STIHL Executive visits its South African subsidiary, congratulates staff on swift comeback
Despite losing its head office, warehouse and entire stock holding in the unrest that rocked KwaZulu Natal in mid-July, STIHL South Africa has managed to resume operations and distribution to its dealer network throughout Southern Africa.
Just 7 weeks after the STIHL head office in Pietermaritzburg was ransacked and its warehouse burnt to the ground the company has settled into new offices and continued distribution to its dealer network using a third party logistics solution based in Johannesburg. More than R90 million worth of stock has been received via air- and sea freight, with more arriving continuously in order to replenish both the dealers' and STIHL's own stock.
"At the moment we are entirely focused on recovery – fulfilling backorders and retaining normal stock levels in order to fully support our loyal customers and dealer network," says Hayden Hutton, MD of STIHL South Africa. "We resumed distribution in early August. Though we experienced some (expected) teething problems during the integration of our IT system to that of our logistics partner, distribution has ramped up significantly and we look forward to soon re-attaining the exemplary service that STIHL is known for".
Only the unwavering support of the global STIHL Group ensured a swift recovery. After the looting and fire the STIHL headquarters in Germany immediately set up a crisis team to assist the local team to put in place measures ensuring the wellbeing of its employees and focused on getting the company back up and running as soon as possible. Arrangements were made to have stock airfreighted to South Africa from STIHL factories around the world in order for the company to swiftly resume distribution to its dealers.
During a visit to STIHL South Africa on 3rd September executive member of the global STIHL Group, Norbert Pick commended the company on its swift recovery and thanked employees for their contribution. "In order to overcome times of danger and uncertainty a great amount of resilience and commitment is needed. The staff of STIHL South Africa showed an outstanding team effort without which this quick recovery would never have been possible. I am here on behalf of the Stihl family and the executive board to thank every team member for their relentless commitment. STIHL is more than just a company. Helping each other and being there for one another is what defines STIHL as a family company. And we are proud of that".
Pick visited STIHL South Africa to assess the company's current situation and to discuss the way forward to continue meeting the sustained high demand for STIHL products in Southern Africa. He emphasized that STIHL will maintain full operations in South Africa. "South Africa is an important growth market for the STIHL Group. We will therefore take all measures and make any necessary investments to rebuild STIHL South Africa." He did however stress that it is imperative for the country to ensure the safety of its people and business investments if it hopes to secure further direct foreign investment in the future.