Fluiconnecto by Manuli, a division of Manuli Rubber Industries, is a leading international service organisation focused on high pressure hoses and fluid connectors. The company provides products and application engineering knowledge, as well as maintenance services, to all market segments through a global network tailored to local conditions.
Fluiconnecto services are available at the customer’s doorstep in 31 countries around the world, operating with more than 150 hydroshops, 110 on-site workshops and over 40 service-on-site vans.
Fluiconnecto became the expert in the mining segment in Africa with the acquisition of Hyspec Mining Services, adding to the existing network a hydraulic equipment supplier servicing nearly every corner of the West and East African mining industry. Founded in Australia in 1996, Hyspec has grown from the ground up to become the premier supplier of replacement hydraulics parts and service equipment to Africa’s mining and exploration industries.
As a global company Fluiconnecto has much experience in all other market segments, such as: marine, oil & gas and construction, industry and agriculture (CIA). This knowhow and experience is an advantage when expanding these other market segments in Africa.
Fluiconnecto is currently present in 13 African countries and has 67 hydraulic hose & fittings workshops supporting the mining houses and contractors to reduce downtime and boost production.
Focusing on the mining market segment Fluiconnecto offers specialised products and services designed and developed specifically for the most severe applications commonly found in open-pit and underground mines. These solutions enable company’s operations to improve uptime, reduce costs and lower risks.
Colin Hood, Fluiconnecto general manager for Africa, recounts the names of the major mines the company is currently contracted with and the list is extensive.
“Mining makes up more than 70% of our sales and we’ve got contracts with a number of large players in South Africa to mention a couple: Exxaro, Glencore, AngloAmerican and Sibanye . In Botswana we have contracts with the main diamond player Debswana.”
Despite all the difficulties the mining industry went through on 2016 the continued determination and the strength of Fluiconnecto employee’s made the company finish the year on a high with a 12% increase in sales.
But not only Fluiconnecto strong sales figures made the highlights in 2016 since during this year the company signed major contracts, such as the one with Acacia Mining in Tanzania as well as the African Mining Services (AMS) contract in West Africa.
Despite securing large contracts Colin Hood understands that the industry continues developing as well as the competition, for this reason Fluiconnecto keeps moving forward in order to always offer competitive prices and the best services ensuring the company its number one position in the African market.
Thanks to the Fluiconnecto hose management programme, flui-ID, customers have access to service that goes beyond hose inspections. flui-ID consists of detailed strategy that conducts hose management services the aim to improve uptime, reduce costs and decrease risks.
Fluiconnecto aims to achieve three key targets for clients: reduce operational costs, improve equipment availability and increase production with that in mind it offers turnkey solutions for all hydraulics equipment and replacements, delivering services to remote on site locations and a full range of services such as:
* On-site workshop: As the name says, these workshops are placed on any requested location and are designed and operational fully-fitted hose and hydraulic workshops with stock and tools provided by Fluiconnecto-Hyspec’s trained technicians.
* Hydroshop: Fluiconnecto specialised service points, a hydroshop is equipped with its own hose assembly workshop, a service area and a warehouse that stocks thousands of parts to guarantee an efficient and prompt service. Each shop is opened to the public and strategically located so that clients can easily place and collect their orders, as well as make use of a wide range of professional services.
* SOS van: These are fully equipped mobile workshops that will solve hydraulic problems wherever and whenever they occur. An SOS van can provide support for a variety of hydraulic problems and are operated by Fluiconnecto certified engineers available 24/7 to help clients anywhere.
To these ends Fluiconnecto provides a full range of services to attend the client’s needs. Not forgetting that on any workshop project there are daily inspection programmes of all hydraulic hoses on mining equipment and that Fluiconnecto also produces KPIs for the machinery helping clients to reduce specific downtime issues.
Having all these services to offer, Hood says the company can ensure a 24/7, all-year-round, on-site service for the full range of equipment supplied by Fluiconnecto providing its clients with peace of mind by knowing there will always be someone available to manage the hydraulic hoses and fittings supply chain removing another potential headache.
Hood is very proud of is the company’s commitment to high standards and for this Fluiconnecto assures a vast list of training is available to its entire staff. The level of training provided, and the standards expected from its employees take the company beyond the parameters of a conventional equipment provider.
“It’s something I really believe we do a good job at. We have a great programme that we use to qualify all our technicians and staff and in doing so we are making sure we have not only a proficient product but also a good assembly of this same product. We also have specialist training officers in each country we operate in,” enthuses Hood.
Diversification and future
Currently Fluiconnecto operates in 12 African countries supporting mines; and it employs over 1,000 trained technicians while holding more than US$40 million of hydraulic equipment in its warehouses. The combination of innovative technologies such as the flui-ID programme and the qualified staff allows the company to continue diversifying the business and ensuring Fluiconnecto strong brand on the global mining industry.
With mining responsible to nearly two thirds of sales in Africa Fluiconnecto decided it was time to reach up to other segments in Africa by exposing the brand through a programme of diversification.
Hood pushed Fluiconnecto towards servicing the construction, industry, agriculture and marine (CIA&M) sector, making up between 30-35% of the business in South Africa and Botswana.
Now the company is expanding its presence on the CIA&M sector in the other African countries by opening strategically located hydroshops. These are service points that allow the clients to have a face-to-face service and are predominantly aimed at the construction and marine industries.
Fluiconnecto has opened five new hydroshops across Africa, located in: Ghana (Takoradi and Accra), Ivory Coast (Abidjan), Guinea (Conakry) and the in Zambia (Mkushi). The last one is specifically dedicated to the agriculture industry.
“We are aiming to open hydroshops in all of our African countries; there are many good opportunities outside the mining businesses in Africa and we want to be part of them as well.
“With that in mind Fluiconnecto has also hired a CIA&M manager who will oversee the growth in this sector and help to manage all activities for this industry,” argues Hood.
He adds, “The main focus of the new CIA&M manager is develop strong strategies to grow Fluiconnecto market share not only with the Manuli product but also the lubrication, hydraulic equipment and services backed by the company SOS mobile vans and technical department.
“Another area Fluiconnecto is strong throughout the world is in oil and gas segment. We are not currently active in Africa but throughout 2017 we are going to be identifying clients and studying key services for the oil and gas industry.”
Hood hopes that the oil and gas prices will make resurgence in 2017, after facing similarly depressed markets to mining over the last few years. The oil and gas segment represents another area of diversification where Fluiconnecto is qualified to venture is and therefore enlarging its possibilities in Africa.
Fluiconnecto has a bright and busy future as it expands in Africa with a number of above-mentioned large contracts coming up in 2017, the company will be focused on establishing new workshops on site this year and expanding its name into new segments making the company not only the number one in mining.