DPI plans to extend its technology deeper into Africa - 2010-11-15
DPI plans to extend its technology deeper into Africa
(November 2010): Piping manufacturer DPI Plastics reports that it plans to establish its piping technologies and expertise for manufacturers in African countries to reduce transport costs, time and other challenges related to exporting the company’s products into Africa.
DPI Plastics, which is actively involved in exporting its products to mining industries and agents in Southern Africa, hopes to target other regions in Africa, including Central and West Africa, as there is a gap in the market for specialised pipelines for mining operations.
“DPI’s polyvinyl chloride and high-density polyethylene pipes are products that require specific equipment and technology to produce and manufacture, but many African countries do not have the labour, expertise or access to this technology,” says DPI Plastics export manager Rajesh Naval.
DPI has been investigating working with a few select manufacturers in Central and West Africa in an effort to transfer its technology and expertise to employees at pipeline manufacturers, starting up with pilot projects.
With a technology transfer, DPI Plastics will, in effect, train its African partner manufacturers to manufacture the products locally, instead of exporting them from South Africa or other countries.
Naval points out that it will be beneficial to mining companies operating African mines to have products readily available economically close to their operations in-country, as well as advantageous to the local manufacturers that will be producing the pipes because they will save on transport costs, be able to offer these specialised products at a competitive price, as well as supply these products more quickly, which will make them more competitive in the local market.
The aim of these potential technology transfer projects is to test the viability of transferring the company’s technology and to uncover any possible challenges the manufacturers may face.
He says that such a project will take about two years to complete, because the promotion of the products at the mines, visiting the various mines and gaining an understanding of each mine’s requirements is a time-consuming task.
Meanwhile, Naval encourages other South African companies in other mining related supply industries to undertake similar projects. Many West and Central African countries import most of their mining products from international corporations and this could easily be done by South African companies.
Exporting products into the rest of Africa is expensive and challenging, which easily discourages South African companies from supplying products into Africa.
However, instead of just exporting supplies to Africa, companies should step in, buy shares in manufacturing firms or sign license agreements with them to build up expertise in these countries. If the entities teach the manufacturers and their employees what technology and expertise is needed to develop and manufacture specialised products for the industries, it will assist in developing the country faster,” he says.
This could effectively be South Africa’s chance to step in with an alternative offer, such as technology transfers, that would be a more cost-effective, easier and quicker solution for African mining companies, he concludes.