives us forward."
It is true that this passionate approach to workmanship has been noted by Ergosystem's clients and by prospective clients, as at least 50 per cent of the company's work comes from word of mouth recommendations.
"If we create a unique feature wall in an architect's house for example, and he then shows it off to fellow architects and gives us a good recommendation, then soon more business comes our way. It is the nature of all business," remarks Armstrong, clearly pleased with how his company's reputation is spoken about.
As Managing Director, Dean Armstrong does not just sit back and watch his company work, he has a very hands on approach to daily dealings. "I am the type of man who believes you cannot get a true picture of something unless you see it with your own eyes. I work alongside our managers and designers closely each day to ensure I am always in touch with our latest projects and trends."
It is not just walling solutions that Ergosystems sell, in the eyes of Mr Armstrong: "We sell relationships," he clarifies this "when we sell a project to a client, whether it is a walling solution or an entire solution for multiple projects, we are not just selling that product; we are selling a relationship between us and them. This could be in the form of always being available to them for consultation or accountability, or maybe just being there if a design or a budgetary requirement is changed. We then nurture that relationship because all it takes is one unhappy client to say something to another professional and a business can be ruined. That is something we never want to happen."
With the recent influx of Chinese products into the manufacturing market, Ergosystems have had to rethink their approach. Customers have increasingly looked for cheaper alternatives but Armstrong is confident that their reputation and stature will count for more in the long run. "We have seen a big rise in the competition in our market from outsides sources from Asia and Europe. These companies came with different specs and different approaches and the standards were very different. We had to ensure our standards did not slip so we could land more projects. Our margins are important but we really believe in sustainable pricing. We have a base price and we will work to ensure clients can get a fair deal but I will not lower our standards just to secure the next project," says Armstrong, giving a clear indication that Ergosystems are in this market for the long haul.
Supplying the Future
One aspect of Ergosystems that Armstrong is particularly proud of is the suppliers they work with on a regular basis. Having a strong relationship with his suppliers, Armstrong often tenders on projects with an exclusive supplier. He explains that this is down to having a previous and ongoing relationship with the supplier that has served them both well: "When I call a supplier on the phone and ask him to help me with a project, they are always willing to partner up with us, as they know the reputation of our company and just what we have achieved in the past." Ergosytem work with respected suppliers in South Africa including Advance Glass, Hulamin and Wispeco, who have worked closely on several of Armstrong's key projects in the last ten years.
One of the big future projects Armstrong is working on is with a large international banking group, looking to expand their footprint into South Africa and Africa. The bank has invested in local banks and before this investment, Ergosystem were already working on several projects at these banks. The new international partners have taken the bank on and Ergosystems have been retained as suppliers to complete the work. "This work for us is very important because it is a global brand and it gives us a big platform with which to showcase our work. It strengthens and accelerates our efforts of expansion into Africa, and it's nice to hold hands in doing so."
With a strong supply chain, high quality design and implementation strategy and a Managing Director who prides himself on the relationships he has created, nurtured and watched blossom into highly profitable partnerships, Ergosystems can be assured that their place in the manufacturing industry in South Africa is all but guaranteed for the foreseeable future.