Multinational energy management and automation company Schneider Electric plans to partner with more South African manufacturers as part of a strategy to accelerate the expansion of its domestic market presence, while by increasing local content.
Global CFO Hilary Maxson Told Engineering News during a recent visit to South Africa that the group would pursue licensing agreements with local companies, which would produce Schneider Electric certified products using specialist components, but with the aim of gradually localizing the solution over time.
“We have a model that allows us to operate in an ecosystem of partners and allows those local partners to build ecosystems around them to incrementally increase localization.
“This, we believe, makes us one of the most local global companies and also ensures that we are
closer to customers and more competitive in terms of price,” explained Maxson.
His visit coincided with Schneider Electric’s appointment of Eya Bantu as the local licensed engineering and customization partner for the PIX Easy range medium voltage switchgear.
Under the agreement, Eya Bantu is certified to design, manufacture, assemble, test and sell the range, which is used by electric utilities and the renewable energy sector, as well as in buildings and various industries in transformation.
The black-powered firm added a second assembly plant in the Eastern Cape as a result of the licensing deal and also employed 15 additional people thanks to the associated investment.
Such agreements, which involve intensive collaboration, technology transfer and skills development, allow the licensee to gradually increase local content to levels well above 50%.
President of the cluster for Anglophone Africa Devan Pillay said the group is actively seeking additional partners in South Africa, where it already has its own assembly facilities.
Pillay says partnerships currently account for about a third of its local manufacturing and assembly, but Schneider Electric’s intention is to focus more intensely on rolling out its licensing agreement strategy.
“This trend towards more partnerships will continue and we believe the strategy also demonstrates the government’s desire to grow businesses, create jobs and add local value.
“Partners have their skin in the game and are ready to invest, while we offer step-by-step support and high-quality products that are widely accepted in various markets,” Pillay explained.
Maxson adds that the partnerships also help accelerate market penetration for Schneider Electric’s portfolio of products, which are relevant to key growth sectors in South Africa and Africa, such as natural resources, power and utilities. processing industries.
“The world is ramping up on trends like electrification, digitalization and sustainability. And those are really the same trends that I think we see as opportunities in Africa.
She sees a particular opportunity in using digitalization to drive energy efficiency across sectors, which in the South African context would also help alleviate short-term load shedding pressures.
“We’re really trying to shift the energy security conversation from the current focus on supply to better controlling demand.
“Energy efficiency and using the best we have should, we believe, be a huge part of the solution, and it’s also something that businesses and consumers can take ownership of, rather than rely on major public or private service projects.
“It’s the secret sauce and Schneider has a suite of products and solutions that can really help customers better manage their demand,” enthused Maxson.