Taking ‘local is lekker’ to a new level

By: Kelly-Ann Prinsloo – writer

Gap Holdings is taking the local electric and solar water heating sector by storm with a passion for people and high-quality, locally-manufactured goods

As managing director of Powerz-On Solar Solutions, a proudly South African solar thermal collector manufacturing company, Mike Breckenridge, explained that the decision to buy Geyser Allied Products (Gap) came from a desire for Powerz-On to take more control of the electric and solar water geyser supply chain.

Breckenridge, now managing director of Gap Holdings has always been passionate about local manufacturing and, as such, even when it became cheaper and easier to import cheap goods, the Powerz-On management team made a decision to stick to local manufacturing as far as possible.

Keeping it local
Gap Holdings is a local manufacturing company through and through, and Breckenridge and joint director, Theuns van Aardt, are equally passionate about keeping it local. “We’ve championed this cause for about eight years now,” van Aardt said. “Everything possible, we manufacture and source locally.”

Local manufacturing is important to Breckenridge, van Aardt and the Gap Holdings team because, not only does it stimulate the economy and the sector, but it also results in job creation for South Africans because it allows the company’s processes to be more labour-intensive, as opposed to automated processes. And this has a ripple effect within the market – not only does Gap Holdings provide fair, stable employment for its employees but, by buying from other local manufacturers and suppliers, Gap Holdings is indirectly providing employment for the employees of those manufacturers and suppliers. This, in turn, stimulates growth within the sector, which benefits all who work within it, and South Africa as a whole.

This does not mean that Breckenridge and his team see no value in imported goods. Van Aardt said, “We are not totally opposed to imported goods. We believe it’s a free market – competition is good, but we are against cheap dumping of foreign goods.”

Gap Holdings not only produces locally-manufactured products, but also takes steps to ensure that the raw materials the company uses also come from reliable South African sources. “Relationships are very important in this industry,” Breckenridge said. “When we took over, I met with the local steel suppliers, developed that relationship with them, so that we can be sure we have a reliable supply of locally-sourced materials that adhere to the necessary standards.”

“It’s a daily attempt at keeping everything local, because we are passionate about local manufacturing,” said Breckenridge.

Read more about this project in Plumbing Africa Novemeber 2015, page 68.

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