Servicing the market with exponential success
The speed with which Saint-Gobain entered the South African market and acquired established companies such as Isover (previously Owens Corning). Weber (Previously Tylon), and Gyproc (previously BPB Gypsum), amongst others, was quite staggering, but with its international expertise and professionalism this mammoth Group has ensured that these different companies have blended into Saint-Gobain's becoming a major player within the local construction industry.
Saint-Gobain Weber is a case in point. Its core business is industrial mortars, adhesives and cement-based renders marketed locally under the Tylon product portfolio, but one only needs to look at the development programmes of this burgeoning company that are in place to realise that it is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with throughout Southern Africa. When Daryl Meyer joined Weber as managing director in January 2008 the company was purely an adhesives manufacturer and supplier, with no other products in its product portfolio. The introduction of experienced people (such as Category Manager for Specialised Products Willie Bosch) has meant that Saint-Gobain Weber has added several cement based products to its product portfolio, and this - coupled with the extensive ranges of complementary products that Saint-Gobain South Africa can provide - means that the company can now offer a comprehensive and detailed package to the architectural and construction industry. The international takeover of Maxit by Weber also allows Weber to draw from the extensive overseas expertise to meet any local requirement of the local cementitous flooring market. "This means that with an extended product portfolio we have become one of the more design-orientated companies, instead of being a commodity tile adhesive supplier, and in this respect architects and other specifiers are more than willing to talk to us and seek our advice." says Daryl. The new products recently developed and added to the range offered by Weber include Colour Silk, Grano Colour, Marbelite and Brush Coat, all researched and tested to ensure top product performance in each case. Weber Grano Colour is a cement-based, integrally coloured granolithic flooring product for the surface hardening of freshly placed concrete or screeds - for use wherever a superior final finish is required. Applied by the dry-shake method, it may be steel floated to a smooth finish or imprinted to obtain tiled or paved effects for interior or exterior use, providing a very hardwearing and attractive surface colouring system. Produced from carefully selected raw materials to ensure consistency of the product, including graded aggregates that assist in producing a fine finish, Weber Marbelite is a cement-based, integrally coloured marble plaster that has been specially formulated for application onto gunite or hand-packed concrete pool shells. Also, cement-based, Weber Brush Coat provides a coloured, waterproof, textured finish for interior and exterior wall that can be readily applied by block-brush. Produced from carefully selected raw materials for consistency of product. Brush Coat and Marbelite only require the addition of water on site to effect the application. These new products are formulated using quality-assured raw materials of exceptional and consistent performance, and are available in a range of colours. In addition, specifiers and end-users can rely on the backing of superior technical support from Saint-Gobain Weber. Saint-Gobain Weber recently opened a new factory in Durban that is fully geared to produce standard tile adhesive ranges for the local market right on its doorstep. "Our market share has increased quite significantly over the last couple of years, and the time is now right to produce the Tylon range of adhesives regionally to offer clients a quicker turnaround time from order to delivery than ever before, while maintaining the high standards of quality and reliability with which our products have become synonymous." "The new factory is breaking ground other than by meeting the direct response to demand from the KwaZulu-Natal construction industry," says Daryl. "Internationally, the Weber organisation has a very strong modular plant design methodology from our sister company M-Tec. and this factory is the first plant built by M-Tec in South Africa. It is being used as a test case for this type of plant design around the world.' This plant is aimed not only to the KZN market, but also to the East Coast markets of Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, but by 2013 we will have a manufacturing plant in every major centre in South Africa, and more north of our border to enable supply to all the neighbouring countries," Daryl concludes!!