Industrial equipment supplier Rutherford’s fastener division FTS Fasteners & Fixings is working steadily to expose its customers to its new product range and aims to increase its South African fastener market share by increasing the product range and improving stockholdings, as well as through possible acquisitions.
FTS is well-established as a rivet and riveting tool supplier in the South African retail and end-user markets and Rutherford’s acquisition of fastener supplier All Trade in January last year has enabled the company to expand its product offering to include fasteners.
However, FTS divisional head Charmaine Beukes notes that the end-user market has responded somewhat pensively to the addition of fasteners to the rivet range, as many of these customers have an established supplier already.
“As All Trade did not have a retail footprint for fasteners, FTS has been using its distribution relationships to begin to incorporate prepacked fasteners into the retail stores under the FTS branding. “Our dedicated and competent sales staff are chipping away at the walls and we intend to increase our fasteners market share substantially in the next year.”
She adds that the increase of import tariffs for stainless steel fasteners as of April 1 has caused some instability in the market and economic uncertainty in South Africa has, moreover, caused many building and manufacturing expansion projects to be put on hold. However, FTS remains optimistic that, with the rand stabilising and the investment status of the country remaining static, there will be a slow but steady upturn in the local industrial market.
Further, as Rutherford is a member of South African importer and distributor Hudaco Group, this provides FTS with the benefit of partnering with fellow Hudaco companies as it explores opportunities for expanding its business further into Africa.
Currently, FTS exports its products to Namibia through Rutherford’s Cape Town branch. Beukes explains that this has been done on a small scale to date; however, she adds that FTS intends to intensify its efforts in Namibia this year. The company has also identified Zambia as a possible export destination.
Beukes highlights that Hudaco has a strong export support system in place, and FTS met with several other companies in the group earlier this year to discuss strategies and share ideas with those that are already experiencing success in the African market.
“We are aware that there is strong international competition; however, we have many value-add services which we believe will win us a share of that market.”
Rutherford has three branches – in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – from where FTS has supplied the full range of blind and structural rivets, riveting tools, rivnuts and rivnut guns for many years.