Consolidating in a a Toughening Economy
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
Capitalising on market gaps and competitor shortfalls in the early 2000s to build an international reputation in the professional engineering services industry, the ARINT Group of Companies has since expanded in tandem with its growing customer base; with the main objective to provide customers with a solution-driven service.
Building on the Group’s desire to become a global player in consulting engineering, project management, nuclear engineering, asset management and risk engineering sub-sectors, ARINT entered South Africa in 2004 based on the movement of its customers. This strategic move has resulted in ARINT South Africa becoming the largest player in the Group today.
“Our main Group objective is to provide our customers with a tailored, solutions-driven service offering to distinguish ourselves from the competition. On a case-by-case basis, we listen attentively to client issues, needs and risks, and formulate a satisfactory solution that delivers on all fronts,” explains Francois Mellet, Managing Director of ARINT South Africa.
The global commodity crisis has presented its fair share of challenges across African industry, with the mining sector in particular proving a volatile market in recent years. In order to mitigate these challenges, ARINT South Africa is toughening its operations with a keen focus on reducing overheads, while improving its range of value-add offerings to build stronger relationships with those in the industry who are equally feeling the strain.
“This year, we have decided to consolidate all our efforts in finding new ways to make our business more sustainable, with a renewed energy and vitality. By being loyal to our customers in the hard times, we can secure long-term business opportunities,” he adds.
With more than a decade of experience in global engineering garnered from the wider Group’s long-term involvement in the French Nuclear Waste programme - and with other international companies such as Exxaro, X-Strata and Eskom - ARINT may only be a small player in the market, but its service offering and focused low overheads, coupled with big aspirations, continue to distinguish the Company from the competition.
In South Africa, ARINT has assisted with numerous new mine developments by assessing their high level risks as well as assisting in the various stages of design right through to a project’s completion and hand over. With the current economic slowdown having an effect on the number of new large mining projects on the continent, ARINT is to capitalise on the latest industry trend for low-value commodity mines being planned across South Africa.
Mellet confirms: “We are keen to participate in these new mine developments, as well as focusing on the lucrative opportunities arising in West Africa which is showing promising signs of recovery since the Ebola Crisis.
“Moreover, the current drought in South Africa is calling for a re-evaluation of water resources and we are working closely with potential customers to become part of bringing the right solutions into fruition.”
Stability and reliability
As the mining industry continues to suffer the after-effects of the commodity crisis, ARINT South Africa has placed emphasis on its continuous improvement strategy to not only adjust its offering to meet industry requirements, but to prove itself as a high quality, internationally-successful brand that offers stability and reliability to any project.
“Some local companies have had a bad experience with partners who struggle to deliver on time and within budget. As their expectations continue to rise, we have made sure to stay one step ahead and invest in our staff, qualifications and certifications - ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 - to future-proof our Company, and show we are here for them in the long-term,” he explains.
“To this end, we as a Company, and our staff, are members of engineering, asset management, project management (PMP) and risk management professional institutions, to provide confidence to our customers. We also attend conferences, exhibitions, new launches and specialist courses to keep abreast of an ever-changing environment.”
Over time, ARINT has formed various business partnerships with companies who share the same competencies and aptitude for success in Africa. “Support from these entities is invaluable,” says Mellet. “Relationships such as this are mutually beneficial: we can share knowledge and combine our strengths in the tender clarification stage to enhance our offering and create a more complete service. For example, where ARINT requires architects, town planners, environmental practitioners, quantity surveyors and the like, we can leverage our existing partner network to obtain these skills from project to project.”
Having returned from the recent Mining Indaba with a renewed focus on delivering an ever-improving reputable service as valuable experts in engineering, ARINT South Africa is firmly focused on weathering the economic storm and emerging stronger and more prepared than before to capitalise on opportunities across Africa.
“As specialists in our field, we need to boost our value-adding capabilities in order to simultaneously boost our reputation not just in South Africa, but internationally. Our goal is to have more satisfied customers in 2016 than ever before, spreading our wings into Botswana and Namibia; with the hope of an additional phase of expansion into Tanzania and the DRC, followed by a strategic move into North West Africa,” notes Mellet.
He concludes: “The issues raised at the Mining Indaba brought to the fore political uncertainties and tensions in our beloved country that are currently distracting our minds from the serious business resolves required in an ailing economy. I would like to call on all business leaders to stay focused on the big task ahead and not allow the political uneasiness ahead of the local elections, planned for August, 2016, to detract from the focus that is required to make a turnaround this year.”