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The power of one

The managing director of Franke South Africa, Craig McIntyre, tells Plumbing Africa what gets him up in the morning, and talks about the recent merger between Franke Kitchen Systems and Franke Water Heating.

Taking on this role entails leading and managing the strategic directionof the business and affairs of Franke in sub-Saharan Africa, McIntyre says. His responsibilities are to grow the Franke brand in sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainable and profitable way. Currently, this means overseeing three divisions of the Franke Group in South Africa, being Kitchen Systems, Water Systems, and WaterHeating.

He started his career at Defy Appliances in Durban as a product development engineer, gaining valuable experience in project management, manufacturing, and product design and development over a period of six years.

McIntyre has been with Franke for 14 years and says that when he joined, he wasn’t looking for an ‘industry’ — he was simply trying to gain as much experience as he could.

Managing and developing people

“I absolutely love what I do, mainly because it involves managing and developing people,” says McIntyre, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Durban-Westville.

“I am fortunate at Franke to have many really good people who understand the need to continuously develop and improve. I also enjoy the fact that no two days are the same.

“I’m positive about the future,” he says. Franke in South Africa — and in some of the sub-Saharan African countries — is well established as a leading provider of innovative, distinctive solutions for kitchens and baths to residential and commercial customers.

According to McIntyre, there is still much work to be done in many other sub-Saharan African countries. In the short term, with the added responsibility of Franke’s Water Heating Division, he sees a great opportunity to leverage Franke’s existing infrastructure, experience and relationships to provide a competitively priced quality product to customers, backed by a strong after sales service. Kitchen sinks are only a small part of what Franke has to offer globally, and it aims to continue to offer new and innovative products to customers in the years ahead.

“My work philosophy is to have a continuous improvement mindset that encourages us to learn from our mistakes and to challenge the status quo. In all relationships, I’m looking for mutually beneficial solutions. This mindset, along with honesty and hard work, will lead to long term sustainable profitable growth.”

Concerning the merger, the two previous legal entities of Franke Kitchen Systems and Franke Water Heating Systems were amalgamated on 1 July 2016 to form Franke South Africa. The amalgamation allows the company to eradicate the inefficiencies and overheads required to have two separate legal entities.

Acting as one company

“The majority of customers also regard Franke as onecompany and this simply gives us the opportunity to truly act as one,” he says.

Franke now employs about 300 people at two manufacturing sites in Midrand and Durban, as well as at sales offices around South Africa.

Already, the company has made tremendous improvements, especially in the areas of sales, after sales, quality, and logistics. At the moment the water heating industry is extremely competitive and more improvement is still required, but on the whole the merger has been extremely successful. “This would not have been possible without the dedicated, hardworking employees of Franke South Africa, as well as the support from our customers,” McIntyre says.

The Franke that customers knew with regard to stainless steel products is now the same Franke that they will see in Franke’s plumbing products.

 

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