Business conditions are not ideal and long term planning is a very shaky science at present, but we managed to grow and expand our footprint this past year.
The Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (SAPPMA) used the occasion of its 13th Annual General Meeting held in Johannesburg recently to celebrate the successes achieved by this non-profit association over the past 12 months.
Addressing the SAPPMA members and other interested parties in attendance, CEO Jan Venter said that they looked back at the past year with a great deal of satisfaction at what had been achieved, despite difficult socio-economic conditions and financial pressures bearing down on the industry.
“It is clear that the unstable political climate in the country has taken its toll on the economic front - in particular the country's infrastructure. Whilst plastic pipes continue to dominate this market, a serious lack of growth was also recorded in the industry over the past ten years. This fact was reflected in the latest D+ grading of the country’s infrastructure by the South African Institute for Civil Engineers (SAICE). Business conditions are not ideal and long term planning is a very shaky science at present. Even so, we managed to not only survive, but in many regards grow and expand our footprint this past year. This bears testimony to our industry’s perseverance and a resilient attitude that refuses to give up or compromise on quality in the face of adversity,” Venter said.
SAPPMA’s main focus fell on maintaining standards and ensuring that only top quality pipes are manufactured and enter the local market. This was done through disseminating technical and design information to the decision makers and consulting engineers, marketing the SAPPMA and IFPA brands to external and internal audiences and ensuring ongoing training for manufactures and installers.
“We continue to strive for unquestionable quality when it comes to the production and installation standards of plastic pipes. To achieve this, we audited more than 40 companies this past year, and SAPPMA members received at least one unannounced visit,” Venter said. He added that these audits were generally well received as members realise its value as differentiator and that they welcomed objective comments on their operations.
Additional quality standards that would to further differentiate SAPPMA members are also currently being developed. This is an extension to work that was started years ago and will be addressing approximately 14 SANS Standards by evaluating the type of testing, test frequency, materials etc.
“We are proud to announce that this project is nearing completion and will provide a great marketing tool for pipe manufacturers,” he explained. To this end, SAPPMA is also represented on SANS Technical Committees and provides valuable insights where new standards are adopted and existing ones are amended and reviewed.
Other important and far-reaching projects that SAPPMA initiated during 2017 include a Structured Wall HDPE project that evaluated approximately 16 different tests, sampling procedures and raw material requirements; publishing South Africa’s first policy statement with regards to gas pipe and the practical application of SANS4437;and finalising the latest edition of SAPPMA’s Technical Manual to offer updated, more accurate and more comprehensive information to designers and the end-users of plastic pipes when it comes to selecting, designing and constructing plastic piping systems with confidence.
“Undoubtedly, one of our biggest successes this past year was the hosting of our recent PIPES XI Conference. This was the first time that South Africa had the opportunity to host a dual international event of this magnitude for the plastic pipe industry, and we can say that it was a huge success by all accounts. Apart from a record number of delegates who attended this 2-day event, we also had 20 international speakers and almost the same number of local experts who presented their papers.Our international and local visitors alike commented that this was indeed a world-class event that helped to elevate both the SAPPMA brand and the importance of our industry to even greater prominence,” Venter declared.
During the AGM, SAPPMA members were given the opportunity to vote for the members whom they wanted to represent their interests on the Board of Directors. Jan Venter (CEO), Brett Kimber (Marley Pipe Systems), Derek Faulds (Macneil Plastics), Mark Berry (Safripol), Renier Viljoen (Rare Plastics), Terence Hobson (Sun Ace) and Vijay Naik (Flo-tek) will be tasked with taking the association forward in 2018, following the retirement of Bernhard Mahl and CP Bandaru.
Ian Venter, George Diliyannis and Jacques van Eck were recognised for their hard work and dedication on SAPPMA’s Technical Committee by receiving this year’s Merit Awards. “Each year the competition for the Merit Awards gets stiffer as our TC meetings are very well attended by knowledgeable and supportive group of experts who truly bear the best interest of the industry on their hearts”, the CEO remarked.
Venter concluded by once again urging SAPPMA members not to lose their long-term view, particularly in terms of quality. “Do not be tempted to take short cuts that will later come back at a cost. Difficult conditions always provide new challenges –also to an association such as ours. At the same time however, it reinforces the need for a central organization such as this. We therefore appeal to you to continue participating in all our activities – together we are making a difference!” Venter concluded.
For more information, visit www.sappma.co.za