With digitalization, electrification and autonomy all set to change the industry, could construction’s established players be wrongfooted by a new market disruptor? Industry thinkers Alan Berger and Carl-Gustaf Goransson discuss who’s in the strongest position: Old guard or Newcomers.
In 2008 no one saw Tesla Motors as much other than a niche electric sports car company. Certainly not other car companies – in 2009 Tesla only made 147 cars. Fast forward 12 years and Tesla is making 500,000 cars a year and is valued higher than the top six car manufacturers combined.
Of course, much has been written about the unexpectedly and disproportionately large disruptive effect Tesla has had on the global automotive industry. Like construction equipment, the car business has been consolidating, with no significant new entrants in a long time. This raises the question as to whether the same thing could happen in the construction equipment world – could a disrupter barge into the sector and win? Indeed, the industry is trying to digest the triple challenges of digitization, autonomous operation and electrification – creating an opportunity for new players to emerge.
Central to the success of today’s OEMs is their extensive product, customer and application knowledge. But given the technical changes that are coming, is that going to be enough to save them from a digital disruptor?
The new era of machines will require a completely new architecture, one that is designed around the capabilities of an electrical drivetrain. It will also be adapted from today’s equipment in order to transfer power with cables instead of belts, and shafts and hoses will enable new ways to optimize performance and productivity. Such a platform will be largely software controlled, moving a portion of feature development from relatively slow-moving mechanical changes to faster and more easily upgradable software changes. That said, by nature, construction equipment does physical work, and the working tools will remain similar to that used today. A disrupter would develop a completely new machine, while existing OEMs could do so only if they resist the temptation to take the ‘easy’ path of adapting current machines. Indeed, OEMs would be able to leverage their vast portfolio of intellectual property to speed this along. Advantage OEM.
Large parts of the supply chain will remain the same, as many components and raw materials of tomorrow’s machines will be like today’s. However, new components will be needed as well, particularly in the drivetrain and hydraulic systems. (If there is a hydraulic system). This has triggered a competitive scramble that is now pitting traditional engine manufacturers against transmission/axle manufacturers and hydraulic component suppliers. While this new competitive dynamic will take time to sort itself out, clearly the traditional supply base is positioning itself to offer the needed new parts. Therefore, existing OEM-supplier relationships – and access to the latest technology – will favor existing OEMs over newcomers. Advantage OEM.
With new, digitally enabled sales models, the traditional role of the dealer is likely to change, and a new player could greatly accelerate this. Just look at the success of Tesla’s direct selling model. That said, construction equipment requires responsive and intensive access to service, which is a vital part of the dealers’ offering. A disrupter could build a service-only network, leveraging established dealers while moving most of the sales activity on-line. This is difficult for existing OEMs and therefore the newcomer has an edge. Advantage disruptor.
It is well known that parts and services drive a large part of total operating income for OEMs. Simplified, software-driven machines require less maintenance and this will negatively impact the traditional business model and reduce the value of existing OEM’s captive parts distribution networks. Indeed, there is no need for a newcomer to develop their own parts network, since there are now third-party solutions such as Amazon. A newcomer can then more easily focus on other sources of high margin recurring revenues – such as offering features-as-a-service. Advantage newcomer.
Access to capital
To fund their existing portfolio and prepare for the technical transformation today’s OEMs have to balance R&D, capital expenditure and operating income – not an easy balancing act. Not so startups, whose compelling business models and few external dependencies can get access to significant capital. All they need to worry about is being focused on developing the new products, services and business. Advantage disruptor Before concluding, there is one additional and important consideration. Tesla was founded well before the automotive industry recognized the need and technology availability. Clearly, this is not the case for the construction equipment industry today. Taking all of these factors together, it seems that the existing OEMs can drive the disruption themselves if they are willing to commit to the extensive and complete transformation needed. But, if none do so, don’t be surprised if someone else decides to do it for or to them.
Dangote Cement Boosts Sub-Saharan Africa’s Economic Development
Operating in 10 African countries, Dangote Cement has significantly boost Sub-Saharan Africa Economic Development and play major roles in attracting Investors and job creation.
Sub-Saharan Africa is populated by more than half a billion people, and rapid urbanisation is creating challenges in the areas of housing, roads, railways, power supply, dams and water pipelines – aspects of infrastructure that are critical to the well-being of the population.
This situation indicates that cement and concrete will play a major role in construction technology in Africa, an aspect that makes the continent an attractive destination for investors.
The Dangote Group has taken cognizance and advantage of the cement demand in Africa by investing in 10 sub-Saharan counties like Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Congo, and Sierra Leone.
Remarkably, the Dangote Cement plant has successfully operated in Senegal in the last five years, producing 32.5 and 42.5-grades, thereby offering the domestic market higher-quality cement at competitive prices.
The company’s 1.5Mta factory located in Pout, about 60km from Dakar, was commissioned at the end of December 2014 to take advantage of the geographical strategic location, strong demand and abundant limestone deposits.
