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2012 November: ECONO-HEAT makes News in UK magazine

Globally we have seen increasing pressures facing manufacturers competing in export markets due to financial pressures limiting the ability to compete with stiff competition from the East. However this is not a foregone conclusion as reflected by Econo-Heat, a South African company demonstrating how a great product combined with effective marketing and optimal business efficiency can lead to success on the world stage.

The main line for Econo-Heat is a unique and highly innovative, wall mounted, low energy and low cost convection heating system for the home. The product features an ultra slim design and is effective as an entire room heater whilst allowing savings of up to 50% or more on home heating costs. Perhaps most importantly the system is also designed for easy DIY installation with straightforward instructions for optimum positioning in the home.

The company has demonstrated phenomenal growth, developing from a homemade invention to becoming a slick and efficient industrial manufacturer and a leading exporter in South Africa.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL ENDEAVOUR ARTICLE HERE (PDF)

READ DIGITAL ARTICLE HERE

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2012 September: ECONO-HEAT wins 1st place in all three categories at the 2012 IDC Business Partners’ Awards

ECONO-HEAT Energy Efficient Appliances (Pty) Ltd, South African inventor and manufacturer of the popular ECONO-HEAT™ wall panel heater, on Friday 28 September 2012 won first place in all three categories – Innovation, Job Creation and Sustainability – of the South African Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Business Partners competition.

The aim of the competition was to recognize IDC customers as business partners and to celebrate with them their contribution to creating jobs, developing innovative products and managing environmentally sustainable businesses in South Africa. It, furthermore, served as a platform to highlight the delivery and impact of the IDC’s investment in and contribution towards growing and supporting the South African industry.

In his acceptance speech, managing director Pieter Bräsler said that the company was humbled, yet proud at the same time to be winning the competition in all three categories. He paid tribute to the IDC in recognizing South African companies and their efforts in growing, being innovative, creating jobs and creating sustainable businesses.

He further referred to the importance of South African companies taking on the challenge of becoming recognised players in international markets, despite the prevailing recessionary conditions in key export markets. He stressed the importance of proper and on-going marketing and support of a product to create brand awareness and customer loyalty. He furthermore pointed out the value of volume manufacturing in terms of economies of scale, which dramatically lowers unitised labour costs. “South African manufacturers need not stand back one inch from competing with its Asian counterparts – even in consumer products,” Bräsler said, and added that partnering with the correct logistics, financial and other business associates to support a company’s export drive is another essential element in the success formula to compete in world markets.

ECONO-HEAT’s celebration of winning the competition coincides with its recent move to a new factory with a greatly expanded production capacity. At the same time the company also established its own international offices to sell directly to retailers in 12 of its 38 export markets and launched an exciting new energy-efficient heating product – a unique low voltage electric blanket.

In preparation for this accelerated  export growth, ECONO-HEAT has, furthermore, established the necessary structures, systems and support (one being securing financial support from the IDC) to further optimise its manufacturing, administrative and financial processes in support of even higher levels of operational efficiency and discipline in the company. Furthermore, adhering to the Principles and Practises of Lean Manufacturing is key to the success of the company’s operation.

“The above measures are some of the key success factors that have established ECONO-HEAT™ as a company that is: Out Front, and Moving Ahead (ECONO-HEAT’s corporate credo)”, Bräsler said.

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2012 February: ECONO-HEAT is featured in the Finweek

Probably the most exciting news this month is that we were featured in Finweek for February 2012 on page 27. Mentioned in the article is Walmart’s investment into South Africa’s economy, as well as their support for the local manufacturers. Walmart Canada specifically seem to be the first group to be tying the knot with us! This exposure for our small company can only lead to better things. Out Front – and Moving Ahead! Read the full article here (PDF download) – Pete Bräsler, Global Brand Manager.
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2011 November: ECONO-HEAT™ Cape Town has a fresh new look

We are absolutely thrilled to show off our new front office signage to you. Not only does it look really smart, it helps our visitors find us.We rallied the entire factory staff to join us outside in celebrating not only the start of fantastic summer here in the Southern Hemisphere, but the start of a smart BRAND NEW begining for ECONO-HEAT™, OUT FRONT – AND MOVING AHEAD!

