Media Releases - South Africa and Australia





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  1. #1
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    Default Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Media Release – South Africa [email protected] +082 650 9636

    Further to the Media Release in Australia by Steven van Staden of Metalian Australia.

    I have received an alarming amount of inquiries on how this affects South African Metalian owners. To start with I confirm that I am moving my export work offshore.

    The main reason for doing so is to be closer to world markets, offer greater innovation and increased competitiveness.

    I have issued an Australian Media Release that deals more specifically with concerns in the Australian market.

    The potential benefits for the South African market (for future clients) is that the SA operation will be able to draw the many bought out items required from a single source and in a single delivery, with many parts purpose branded, providing Metalian with a more complete and homogeneous offering. The increased sales provide greater purchasing power. Overall this adds up to better value for your money.

    With over half of our sales to foreign shores, this transition is not without challenge. I also know that many of you are as concerned South Africans as I am about the massive unemployment in our country. As a responsible business, I want readers to know that discussions around moving export work offshore was discussed with our staff in detail. I spoke about the reasons for the move and where we fall short as a manufacturing destination. I made a personal promise to each staff member that not a single person will lose their job, nor suffer a loss in earnings due to the move to China. I discussed the potentials, and how we can fill the voids in production. Bar one or two lethargic members that every factory appears to have, every other staff member is fired up for 2020.

    We look forward to filling the production gaps with the Genie, and possibly a Genie 2.

    I thank you all for your continued support.
    Last edited by Heinz Modricky; 2019/11/23 at 10:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Media Release - Heinz Modricky, Metalian South Africa

    +27 82 650 9636 ([email protected])

    Further to the Media Release in Australia by our dealer, Steven van Staden of Metalian Australia, I confirm that Metalian South Africa will move their export work offshore.

    All trailers will continue to be supported in terms of any warranty, spares and service.

    The premature announcement by Steven unfortunately undermines the steps that were being taken to ensure a smooth and confident transition. His press release has invoked unnecessary fears from existing and potential Metalian trailer owners, and that of other Metalian dealers. My responses to questions posted on the Facebook page were deleted. So was the gratitude I extended to Steven.

    During our (Steven and I) discussions, two main concerns were envisaged:

    firstly, the negative view of Chinese built trailers in the Australian market. I assure readers that the trailer from China will be an even better product than I am able to offer from South Africa. Much care has gone into ensuring precise technology transfer. Chinese engineers spent more than a week in my factory on two occasions and I regularly fly to the Chinese plant. I am personally involved in approving step by step progress. I was ecstatic after viewing the first off sample – in some ways not surprising, as it is hard to beat robotic welding and a full CNC run operation for accuracy and consistency. Readers should know that the trailer is virtually an identical clone, with all the same components being utilized, the salient ones being Cruisemaster hitch, Alko axle, Dometic stove, Redarc electronics, National Luna fridge, etc… Ditto on the steel grades, paint specs, etc...

    the second point was handling any backlash from existing clients that may feel their existing trailer value is negatively affected, or possibly, that had they waited longer, they may have been able to purchase the Chinese option. As incredulous as this may sound, the intention was to have both models available to view side by side, and have clients choose their preference.

    This second point was critical as I was confident that the majority of Australians would have and will choose the Chinese built Metalian over the South African built Metalian. I would then have been able to say: “9 out of 10 Australians chose the Chinese built trailer!”

    The second aspect of Steven’s press release deals with our inability to find common ground. The brutal reality of this is that the current business model in Australia could not support what Steven wanted. I went as far as offering to take the matter to arbitration, saying that I would accept whatever ruling the arbitrator made, with no further action from myself. This was only yesterday.

    In conclusion, I can only thank all of you that came out to support Steven, this being indicative of the passion and commitment to the work Steven has done in Australia. May I take this opportunity to also thank Steven for his excellent guardianship of the Metalian brand in Australia.
    Last edited by Heinz Modricky; 2019/11/23 at 10:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Thanks Heinz for the clarity and good luck with this new chapter in Metalian’s journey.
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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Heinz, all the best with this new endeavour!
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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Good luck, I for one prefer to never buy anything 'made in China' if there is an alternative available.
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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    In 2017 I travelled to China and we visited a company that manufactures ATM’s. They took us on a factory tour and what I saw there is far superior to many factories I have previously visited and worked in in SA, the US and Germany.

    I firmly believe that you get “bad quality Chinese” products as well as “world class European Standard” out of China, it all depends on what it is you want to buy and at what price.

    I for one, after my trip, don’t stereotype Chinese products anymore but rather look at each product in its own right to determine what is quality and what isn’t .

