Parker Manufacturing – it’s all about efficiency

By: Kelly-Ann Prinsloo – writer

James Trubshaw, chief executive officer (CEO) of Parker Manufacturing, talks about the state of the manufacturing sector and the processes that go into creating the company’s products.

Parker Manufacturing has been in business since 1979. Chief executive officer (CEO), James Trubshaw, who has been with the company since the 90s, has helped the company grow from strength to strength, to become a formidable player in the local manufacturing sector.

Parker Manufacturing has two main divisions – plastic manufacturing for the plumbing industry, and the conversion of wood product into bathroom furniture. Based in Industria West, Parker Manufacturing is ideally situated to distribute its products around Gauteng, with easy access to the M1 and M2, well as the N3/12 and N1.

Local is lekker
A large percentage of Parker Manufacturing’s raw material, particularly when it comes to the manufacture of plumbing products, is sourced locally. The Dow Chemical Company and Sasol are big producers of polypropylene, which is used in some of Parker Manufacturing’s plumbing products.

For more specialised raw materials, Parker Manufacturing imports when no local alternative is available. The problem with imported products is that there is often a lot of variation in quality, colour, etc. and so, Trubshaw saw that the company’s policy is to source local product whenever possible. This allows for more control over quality and shorter lead times. “We try to buy locally wherever possible,” said Trubshaw. “In terms of raw materials, if the process is here and the capacity’s here, then the prices are competitive.”

Trubshaw added that it is far better to buy locally because it gives a company more flexibility. “It’s not always better to import. I think there is a perception in South Africa, unfortunately, that if it’s imported, it’s better quality, which is actually nonsense.”

The state of local manufacturing
Trubshaw said that, in his opinion, what has happened in South Africa is that, for a time, cheap imported products of reasonable quality were available to buy and now, that perception has stuck. The ‘buy South African’ campaign didn’t quite work out well, Trubshaw said, adding that it is up to manufacturers to promote their locally-made products so that consumers are aware that, by buying locally, not only are they supporting local manufacturers, but they are helping to boost the economy and create jobs for unemployed South Africans. Parker’s strategy is to put the message out, through product branding, that, by buying Parker products, consumers are supporting and sustaining employment.

Read the full feature in Plumbing Africa October 2015, page 71.

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