Click on the images to view the larger version, or click here to download the photo PDF of the new signage being assembled and installed – Summer is definitely on it’s way. Short video can be viewed here. Enjoy! - Pete Bräsler, Global Brand Manager @ECONO-HEAT™ HQ.

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2011 October: WALMART warms to ECONO-HEAT™

Unique, safe and environmentally friendly South African wall panel heater looks set to take on the world with tie in to giant’s global retailer network.

US RETAIL giant Walmart is warming to small a Cape Town heater manufacturer as it proves growth in volumes helps to reduce labour costs and to beat Chinese rivals. ECONO-HEAT™, a manufacturer of panel wall heaters, won the Cape Chamber of Commerce/ Absa Exporter of the Year award on Thursday. “We produce about 30,000 units a month and have just moved to a new premises that would allow us to ramp up to 1,2-million units a year and ultimately to 2-million units,” ECONO-HEAT™ director Pieter Bräsler says. He says ECONO-HEAT™ operates on a marginal costing model, meaning the larger the volumes one can get from suppliers, the larger the discount. ”It’s quite simple. You have a certain labour force and the business is all about volume. Now as your volumes grow, your labour costs become a smaller component,” he said.

ECONO-HEAT™ employs 91 staff but demand has been so high that they are working double shifts and the company is in the process of employing another 43 people. Mr Bräsler says the strategy to stave off Chinese competition is not based only on price and quantity, but also on allowing his products to be branded for retailers’ own in-house brands. “We are not undercutting them, but they are trying to come into the market and we have to be very vigilant,” he said.

ECONO-HEAT™ already supplies to Sam’s Club, a subsidiary of Walmart in the US. Mr Bräsler says last week his company held meetings with Walmart and next month a deal is to be negotiated in the US.

Walmart has committed itself to creating a R100m fund to help local suppliers become more competitive.

Original article can be viewed here.

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2011 October: ECONO-HEAT™ is Exporter of the Year 2011!

ECONO-HEAT™, the Cape Town firm which manufactures wall panel heaters was last night named as the Absa/Cape Chamber of Commerce Western Cape Exporter of the Year. The award was presented at a glittering banquet to Econo-Heat MD, Pieter Bräsler, who became a double winner when his company also received the new prize for innovation. The competition, now in its 21st year, is organised by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Absa.

ECONO-HEAT™ exports its products to 39 countries and has recently doubled its production, creating 43 new jobs in the process.

The Cape Chamber prize for the best exporter outside the engineering industry went to Quantum Sails, makers of world-beating racing and cruising yacht sails. Quantum is one of a cluster of companies that has developed around Cape Town’s boat-building industry. The Transnet Port Terminals prize for the best manufacturing exporter went to TESA Palisade Fencing and Security Systems. TESA has made big inroads into Africa and last year supplied the security fencing for 3 500 cell phone base stations. The Credit Guarantee award for the best small exporter was the translation service, Folio-Online, the leading translation service in sub-Sahara Africa.

Last night’s double winner, Econo-Heat, manufactures the wall panel heater, a Cape Town invention that made its debut at the Chamber’s Design for Living Exhibition in 1997. The company has made huge strides since it was taken over in 2005 by Mr Bräsler and its new high tech factory in Wetton is producing 2 300 units a day compared to the 400 when the business changed hands. It has the potential to produce two million units a year.

Two thirds of the production is exported but this is destined to increase significantly as the company is now selling direct to retailers in 10 countries in Europe and North America. During the past year ECONO-HEAT™ has chalked up significant gains in the cold countries of Europe and Scandinavia. Sales have been helped by the high cost of running central heating systems and the panel heaters could yet become an economic alternative to central heating. Further expansion (and more job creation) is planned as the company will soon be launching a low-voltage electric blanket that is machine washable in a new factory with a further new factory planned for a dual convection heater in 2013.