    I trust that Heinz won’t let the quality drop, he’s proven himself already.
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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Thanks Heinz. Metalian’s reputation hasn’t only been built on the quality product but also your honesty and transparency and fantastic service.
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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtG View Post
    In 2017 I travelled to China and we visited a company that manufactures ATM’s. They took us on a factory tour and what I saw there is far superior to many factories I have previously visited and worked in in SA, the US and Germany.

    I firmly believe that you get “bad quality Chinese” products as well as “world class European Standard” out of China, it all depends on what it is you want to buy and at what price.

    I for one, after my trip, don’t stereotype Chinese products anymore but rather look at each product in its own right to determine what is quality and what isn’t .

    I trust that Heinz won’t let the quality drop, he’s proven himself already.
    I fully agree. Injection Moulds from China were always frowned upon and with very good reason. They were terrible. After some many travels and searching we found a company in China that uses only steel from Sweden, non critical parts they use steel from Germany. Superior quality and performance at a very competitive price, not cheap, but not Swiss or German Euro prices. We now also deal with a Machine and Robot supplier with the same quality engineering.
    You have to find the right supplier/partner.
    Last edited by AntonN; 2019/11/24 at 12:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    I've spent a lot of time in China, and generally don't visit exhibitions, but rather research what I need and then hunt down he factories. China's eagerness to do business mostly has them agreeing to whatever price is on offer, and then correspondingly try to produce what is not possible with this budget.

    My advice to anyone going to China to purchase, is to know how things are made and you must be able to cost the product you want and allow a profit for the owner. If not, you're going to get burnt. It is generally dealers that chase cheap pricing that are responsible for the trash that comes out of China. Blame the idiot buyers, not the producer.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Best of luck with this venture Heinz. I hope your venture in China proves to be a fruitful one in time.

    I am sure there must be apprehension too - there are horror stories of Westerners handing over the Blue Prints, investing the cash to get factories up and going, where their Chinese partners clone the factory and make the exact product and become your competitor......

    Read “Mr China” . A tale of woe how a British Investment Banker lost £400M in less than a decade and did not have a leg to stand on in the Chinese courts.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Couldn’t agree more with all the comments made here. Reminds me of a quote I saw “anyone can build a product cheaper and sell it for less”. China makes top quality products if that is what is asked of them, (ask Apple for one) but people judge them for the tonnes of junk that arrive each day via eBay on our shores.

    I hope this is an exciting new chapter for Metalian and I look forward to seeing the end products.

    Thank you Heinz for the clarity of information

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Totally understand the business decision.

    what will it take to make SA a viable manufacturing location? Is it even possible?

    Im very impressed with our SA team (at a subsidiary of a us company). They are more productive than their US counterparts. But it’s not in manufacturing- rather services sector.
    Last edited by heyyahhey; 2019/11/24 at 06:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Best of luck, but I can't help wondering how soon will we see the cheap knockoffs?

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by sparewheel View Post
    Best of luck, but I can't help wondering how soon will we see the cheap knockoffs?
    Well, in a somewhat humorous note, I thought it better I copied myself and maintained some the integrity of the design, than have someone else knock it off in China. That said, we've seen some close comparisons - some from more reputable manufacturers and others not so.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Firstly, I dont have a horse in this race. Do you expect any push-back or backlash from the more patriotic Ozzie buyer?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estee View Post
    Firstly, I dont have a horse in this race. Do you expect any push-back or backlash from the more patriotic Ozzie buyer?
    Absolutely, and that's why the premature Press Release in Australia is so damaging. I'd really hoped to have both products side by side so that a direct comparison could be made and the verdicts be published by consumers that have actually viewed the product, rather than the speculation we now have.

    But hopefully, with time, just maybe Metalian can headline an article in Australia that reads: "Is Metalian the brand that will swing the perception of Chinese built Camper trailers in Australia?" That's my goal anyway and I know I'll have to be 120% better than anything locally produced to achieve this. It's going to be a good time for the Australian consumer keen to buy a new camper.

    Some may ask, with such resistance on imports, is this a wise decision? To answer, I've been on shows in Australia and the patriotism for Australian made is huge, and while Made in South Africa still sounds more palatable than Made in China, we remain an imported brand in Australia. On an apples for apples basis, I have to sell about 25% under Australian built Campers anyway. Many locals will pay the extra R100 000 just to have Australian made - but eventually everyone has his fall price. Consider that my export price is another 30% lower than the 25% discounted price in Australia and it's easy to see I'm on a hiding to nothing manufacturing locally.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    There are definitely 2 distinct groups in Australia patriot/redarc/arb customers that have cash to burn and gladly add $10k to by Ausie made. But having said that many of the older Ausie built manufacturers have died or converted to Chinese manufacturers.

    But there also a very strong or even stronger cheaper end of the market where price sells MDC/)/Easytraik/king's/Aldi and allot is forgiven if the price is right.

    In both selling the dream (YouTube channels/tv shows) is probably more important than the product.

