innovative source of value add.”
Divisional businesses are prominent players in their fields. We have industry leaders in the Home of Living Brands (consumer products), G. Fox (PPE and industrial consumables), Plumblink (plumbing supplies), Yamaha (motorcycles to musical instruments), Afcom (packaging and fastenings), Buffalo Tapes (adhesive and printed tape), Vulcan (catering equipment), Academy Brushware (brushes and cleaning applications) and Berzack Brothers (industrial sewing machines) while Nissan Forklifts is rapidly becoming a strong challenger to established names in its sector.
Brand strength was evident in tough trading conditions. Teams consolidated their industry positions or increased market share.
Divisional scale was further increased with the Plumblink acquisition, the integration of Consumer Products and the move of G. Fox from what was previously the Rental and Products division.
Part of the reason for growing divisional excitement is the changing face of management. We strive for balance – a mix of deep industry experience and young promise. Succession planning ensures development from within wherever possible. Younger middle managers are being developed for senior positions while more and more women are taking leadership roles. This explains high levels of energy and morale.
VISION AND INNOVATION
We are self-starters and solution finders. We are committed to constant evolution of the business.
For us, innovation is not a matter of inventing new technologies, but of adding value in how we present, package, market and support the products and services we offer. Our people’s knowledge is another innovative source of value add.
Strong focus on customers and markets has always characterised our business. Each team is accountable for performance and growth. A new focus area for our expanded division is concentration on areas of common interest across business units. This creates potential for synergies and information sharing.
We strive to achieve best practice in each operation and then share optimal processes with sister companies.
At the same time, consolidation enables economies of scale and competitive pricing, further entrenching our relationship with customers – another key area of focus.
Business transformation is a central driver of our business. The empowerment of black entrepreneurs in the industrial and manufacturing sectors has become a key element of government’s transformation policy. Therefore, we continually evaluate opportunities to work with black SMMEs. Partnership with suppliers contributes to enterprise development across all businesses.
Business evolution and people development go hand in hand. Black women increasingly take positions of responsibility in our businesses. However, continued efforts are needed if sustained black advancement is to be achieved.
Training spend rose to R17 million (2015: R8 million).
We are growing. We are evolving. What we are not doing is abandoning the classic components of the Bidvest culture. We are still entrepreneurial. We do not build hierarchies. We avoid complexity. We not only stay close to customers, we stay close to everything affecting performance – the job, the market, our industry, our people and communities.
Unbundling had little day-by-day impact on these practices.
The Bidvest culture ensures we are ready for “business unusual”, but when it comes to delivering to customer expectations without disruption it was “business as usual”.
Important customer groups in construction, mining, manufacturing and retail faced growing pressure. Casualties occurred among both customers and competitors. Cash was increasingly tight across municipalities and some public sector bodies.
|Contribution to Group
- Successful bulking up of the division was a key feature of 2016.
- At the beginning of the year, Plumblink, the nationally represented plumbing and bathroom merchant, was acquired and made a full-year contribution to our results.
- The Home of Living Brands, previously an independent Consumer Products division, was simultaneously integrated into a beefed-up Commercial Products division.
- Both transitions were exceptionally smooth.
- Revenue rose 42% to R5,9 billion (2015: R4,2 billion). Trading profit was up 41,8% at R475 million (2015: R335 million). Even without Plumblink’s inclusion, the division achieved double-digit growth.
- Of the 10 business units in the division, eight achieved strong double-digit increases in profit. The exceptions, G. Fox and Vulcan, were coming off a high base and were selling into depressed industries.
- Cash generation was strong and margin management was robust.
- In a weakening economy, getting paid became key and efficient debtors management underpinned performance.
- Preserving jobs in a challenging period was a point of pride.
The 2017 target is for double-digit profit growth, though trading conditions will remain difficult. Further acquisition opportunities will be sought.
Bidvest’s acquisition of Brandcorp should be finalised in the new year. The business, with its Industrial and Consumer divisions, will contribute to strong growth and our continued evolution.
Brandcorp supplies industrial equipment, tools, hardware, welding machines, generators, lifting equipment, rigging, luggage, automotive accessories, camping equipment, houseware and dinnerware.