Rising Above Economic Conditions
David Poggiolini stated the following in Wood Southern Africa & Timber Times:
“While others shy away from current market conditions, PG Bison reasserts its commitment to the country”.
Economic conditions have caused many private sector companies to put a halt on investing in the country, but not PG Bison.
PG Bison has continued to invest in its South African manufacturing operations, despite the sentiments and actions of others in the market.
Gerhard Victor, PG Bison’s Chief Executive Officer, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, and his team of executives, are taking a long-term view on depressed worldwide economies. He stated that investing now will ensure that the company is in the right position when the upturn comes around. Victor tells Wood Southern Africa & Timber Times in an exclusive interview:
“I have been through many cycles during my long stay with PG Bison, and it has always been our strategy to undertake capital intensive projects when the economies are down, so as to ensure that we are well prepared when they recover – and they always do.”
Executing and delivering on such projects can have long lead times of up to three years; this calls for thorough due diligence of these projects by the PG Bison executive team before presenting them to shareholders.
KAP Diversified Industrial, who owns PG Bison, has always supported PG Bison’s decisions and, shown by its willingness to invest in various projects, has also demonstrated commitment to the country.
Turning Challenges Into Opportunities
PG Bison’s aim is to turn challenges into opportunities while focussing on always bettering their service offering to the customer. This is complemented by a hands-on management approach, which entails stricter control over expenditure and a close watch on cash-flow.
Victor mentioned that smaller businesses have also adopted this approach in the cut-and-edge industry, which is a large consumer of PG Bison’s products. These smaller businesses, according to Victor, operate at a significant rate and overcome many challenges; this is beneficial to the South African economy, as these companies create much-needed jobs in our country.
Investment Into High-Gloss Finishing
Another example of PG Bison taking on an opportunity, during challenging marketing conditions, is its investment into a high-tech, gloss-surface production line at its Boksburg plant. The new facility will ensure PG Bison can introduce locally produced, affordable, great quality product into this market.
Judging by the “fantastic” response from the market, Victor believes that the company will dislodge the current position of imported gloss products, leaving PG Bison in a very strategic position for future demand in high-gloss finished products.
The product is not only trending in South Africa, but there is significant potential for the high-gloss board products further into Africa, especially the East African region. PG Bison is already busy with its partner in Kenya to ensure product availability in the region. With the rapid growth of the middle class in East Africa, this should become a big advantage for PG Bison.
Since PG Bison’s Ugie board plant was commissioned in 2007, the company has been on a non-stop drive, investing large amounts of money into its operations. This includes the installation of three continuous presses – used to boost the production particleboard and medium density fibreboard. Work has also been undertaken to upgrade its sawmilling operation. Various other upgrading facilities have also been added including a new short cycle press at Piet Retief which will commence operations in June 2017.
All of these investments have helped make PG Bison’s strategy a reality, giving the company more of a competitive edge, especially during tight economic conditions. This puts PG Bison’s customers in a much stronger position, with world class products and ranges at their disposal.
Watch This Space!
PG Bison has a lot more in store and continuously strives to improve its operations in South Africa and other regions on the continent. Stay tuned – possibilities are endless!
Adapted from David Poggiolini article in Wood Southern Africa & Timber Times, June 2016. Pages 30-31