Challenging Traditional Thinking with Expert Engineering
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
Efficient Engineering has become a Company synonymous with thinking outside the box in the past few years, resulting in the rapid expansion and diversification of its business offering in response to recent industry trends.
Driven by an aptitude for continuous improvement and commitment to building strong relationships with local industry players, the South African-based manufacturer has focused on quality and safety to add value to the business; resulting in a unique and innovative approach to steel fabrication, machining, manufacturing and heavy engineering across mining, power, rail and oil & gas industries in Africa via its three divisions: Efficient Engineering, Efficient Power and the newly-acquired, Efficient Trotech.
Adapting to the drop in commodity prices, the Company has focused on identifying ways to complement its initial equipment manufacturing, repair and refurbishment offering from five decades ago, in order to remain agile in a market that is constantly changing.
“Diversification has protected and strengthened the organisation. Exploring new markets has been a vital component that has allowed us to weather the effects of the commodity storm and emerge even stronger and with new confidence; and with a business that creates tailor-made, high quality and cost-effective solutions,” says Vees Moodley, Group Business Development Director.
In the past four years, Efficient Engineering has grown three-fold in both head count and revenue, seeing a six-fold increase in its customer base, courtesy of organic and acquisitional growth through the Efficient Trotech acquisition.
Backed by five decades of experience in the African market, the Company is now eyeing opportunities outside South Africa with keen interest, in a bid to align its world-class quality standards with a Pan-Africa strategy.
Efficient Trotech success story
The acquisition of Trotech Engineering in September, 2015 is the latest piece of the Efficient Engineering puzzle and has already realised synergies for the Group in the oil & gas industry. Group Financial Director, Brendon Davies explains: “After refining Trotech’s internal processes and restructuring the business to align with our own, we have been able to expose Trotech to the synergies across our other divisions and unlock further opportunities.
The Trotech acquisition has been a true success story, with Efficient having saved around 200 local jobs and solidified previous supplier relationships with the promise of added value and a continued fruitful relationship. “Clients have found new confidence in Efficient Trotech since the takeover, and I am proud to say that more than R180 million worth of orders have been placed post-acquisition,” he adds.
Serving as the single-point of responsibility for a full spectrum of products, enabling the safe, economical storage of liquids and gases, Efficient Trotech helps clients evaluate and select the most cost-effective means of storage.
Moodley comments: “Building relationships has been particularly vital to the ongoing success of all three Companies and innovation has been the driving force behind the synergies and cross overs of our business verticals. For example, Efficient Trotech can tap into Efficient Engineering’s expertise, supply chain and OEM partners, and its common customer base and vice versa.”
With additional workshop facilities in Efficient Engineering’s four factories, comprising a total of 22,000 square metres of floor space, Efficient Trotech hopes to continue dominating the tankage industry both in terms of the maintenance of existing tanks, as well as the construction of new ones.
Challenging the conventional
Started as a one-off project within Efficient Engineering, Efficient Power has now developed into a standalone business that answers a very specific set of challenges in Africa: addressing the challenges of building modular solutions in remote regions. With a turnover of more than R100 million achieved in the first 18 months, Efficient Power now designs, manufactures, tests and fits modular power control cabins and generator sets that make a tangible and sustainable difference to Africa’s energy and utilities sector.
Group Managing Director, Graham Hartley details: “Our turnkey approach to fitting these cabins is designed to limit the risk for clients through a ‘plug and play’ approach. All components are tested in our factory before fitting, which means that more than 95 percent of site-based activities in the construction cycle have been removed compared to on-site construction. Moreover, the modular design means that we can build anywhere and with the majority of the components sourced locally, we can complete work to a tight schedule.
“Leveraging the prior expertise of Efficient Engineering, who manufacture the exterior cabin, Efficient Power was a logical step for us as the business grew its own legs and was very much driven by demand for our product.”
The Company will be placing particular emphasis on securing sales in the power generation market going forward, demonstrating the wide variety of applications and spheres that will serve to bolster the success of Efficient Power in its third year of business.
“As an organisation, we believe that we have only just scratched the surface of the potential for turnkey off-site modular solutions, and we intend to lead the field in this regard, allowing the value and high quality of our offering to benefit not only ourselves but our customers as well,” he further details.
Driven by innovation
Anchoring its offering on world-class standards and safety procedures, Efficient Engineering is considered a preferred partner of choice, an achievement made possible through the continued commitment of its management, dedicated workforce and partners to drive each project to completion and hand-over. Recently earning a B-BBEE level 2 status (on the new codes), the Company aims to raise the skill standards in the industry as a whole, while retaining the best of the apprentices via its internal training programmes.
Davies recalls: “Even in challenging times, we are committed to retaining our staff for the long-term, with a view that current market conditions will improve. An example of this commitment is the R3 million investment made in 2015 for the training and development of apprentices. Currently the factory worker complement is made up of 15 percent apprentices, mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds, which also includes several aspiring black female artisans.
“This is just another example of our contribution towards the growth of the economy through world-class solutions that benchmark South Africa as a global industry player.”
Efficient’s overall focus on people and relationships, along with the right innovative thinking, has been key to securing long-term sustainability, which is something that Moodley emphasises as a core message of the Company’s strategy going forward. He says: “Ultimately, we want to reach out to other African countries and extend our business opportunities. One way we are doing this is by leveraging our extensive existing relationships with OEMs and researching the right export opportunities as part of a long-term Pan-Africa strategy.”
This year, Efficient is aiming to achieve a turnover of R750 million from all three divisions combined, a figure that remains impressively realistic. Moreover, the Company recently confirmed the addition of a fourth specialised division, Efficient Rail, which is now in the start-up phase and promises to generate further industry excitement.
Moodley concludes: “We strive to challenge the convention in order to remain ahead and are always willing to shape our offering around the customer’s changing needs; all while remaining cost-effective and producing a top quality product.
“Innovation plays a huge role in achieving this, and, with the help of our partners who share our future value-add vision, we are keen to drive the success of the business even further and enter new sectors that complement our existing offering.”