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2011 October: ECONO-HEAT™ has WON the Exporter of the Year Award 2011!

ECONO-HEAT Energy Efficient Appliances (Pty) Ltd, inventor and manufacturer of the popular ECONO-HEAT™ wall panel heater, last night was the overall winner of the prestigious ABSA Cape Chamber of Commerce Exporter of the Year competition administered by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and which is now in its 21st year of existence. In addition, the company also took the Innovation Trophy for Excellence in Innovation and Creativity.

In his acceptance speech, managing director Pieter Bräsler, referred to the importance of South African companies taking on the challenge of becoming recognised players in international markets, despite the prevailing recessionary conditions in key export markets. He stressed the importance of proper and ongoing marketing and support of a product to create brand awareness and customer loyalty. He furthermore pointed out the value of volume manufacturing in terms of economies of scale, which dramatically lowers unitised labour costs. South African manufacturers need not stand back one inch from competing with its Chinese counterparts – even in consumer products. Partnering with the correct logistics, financial and other business associates to support a company’s export drive is another essential element in the success formula to compete in world markets.

ECONO-HEAT’s celebration of winning the Exporter of the Year 2011 competition coincides with its recent move to a new factory with a greatly expanded production capacity. At the same time the company also established its own international offices to sell directly to retailers in 10 of its 39 export markets. ECONO-HEAT™ is furthermore on the verge of launching two exciting new energy-efficient heating products – a unique low voltage electric blanket and a dual convection heater which is ideally suited for regions with colder climates.

In preparation for this accelerated  export growth, ECONO-HEAT™ has, furthermore, over the past two years established the necessary structures and systems to further optimise its manufacturing and administrative processes in support of even higher levels of operational efficiency and discipline in the company. Adhering to the Principles and Practises of Lean Manufacturing is key to the success of the company’s operation.

“The above measures are some of the  key success factors that have established ECONO-HEAT™ as a company that is: ‘Out Front, and Moving Ahead’ (Econo-Heat’s corporate credo)”, Bräsler said.

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2010 October: Exporter of the Year 2010 Finalists

Last night we attended the Exporter of the Year Awards 2010 hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

Being the first year that ECONO-HEAT™ has been nominated for the award, we didn’t expect to walk away with bundles of trophies and accolades. We did however manage to scoop up a finalist certificate award, which we will proudly be hanging up in our new office building.

We got a great insight into the other companies that were there, and I think the ECONO-HEAT™ team is even more highly motivated to trump our position for next year. We’ll be back this time next year for another showdown!

The speakers had a few interesting tid-bits to talk about, mainly highlighting their concerns around making the world a more greener place to live and the initiatives that companies should take to encourage this.

Thanks you to all of the team who made last night such an enjoyable experience. – Cheers, Pete Bräsler

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2010 October: 2010 Exporter of the Year Awards, Finalists announced

Original article can be viewed here (PDF)
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2010 October: FAMILY BUSINESS HEATS UP!

Pieter Bräsler - CEO, Econo-Heat
Constantiaberg Bulletin newspaper article: ECONO-HEAT™, based in Diep River, is one of the finalists in the 20th ABSA Cape Chamber of Commerce Exporter of the Year competition. The official launch of the competition took place in Cape Town on Wednesday October 6, and the winners will be announced at a gala banquet on Thursday October 21.

ECONO-HEAT™ was started by the father and son team Rod and Russell Davis and first found fame when it received the award for the most innovative product on the Cape Chamber 1997 Design for Living Exhibition.

In 2005 Pieter Bräsler bought the company. At the time it was producing 400 units per day and exporting took place on a small scale. Now it produces between 1,200 and 1,600 units per day and the number of jobs in the factory has increased by nearly 150%.

When ECONO-HEAT™ moves to its new factory in Wetton later this year, it will have the capacity to increase production to an output of 5,000 units per day. More than 60% of production is now being exported to 38 countries. The other finalists are AAT Composites, Kelp Products, Petrel Engineering and Tentickle.

Original article can be viewed here.

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