    I think Metalian might be a bit stuck between the 2. Where you get sensible buyers but not either of the bigger groups is quite tempted enough.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    If possible getting visibility of your press release to the Ausie Metalian community would probably be good.

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    Default Re: Media Releases - South Africa and Australia

    Firstly, full disclosure. I don't own a metallian trailer or any other trailer. Its been one of those 'want to haves' that hasn't happened yet.
    I am also blissfully ignorant when it comes to business decisions and the economy.

    Having said that, whether in private communication or in pubic threads, Heinz you have always been open and honest about your products. So, which ever direction you have taken, I can only wish you the best of luck.

    Sterkte.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heyyahhey View Post
    Totally understand the business decision.

    what will it take to make SA a viable manufacturing location? Is it even possible?

    Im very impressed with our SA team (at a subsidiary of a us company). They are more productive than their US counterparts. But it’s not in manufacturing- rather services sector.
    I had prepared a more detailed media release with more explanation. The following reasons for moving manufacturing offshore were omitted.

    "Most basic materials in South Africa are priced above an import parity price – this means if I can import it for X value – the local price is pegged at X plus 10/15% or whatever the suppliers can leverage out of local manufacturers. Both steel and aluminium is more expensive in SA than in world markets.

    As a further example, even bespoke items that are represented by internationally owned local dealers, don't have the same pricing. A man on the street can walk into an axle dealership in Australia and buy the identical axle at a cheaper price than I pay in South Africa as a manufacturer purchasing monthly repetitive orders, and that's using direct currency conversion.

    On items such as locks, extension slides, etc…, local dealers pay 20% duty which is passed on to South African manufacturers like me. I cannot claim this duty back. If I import this myself in larger quantities it must be done for re-export and I need controls to differentiate between local usage and that which will go into exports. The admin that goes with running a bond store must be a nightmare.

    The downturn in the local economy has numerous local suppliers regularly running out of various items as they reduce stock holding. Stoves that were previously ordered ex stock are now on 3 month delivery ex Europe. Even basic items such as 1.0 mm sheeting runs out for a week or two. With so many different components going into the trailer build, we're always short of something.

    Basic items that are standard in the RV industry, like 12 mm water piping and fittings are not even stocked in SA by the local brand dealer.

    As a client of a local steel supplier for nearly 35 years, it remains a continuous fight to get supplies at the right price. They know we have order departments that just place orders. Internally I can only imagine they have commission deals with order staff to keep pushing the price up. I've had a "man on the street" client that needed a cut and a bend put into mild steel sheet. I said I would do it at material costs and provide a per cut and per bend cost. He calls me back to ask why I've added to the sheet cost. I find out my bloody supplier quoted him a better price on one sheet, than they quoted me on 200 sheets. My stainless steel supplier increases my sheet price by some 60% "because of the nickel price internationally". Forget about being able to get any loyalty out of material suppliers, they'll bleed you for whatever you can when you're not watching.

    Sail times to Brisbane are 38 days. This means that from order date in Australia to client delivery has averaged an unacceptable 4 months. The freight costs are nearly double and ships ex Cape Town no longer call as regularly as before. This adds further delays.

    South Africa does not have a trade agreement with Australia and our Australian dealers pay duties on trailers coming from South Africa, but not from China. To add further challenge, government financial support agencies want 21.5% interest on financing export work that is already manufactured – i.e almost zero risk – the capital value of the goods being financed surpass the credit value sought by more than 50%. But the same government agency lends money out to other lenders at 6%. The government is just growing a base of loan sharks that do nothing for massive profits. They'll charge around 28%. I asked them how they think they're helping local manufacture and small business startups, when they expect me to pay them R215 000 on One Million rand when I don't have anywhere near this percentage as a profit. (For the sharper guys, I'm aware I can turn my money 4 times a year, but compare this with 4% I am now paying.


    I’m not even going to talk about load shedding, in-house theft, absenteeism and the inability to apply standards and discipline without being hauled to a labour tribunal. I don't have poor staff and this is not the reason for moving offshore. It's just that every business has intolerable staff members that spoil the relationship for the majority of hard working staff. They know they have the labour tribunals on their side. I've questioned the DRC (our industry's CCMA) and their response is that they mostly find in favour of the employer (around some 55%), this being their benchmark that they're being more fair to employers than employees. But to place this in more appropriate perspective, consider the rulings by the insurance ombud in complaints against insurers. On average, some 80% of the time the ruling goes in favour of the professional institution - even though it is their entire focus and business model to reduce claims as much as they can. With so much focus on labour fairness and the ease at which businesses can be taken to the CCMA (and with no financial gain being available for disciplining an employer), surely employers do their best not to be hauled off to a labour tribunal. This 55% figure should be around 90%.

    https://www.businessinsider.co.za/mo...nsurers-2019-5

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