FILTRATION WITH FLAIR READY TO FLY
- MANN+HUMMEL Filters South Africa is ready for lift-off, with all their ducks precisely in a row
- AUTHORATATIVE. Uncompromising. Excellent.
These three words sum up the German experience most succinctly, and together combine to provide the most consistent offering for a manufactured product.
When it comes to the automotive aftermarket, and it concerns filtration, those three words are laconic. It’s not often that you can, indeed, use three words to sum it all up so neatly, like a perfectly packaged item, not a seam out of place. Yet, with MANN-FILTER you can, and the great news for all perfectionists out there is that MANN+HUMMEL and MANN-FILTER are right here in Johannesburg, ready to supply you with the best in filtration.
In fact, conducting an interview with the guys at MANN+HUMMEL South Africa, you feel as if you’ve been in an intensive R&D planning session, something that is, indeed, a common occurrence in any German scenario, so it’s not surprising that when you fling in a question intended to throw the guys off course, they come back with the correct answer without any hesitation. That’s what intensive R&D does. That’s what German quick-thinkers do the best.
Preamble aside, this filtration news couldn’t have come at a better time in the aftermarket industry. Precision and perfection is much needed where many sub-standard items are becoming increasingly insidious in the marketplace.
We are meeting with two men soaked in the ethos of MANN+HUMMEL. It’s like the smell of the earth after a soaking South African thunderstorm. Sweet and succulent, expectant with possibilities. That is the interview experience. It is immensely satisfying. Africa, or anywhere really, needs the very best, and when it concerns filtration, it is of dire necessity as sacrificing quality for cheaper products could have disastrous consequences.
The men in question, Cédric Dackam, vice president for MANN+HUMMEL Middle East Africa, and Piet van der Heever, managing director, MANN+HUMMEL Filters South Africa have been busy for a while getting the South African operation ready to meet all market expectations.
Dackam started collating all the background information in November 2016, conducting investigations and efficacy strategies.
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“We saw an absolute and very clear need for us to be directly active in this particular marketplace,” he says. “Better educated people are becoming the norm, and this translates to better understanding of correct products and procedures. The demand is increasing for quality products, so, together with increasing direct foreign investment in Africa, was the realisation that not to be active here would be a grave mistake.”
Johannesburg was identified as the hub of the African marketplace, being the natural entry into the continent and having the infrastructure and development to expand further into countries in the SADC region around Southern Africa.
“We already have a history of having a product here, but our brand awareness has never been high enough,” says Van der Heever. “This is the reason of establishing a direct presence, or hub, in South Africa and really driving the brand and the message home.”
Both concur that examining the South African marketplace portfolio-wise, it was obvious that the product was a perfect fit, and, if needed, a most admirable replacement part.
“We saw a clear need for a strong, reliable brand that was sustainable,” says Dackam. “As a German company we naturally did our due diligence and took the time to confirm that we had made the right decision because we knew once we had done that, there was no turning back. Indeed, we are here for the long haul.” This news should warm the cockles of any hardened heart. “We are the leaders in filtration worldwide,” says Van der Heever. “We have the right portfolio, the right quality, a great social media presence across all devices and excellent training tools.
“Our products are manufactured around the globe with the hub being in Ludwigsburg Germany. It is interesting, and overwhelming, to note that we manufacture 24 filters per second, have 73 000 different products in our range, are present on 5 continents with 80 locations and employ 20 000 people around the globe.”
MANN+HUMMEL has always been known to be solidly customer-centric.
“We go where our products are needed,” he says. “I have been travelling quite extensively since the beginning of the year, and everywhere I’ve been, the names of MANN+HUMMEL and MANN-FILTER have been well known, and for the right reasons!
“Everyone knows we are the OE supplier, so from a commercial point of view our African venture is a no-brainer.”
Dackam notes that it must be emphasized that the venture is a sole parent company initiative.
“We are creating the awareness that we are here on our own, and not coupled with any other company or product. MANN+HUMMEL South Africa is a stand-alone company in its own right. We believe we produce the best, OE quality, filtration systems in the world for three distinct sectors – the passenger car market, the commercial market and the off-highway market.”
Van der Heever says that the value proposition of the company doing business in the independent aftermarket is that all that is seen in cars from an OE quality point of view is the same as what is embodied in MANN-FILTER.
“We use the statement of matching quality,” says Van der Heever, “to prove that what we are saying withstands scrutiny. We certainly never compromise on quality and even though we operate in the premium segment, we are still competitively and market-related priced. The most important point, though, is sustainable quality. If you buy a cheap, no-name brand, you’ll end spending a lot more than you would investing in the correct product in the first place.”
Dackam says that there is a team who traverse the globe training customers. He has heard from a competitor brand’s distributor, interestingly, who have said it was the best filter training they have ever experienced.
“People have been asking why we never launched earlier,” says Van der Heever, “and it it’s simply this: I never thought that we were completely ready. It would have gone against every fibre in our bodies to launch a product or service when we thought just one element was not perfectly aligned. We feel now everything is ready for lift-off! Intrinsic to our thrust is that the world’s major filter manufacturer is open for business in South Africa with our OE quality parts range; MANN-FILTER - Perfect parts. Perfect service. They urge readers to the website to find a complete list of distributors in the different regions, and in the various market segments. There is also an app that is available free of charge to anyone that can be downloaded from the app stores.
“The MANN-FILTER catalogue is on this app, along with lists of suppliers. There is a 360-degree view of the part, giving dimensions and applications. It is an indispensable tool that also educates the customer on how to get not only the best, but the right product and how to correctly use the part.
“We thrive on having discussions with clients, and we are here to add value, transparency and trust. This will not only be apparent with our personal contact, but also from our social media base from web to app to YouTube.” Excellent? Exactly.