Panafrican Group managing director Scott McCaw talks to African Review

What makes Panafrican different from a sales perspective?

Certainly we believe we represent the top manufacturers in their respective fields and offer market leading support. Notwithstanding this, we attempt to differentiate through a solutionsorientated mind-set. This sounds a bit like a buzzword, but in reality we have actually tried to shape our business around this. This starts with the sales process. We have made significant efforts to move away from “product” sales and focus on the customer’s project and what they need to deliver in terms of production or productivity. Then we can better assist in creating a fleet and support solution that meets need in their industry for projects.

What are your strategic priorities in Africa for the next 12 months and are there any key developments or plans coming up?

The focus remains on continuing to execute customer solutions' support. We have focused this on the broader operations, but now we continue to fill in areas of a niche nature. One of the areas where the market needs and approach is different is the Chinese clientele. They represent a large portion of our markets, ranging from large FDI civil and locally tendered government or county-funded projects, to smaller SMEs. We are building a dedicated team to target and support this important market segment ranging from sales, parts personnel and technical support. We believe we can improve their support experience through local on-the-ground support, while adapting for our markets. For example, the specifications of the machines for the African market differ from those required in China.

By working with these customers, we can address these specific needs. Furthermore, these customers may bulk buy parts purchases from China, rather than rely on local supply. This approach increases their capital requirements (through higher inventory levels) and can often delay critical parts requirements given the longer lead times. We can alleviate this requirement through our local parts stocking. The key however is we need to work with them to ensure we have the parts in stock for their particular makes and models. This goes to our point and strategy targeting industries or segments, in a way as to address their own unique needs and requirements, be it machine requirements, application, project related, language or culture. One shoe size does not fit all, and the African market is much more diverse and complex than many give it credit. We try and develop each of these markets focusing on their own unique and multi-faceted needs. The Chinese segment is just one example. 

The interview featured in African Review this month and can be read here

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