In spite of the prevailing economic challenges industry has experienced in the past few years, First Cut has embarked upon a major expansion of its offices in Benrose, Johannesburg.
First Cut was ready for growth in the business and required additional floor space to cope with the growth and increased activity the company has been experiencing.
“We needed to expand our stores and to expand our footprint across all divisions. For example, we decided to renovate our showroom area for capital equipment from our international principals such as Starrett, Eclipse, Bystronic, Kanefusa and Everising.
And, on the consumables side of the business, particularly now that we are bringing in our principal Starrett’s DIY range of products, we need more space for a larger storage area,” explains Gary Willis, Director at First Cut responsible for the consumables division.
“For example, with increasing demand for the Starrett M1 oil spray aerosols, we will need this space so we can keep sufficient stock of this product as required,” he adds.
“In addition, we have made more room for technicians and members of its capital equipment team on the newly constructed mezzanine floor next to the main offices,” he explains, adding that they have also redesigned and reorganised the internal sales office. “With this office what is important is that there is room for growth as there is space for more people if required,” he continues.
The company started this expansion in mid-2017 and it is currently close to completion. “While we still need to fit air conditioning and complete the small finishing details, the changes we have made will go a long way to facilitating growth and also – very importantly – an improved service to our valued capital equipment and consumables customers,” Willis notes.
First Cut now has eight delivery vehicles, each allocated to its own collection bay. So now from the manufacturing facility, deliveries go down a chute, directly to the dispatch bays where security checks them. And with separate bays for each geographic area – for example, one for Randburg, one for Pretoria and so on – this has had a positive ‘knock-on’ effect in terms of service efficiencies and on-time deliveries to customers.
This major logistical improvement has led to improved customer relationships. “Naturally, the ultimate aim of course is to facilitate growth, improved customer relationships and service, and in so doing, the long-term profitability and sustainability of the company,” says Willis.
In terms of specific benefits to First Cut customers, Willis says this will result in an improved and quicker service and better stock availability. As an added bonus, a more comfortable working environment with more space has also been good for staff morale.
“For example, we can now carry out a stock-take with plenty of space. From the upstairs offices, it is also now possible to access the stores through a new doorway; and so the overall physical workflow and ergonomics in the new building are really great,” he elaborates.
Throughout the history of First Cut, there have been certain points in time where important strategic decisions have been made, which have had the effect of taking the business to the next level.
For example, the decision to move into capital equipment sales was one of these. First Cut’s current growth and expansion products project is also one of these milestone inflection points.
“The added and improved space is going to allow us to work more efficiently which, in turn, is sure to result in increased customer satisfaction,” Willis concludes.