Africa is key to Cummins’global growth.
Africa is a key region for obtaining measurable and sustainable growth for Cummins, according to Cummins chairman and chief executive officer Tom Linebarger during a visit to Cummins Southern African Regional Distribution Centre.
“Our long-term objective is to be one of the strongest and most competitive companies on the continent. We recognise the fact that we have to invest substantially with regards to people, money and time to achieve this objective. Given numerous external challenges, plans do not always run in their intended direction, however this world-class facility is proof that we are committed to a long-term future in Africa, and our local leadership team is advancing this dream,” he said.
Linebarger admitted that the global economic downturn has had a negative impact on the company on a global scale. “The last couple of years have been challenging for Cummins. We have a large presence in developing countries with commodity-based economies, and the economic slowdown in these regions, and more developed economies, has affected our bottom line.” As a result, cost-cutting has become unavoidable. “Some restructuring of the company has taken place, whereby certain entities were combined to improve efficiencies. Our swift and proactive adaptation to these market conditions has minimised the negative impact on employees, and has also placed Cummins in a far stronger position than its competitors. When the markets turn, we will be prepared for growth,” said Linebarger.
Commitment to Africa
Linebarger added that, despite economic challenges, Cummins continues to invest heavily in new product development. “Ongoing investment and product launches ensure that we take a step forward, when many of our competitors are taking a step back. This is clearly evident in the fact that our local market share has grown from 10% to 18%.”
Linebarger revealed that customer service excellence is more important than ever. “When the market is down, sales consequently slump, and it is essential to provide existing customers with the high standard of service that they deserve. When the markets turn and there is more purchasing power, customers will appreciate those that went the extra mile for them during hard times, and will reward them with future sales.”
This commitment to excellence is enforced by Cummins’ global quality standard. “We want excellence in all that we do. Every region therefore adheres to the same global standard of quality and service. There are no ‘second class’ regions at Cummins, and the state-of- the-art RDC centres in South Africa and Ghana, which are among the most advanced in the world, are testament to the fact that Africa is included in our global standard.”
Despite a number of economic challenges, Africa continues to experience growth, particularly with regards to infrastructural development.
Linebarger indicated that, in order to remain front-of- mind for future contracts and tenders in all sectors, Cummins relies upon a dedicated, skilled and professional workforce. “The Africa leadership team is working tirelessly to improve leadership structures by creating, nurturing and developing staff skills, in order to ensure that the leaders of tomorrow are fully prepared to successfully face the challenges that lie ahead of them.”