SOUTH AFRICA – Swiss multinational plant equipment manufacturer, Bühler, marked its golden anniversary of establishing its business in South Africa, a strategic market for the global player.
Commemorating its success over the last 50 years, the company held a number of celebratory activities marked by going down the memory lane, highlighting key milestones it has achieved on the African continent, and serving of a special menu based on the products used in Bühler processes and solutions, among others.
Speaking at the event, Dr Mpho Phalatse, the Mayor of Johannesburg, said, “We celebrate the presence of businesses such as Bühler, we celebrate their contribution towards building our beautiful city of Johannesburg. And we celebrate their growth.
“Today it’s their birthday, so it signals growth. But not only growth for the company but growth for our city because when they grow, we also grow.”
Reminiscing its formative years in South Africa, the company commenced operations in January 10, 1972, as Bühler MIAG South Africa, a joint company, by René Schneider with Hans Widmer as its first Managing Director.
At the beginning, the company’s main activity was customer service, selling spares and wear parts as well as fluting and welding in the workshop.
Soon after, the product portfolio got larger as the business grew and more demands of customers and markets needed to be served.
It has metamorphosised to become the central contact point for all enquiries, from grain to consumer goods processing and advanced material processing solutions.
From serving a single country, now the Johannesburg office is the regional headquarters for the Southern Africa sub region responsible for Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, La Reunion, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Stefan Scheiber, Bühler CEO, says, “South Africa has been, and will remain, a country with particularly important customers, both local family-companies and leading regional and global brands.
“Therefore, a local presence, with local experts has been and will remain key to secure our business, now and in future.”
Major player in the Southern African economy
Offering cutting edge technology and unravelled expertise, Bühler South Africa boasts some of the biggest names in fast moving consumer goods sector in the Southern Africa region as its customers, together ensuring food supply to more than 200 million people.
Other than availing the needed technology to the food sector, Bühler has contributed to the growth of the South African economy employing 220 professionals in various departments. Bühler also runs an apprenticeship program which is adapted from the Swiss education system.
The company has a lot of different programs in terms of skills development, community programs, and they contribute to the economic transformation of the country.
Bühler eyes future growth
Building on its success in South Africa, Bühler plans on expanding other business units besides Milling in the region.
It also has a drive to increase business opportunities into other regional countries such as Angola, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi.
Stefan Scheiber, Bühler CEO, says, “In the long term, the market of South Africa including the neighbouring countries will double its inhabitants to 400 million people by 2050.
“This is our motivation and reasons for Bühler to continue strengthening our organizations in South Africa but also in Southern Africa, as we continue to live our vision: innovations for a better world.”
India has recently been added to the MEA region as part of Bühler’s South-South-strategy, now being MAI, (Middle East, Africa & India) so the company foresees further collaboration and opportunities within this scope.
Heiko Feuring, Head of Middle East and Africa Region, says, “The growing together of the MEA region and the Southern Africa region has reached the next level, so we are changing from a co-existence into a successful partnership with all the great benefits.
“We can create customer solutions for MEA, we can utilize the supply chain, we can focus on the best country sourcing and develop and provide solutions for Africa within that region. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
Globally Bühler has been in existence for over 160 years driven by its purpose of creating innovations for a better world, balancing the needs of economy, humanity, and nature.
The company is committed to have solutions ready that will reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in its customers’ value chains by 2025.