THE APPOINTMENT OF MIKE APPEL INDUSTRIAL, A DIVISION OF THE MIKE APPEL GROUP, AS ATLAS COPCO COMPRESSOR TECHNIQUE’S AUTHORISED DISTRIBUTOR IN ZIMBABWE JUST OVER A YEAR AGO, HAS BEEN A RESOUNDING SUCCESS.
Thanks to this valuable partnership customers across the region continue to reap the rewards of superior quality product delivery supported by excellent after-sales service. “There is no doubt that partnering with a company like Atlas Copco, a world renowned pioneer in compressed air research, technology and sustainability, gives us a competitive edge, evidenced by our healthy supply of new capital equipment to Zimbabwean mining and industrial customers during the first year of our distributorship,” states The Mike Appel Group’s Managing Director, Lindsay Chanakira. “This includes the delivery an installation of two GA250 screw compressors on a gold mine, with reports of satisfaction with both machines, as well as the upgrade of a GA200 compressor from 7.5 bar to 10 bar at a platinum mine.”
Alongside an order for a ZE4 blower Mike Appel Industrial commissioned a new GA250 compressor for a cement giant and also won a tender for the supply of two ZT45 compressors to one of the biggest hospitals in Zimbabwe.
The business relationship between the two companies started in 2015 with Mike Appel Industrial supplying Atlas Copco industrial diesel generators to Zimbabwe’s mining, healthcare, agro-processing, construction, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors.
“Mike Appel’s exceptional reputation in Zimbabwe’s business arena that spans an impressive 72 years is what earned the company Atlas Copco’s authorised distributorship,” states Compressor Technique’s Business Development Manager – Daryn Jack. “As they have been actively servicing customers in our industry and in various other avenues for many years, formalising the relationship by signing them on as our authorised distributor and in so doing, assisting and servicing customers in our portfolio, simply made sound business sense.”
In line with the distributor agreement which was signed in October 2019 Mike Appel Industrial supplies Atlas Copco Compressor Technique’s extensive stationary electric compressor portfolio of oil-injected and oil free piston, scroll, tooth, vane and screw type machines as well as preventative maintenance kits and accessories.
The Mike Appel Group’s footprint has expanded exponentially since its founding in 1948 to provide precision engineering services to the growing Zimbabwean motor industry. Today the Mike Appel Group serves diverse markets across the country. Alongside compressors other areas of specialisation include engineering services, the supply of motor spares, generators, lighting towers and solar solutions.
“Our vision to lead in the area of engineering services in Zimbabwe ensures that our approach to all our projects is driven by excellence, professionalism and quality,” comments Lindsay. “Our proud reputation for the delivery of quality products coupled with excellent service from a team of highly trained, experienced professionals to our individual and corporate customers is augmented by our strategic partnerships with reliable and trusted global brands like Atlas Copco.”
Elaborating on the Atlas Copco brand Lindsay points out that as the founder of industrial compressed air back in 1873 the company possesses an extensive amount of knowledge and insight which they openly share with industries relying on compressed air. “Moreover, Atlas Copco compressors and spares typically operate beyond their design lifecycle and are accompanied by warranties, translating to the lowest cost of ownership for customers.”
According to Lindsay, Atlas Copco is the only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that provides an after-market service for compressors in Zimbabwe so their machines are the preferred brand for heavy industrial applications consequently attracting vast numbers of long-term customers and partners across the country. “Added to this Atlas Copco compressors are equipped with SmartLink technology which facilitates remote monitoring of machines in the field.” Lindsay goes on to laud Compressor Technique’s experienced team of technicians that cater to site inspections and preventative and breakdown maintenance for Mike Appel Industrial’s vast clientele. “We also receive back-up support from Atlas Copco’s Product Specialists in South Africa,” she adds.
According to Daryn, Atlas Copco considers distributor support as essential in maintaining successfuI distributor partnerships and he elaborates on the various support channels available to Atlas Copco distributors, “Dedicated Product Managers from the new equipment division assist with technical information and share knowledge on new units and Sales Representatives render assistance with technical proposals, pricing, etc.
Our distributors also have access to our Technical Specialists for advice on all troubleshooting issues on our machinery and there is also a dedicated contact for spare parts support. As their dedicated Business Development Manager, I am the direct liaison between Mike Appel Industrial and Atlas Copco Compressor Technique. I assist them to develop and grow the areas of business in the country by conducting regular regional visits to their premises and attending customer meetings with them to show customers that our distributors have Atlas Copco’s full support.”
Atlas Copco extends this support through regular distributor training offering platforms such as online theory, self- training, online/ virtual product (product launches) and technical training sessions to keep technicians up to date on technical knowledge. Advanced technical training is also offered at Atlas Copco’s training academy in Egypt. “Additionally, we conduct onsite training for the technical teams of both our distributors and customers and I provide support during customer visits as and when needed,” said Daryn.
Atlas Copco’s range of training programs for Mike Appel Industrial’s technicians and sales personnel has impressed Lindsay which she says helps them to continue expanding their scope and expertise in the field. “We found the weekly distributor online product training sessions hosted by Atlas Copco Compressor Technique South Africa’s Industrial Air Division during October and November 2020 extremely valuable.”
Adding further value and convenience for distributors are Atlas Copco’s online spare parts ordering and processing systems. Distributors have access to the Global Business Portal that allows them to gain access to all Atlas Copco equipment, including new products and developments, accessories and compressor related information of a technical or sales nature which Lindsay describes as “extremely useful”, adding that this information is also readily available on the Atlas Copco website.
Turning to the subject of challenges and opportunities within the Zimbabwean landscape Lindsay says, “Although we face a number of challenges in Zimbabwe, there are some great opportunities too. The fact that there is vast room for improvement and development in all major sectors of our economy such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture is providing an opportunity for small and medium-scale start-up enterprises that would otherwise struggle to compete in saturated markets, as evident in developed countries, to thrive. In addition, Zimbabwe has large reserves of raw materials and minerals required to produce high value capital equipment as well as the personnel to implement such.”
Wrapping up, Daryn says, “As distributors are ultimately an extension of our business it is important that they share Atlas Copco’s Vision and Mission and that their Core Values align with ours. In addition the service they provide must be of sound product and technical expertise, all of which Mike Appel Industrial has most certainly upheld. Their professionalism and unparalleled service delivery combined with their impressive footprint and market presence in Zimbabwe are win-wins for both companies and add value for our customers across the region.”
He continues, “We are extremely privileged to have them as our authorised distributor in Zimbabwe; through this partnership we look forward to even bigger and greater things from The Mike Appel Group to the ultimate benefit of our customers.”