TAL general manager Chaitan Manga highlights the fact that the company began planning the growth of its African footprint around six years ago, after realising the massive opportunities that exist on the continent. “We realised that sub-Saharan Africa specifically had become a trade hotspot, and we have already grown our presence in the region significantly.”
Manga indicates that there is a considerable amount of construction and renovation taking place in South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and the DRC. “Many of the professionals engaged in these projects are based in South Africa and are familiar with TAL’s ability to provide high-quality products and customised solutions to meet specific conditions in each area.”
According to Manga, developers and architects consistently turn to TAL to ensure that their individual specifications will be met. “Our technical specialists are familiar with the various conditions throughout Africa, such as the humidity in countries near the equator; the intense heat closer to the desert; and the wind and water factor at the ocean.”
In growing its African presence, TAL representatives attend conferences to educate target markets on new building methodologies, building materials and site conditions. Manga elaborates: “For example, we recently attended a conference in Kenya where our product specialists spoke to a group of professionals on the construction of shopping malls, which require high traffic tiling.”
A number of builders and contractors in Africa remain unfamiliar with the latest building practises and products. As a result, TAL sales and technical staff spend time discussing new methods with builders who usually practise a ‘stick-to-what-you-know’ method of construction, notes Manga.
“Bringing in a new type of flooring and adhesive means teaching people not only how to use the product, but why it’s the best product for the job. Another important aspect is to ensure that lead times on orders take into account the time spent on shipping and border control, which requires close collaboration between TAL representatives and the relevant procurement manager,” he adds.
Bearing this in mind, TAL’s administrative team plans and maps out an order timeline to ensure that products arrive on time. The team also takes care of all the export-related paperwork to reduce the risk of the customers not having all the correct documentation in place. To guarantee full value of all TAL products, technical teams are sent to support contractors where necessary.
The best-selling products currently in Africa include; machines to handle both residential and commercial waterproofing in properties; tiles for every type of traffic load; and aggregate products for flooring solutions where tiles are not the best fit.
“So far, we have assisted on some prestigious projects in various African countries and our reputation is being enhanced by customers who have learned to trust us because we do exactly what we promise. That trust is important to TAL and every member of our staff,” Manga notes.
Manga points out that the opportunities for further growth in Africa are immense. “It therefore makes good business sense to focus on regions where so much commercial and residential growth is happening. As long as we continue to educate on the use of our products and services, I foresee continued and measurable success on the continent,” he concludes.