This is particularly because companies are looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity in today’s highly competitive markets.
While A&C solution providers can look forward to sustained growth, new analysis from Frost & Sullivan (industrialautomation.frost.com), Customer Satisfaction Analysis for Automation and Control Solutions in the South African Chemical Sector finds that they will also have to make strategic adjustments to ensure they continue to meet the demands of companies in the South African chemical sector.
“The South African chemical sector is booming and in 2005, the chemicals industry contributed approximately 5 per cent to South Africa’s GDP and 25 per cent to manufacturing output,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jeannot Boussougouth. “South African chemical companies are now competing on a global level and it has become critical for them to increase exports to strengthen their profile. They are increasingly looking to A&C solutions to help them achieve these goals.”
Moreover, many of the automated plants are reaching maturity. Therefore, a number of South African chemical companies are looking to either retrofit their current applications or build new installations. This will further increase the demand for automation and control solution products in the chemical sector.
The automation and control solution market in South Africa is currently dominated by international companies whose solution products are highly rated by the local industry. The majority of South African chemical companies are reluctant to choose new suppliers to avoid additional equipment and personnel training costs. A&C solution providers that already have a strong installed base will therefore enjoy higher growth.
However, Frost & Sullivan has identified four purchasing restraints that will have a progressive impact on the market in the next three years. These are weak after-sales support, the unavailability of key spare parts due to the continued use of old automation equipment, longer lead times because of the increasing unwillingness of A&C solution providers to support old equipment, and the volatility of the local currency, the Rand, which is increasing the import value of products.
“Although the introduction of system integrators in the A&C industry in South Africa was welcome, robust economic growth has highlighted the challenges of having only a small number of active system integrators in the country,” says Boussougouth. “Outsourcing expertise from Europe has been one of the short-term solutions explored, but this cannot be sustained in the long term as it will further exacerbate end-users’ costs.”
Improving customer management relationship through frequent visits, investing in local expertise, partnering in the training of chemical companies’ maintenance personnel, developing more technologically compatible solution products and offering competitive prices are crucial for A&C solution providers to be regarded as true creators of value in the South African chemical sector. This strategy is more likely to bear fruit in the medium to long term, as most chemical companies remain loyal to their current suppliers despite low levels of satisfaction.
If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides manufacturers, end users and other industry participants with an overview of the latest Customer Satisfaction Analysis for Automation and Control Solutions in the South African Chemical Sector, then send an email to Patrick Cairns, Corporate Communications, at patrick.cairns[.]frost.com with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, fax number and email address. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by email.
Customer Satisfaction Analysis for Automation and Control Solutions in the South African Chemical Sector is part of the Indutrial Automation and Process Control Growth Partnership Service program. It provides a detailed examination of the following technologies: Distributed control systems (DCS), Programmable logic controllers (PLC), Human machine interfaces (HMI) and Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). Interviews with the press are available.
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