Caterpillar has officially inaugurated its new parts distribution facility, near Johannesburg, Gauteng. The 60 000 m2 facility consolidates two smaller parts distribution sites – Linbro Park and Isando – and offers several advantages, including enabling the company to work more efficiently, while increasing its capacity to provide unmatched parts availability to customers across Africa.
The facility will serve over 10 000 customers in 11 countries and will stock more than 110 000 different parts to service machines in the region. Caterpillar started operations in May and, of the 168 people currently employed, 60% comprise permanent staff while 40% are agency staff.
“Caterpillar’s investment in a new and more efficient parts distribution facility demonstrates its deep commitment to customers in Africa,” noted Caterpillar Group president for customer and dealer support Rob Charter at the inauguration on Thursday.
He highlighted that the facility, the largest parts distribution facility in the company’s industry in Africa, is one of 21 of its kind in the world, and the first on the continent.
Caterpillar builds and supplies construction and miningequipment, as well as diesel and natural gas engines, industrialturbines and diesel-electric locomotives. It also provides services such as rentalequipment.
“Our dealers sell our equipment and provide the boots on the ground for maintenance and service. We have over 35 000 active machines and engines operating throughout the Southern African region,” noted Charter.
He added that, to keep machines and engines running smoothly, operators needed replacement parts as quickly as possible on the job site.
Meanwhile, Charter noted that Caterpillar’s investment in the new facility also forms part of the company’s previously announced, with its independent dealers and the Caterpillar Foundation, commitment to invest more than $1-billion in countries throughout Africa over five years.
Caterpillar has, therefore, also negotiated an Equity Equivalent Investment Programme with the South African Department of Trade and Industry, which is the largest programme of this type in South Africa, highlighted Charter.
A portion of the facility – about 3 500 m2 – will host Barloworld Equipment’s retail parts operation. Barloworld Equipment is the official dealer of Caterpillar products and services in 11 South African regions and seven Southern African countries.
Barloworld celebrated its ninetieth anniversary on Thursday.