It’s been a year since Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSAf) was formed – and what a year it’s been! The company expanded its product portfolio in southern Africa through the addition of the new SUV competitor: the Isuzu mu-X; in line with global naming, it changed the old KB bakkie’s name to D-MAX; and it became the truck brand with the highest volume of sales in South Africa.
Isuzu has also occupied the number one position in the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle segment of the South African market for six years in a row.
“Isuzu secured a commercial vehicle market share of 14,1 percent in 2018, while Isuzu D-MAX sales volumes were up over 8,7 percent, compared to the previous year – achieving a market share of 14,4 percent,” says Isuzu Motors South Africa CEO and MD, Michael Sacke.
From a sub-Saharan African export perspective, IMSAf increased sales by 17 percent in 2018, compared to the previous year.
The company has also kicked off 2019 with a bang, and last week launched its consolidated truck and bakkie manufacturing plant.
After 21 years of truck production at Kempston Road, Port Elizabeth, it was the end of an era when the last truck rolled off the production line on November 30, 2018.
A R27-million project of relocating the Isuzu truck production facilities to the IMSAf headquarters in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, now means that all bakkie and truck manufacturing takes place under one roof.
“This change has resulted in greater efficiencies in terms of our manufacturing support resources and an opportunity to improve the application of our lean manufacturing system,” says Sacke.
Compared to the Kempston Road location, a 50-percent improvement was achieved in space utilisation under one roof, and a 22-percent improvement in the overall amount of space required.
“Materials are now stored closer to the truck line, which reduces travel distances substantially. This improves efficiency and eliminates waste and unnecessary cost,” explains Johan Vermeulen, manufacturing and supply chain executive.
“We used the opportunity to work together with our source plant to change the way that material is packed, providing us with easier access to the correct material at the correct time. We also came up with some innovative solutions with regard to material storage,” he adds.
“Continuing to provide outstanding after-sales and customer support, we are planning another robust year in 2019; which started with the consolidation of the plants. This represents a key milestone for the company with the assembly of our market-leading commercial vehicles commencing at the new site in Struandale,” concludes Sacke.
Look out for an in-depth report in Issue 4 of FOCUS.