Country Manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Luk Haelterman, said: “before our entry, the domestic market was almost entirely made up of 32.5-grade cement. Our plant produces 42.5-grade cement, thereby offering the market higher-quality cement at a competitive price, which the construction industry urgently needs.”
Dangote Cement Senegal’s integrated plant is modern, fuel-efficient that uses the latest technology to produce high-quality cement. This enables the company to compete very effectively in a Sub-Saharan cement industry that is fragmented and characterised by smaller-scale operators with older technologies.
Haelterman described Dangote Cement’s investment in Senegal as one of the biggest foreign direct investments by an African company, which is an indication of its strong belief in the future growth of its economy.
He said the market has potential for growth for both local consumption and export, despite being saturated by other cement brands, saying, “apart from capturing the local market in Senegal, we also now export cement to neighbouring countries of Mali, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.”
Haelterman attributed the company’s outstanding performance in Senegal to stringent quality assurance processes, which were deployed to ensure that customers get high-quality products that meet all the required technical standards.
According to him, Dangote’s introduction of the 42.5-degree brand of cement to the major market in Senegal upon entry has enabled the company to gain the desired market share in the country.
Luk also disclosed that Dangote Cement Senegal has developed a culture of supporting local employees and prioritising local hiring, which allows local country employees have the necessary knowledge, experience, and support to take up key roles within the company.
He said the policy aims to gradually reduce the number of expatriates employed by the business by enhancing the skills and capacity of Senegalese employees to take up leadership positions.
“We have ensured that our image has been aligned with two key principles from day one: maintaining high quality, and taking a local approach in everything that we do,” he said.
Human resources manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Waly Diouf, said the company takes training and development of employees as a priority. “Today, Dangote Senegal has about 800 employees. We make sure that we invest heavily in the training and development of employees. We have a programme, which enables us to boost the skills of local staff at all levels. Dangote Cement Senegal is one of the best plants in Africa. This consistent training of indigenous manpower has made our plant one of the best in Africa ” he disclosed.
Chief finance officer, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Ousmane Mbaye, said the company has contributed significantly to the development of Senegal’s economy, saying, “Dangote Senegal started operation in Senegal in 2015, and between 2015 and 2019, the company has contributed heavily into the Senegalese government treasury, thereby assisting in economic development.”
Head of mines, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Leyti Ndiaye added that “our job is to supply raw materials to the plant and make sure that blending of the limestone is done correctly. We operate under very strict environmental regulations. As a company, we have a sustainable environment management plan so as to reduce environmental degradation during operation as well as restoration of degraded lands after final mine closure.”
Chief executive officer, National Sector Mining Company, Ousmane Cisse commended Dangote Cement for investing massively in the Senegalese economy. “I am very proud to have Dangote Cement in Senegal. Dangote has been able to satisfy the Senegalese cement market since its inception in 2015. When Dangote arrived here, there were two players in the market. Dangote brought quantity and quality products through the introduction of 45.2R. Dangote has helped cement consumers in Senegal to access quality cement products.
“The company is also satisfying markets in the surrounding countries. When you visit Dangote, you will discover that most of the employees are Senegalese. The company has employed Senegalese and ensure adequate capacity building for everybody,” he stated.
The best practices adopted by the Dangote Cement Senegal Plant over the past five years have boosted its production process and quality of its products, with a corresponding positive impact on the economy of the country, Sub-Saharan Africa and the continent as a whole. This is a plus for development.
Dangote Cement has a production capacity of 48.6 million tonnes per year across 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Group has integrated factories in seven countries, clinker grinding plant in Cameroon, and import and distribution facilities for bulk cement in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Together, these operations make the Group the largest cement producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Based in Nigeria, the Group operates in many of Sub-Saharan Africa’s key cement markets, helping the continent become self-sufficient in this basic commodity. In 2020, it started shipping clinker to West and Central Africa from Nigeria. Its regional strategy stated that it look for markets that have ample limestone, thriving economies, growing populations, and a pressing need for housing and infrastructure.
Arla Food To Set Up Dairy Farm In Nigeria, Train 1,000 Dairy Farmers
Arla Foods, makers of Dano Milk, has announced that it will build a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria where it plans to train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers as part of its long-term commitment to developing the Nigerian dairy sector.
The 200-hectare farm, scheduled to open in 2022, will have housing for 400 dairy cows, modern milking parlours and technology, grasslands and living facilities for 25 employees.
The firm said the farm is expected to produce over 10 tonnes of milk per day to supply locally produced dairy products to Nigerian consumers.
Managing Director, Arla Foods, Peder Pedersen said “there was a great need for nutritious food and dairy products to satisfy the growing demand from Nigeria’s fast-growing population.”
“This requires a complementary approach where imported food is crucial to ensuring food security while also supporting the government’s long-term agricultural transformation plan to build a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria,” Pedersen said.
In 2019 Arla scaled up its commitment to developing a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria with a new public-private partnership with the Kaduna State government.
It is the first of its size and offers 1,000 nomadic dairy farmers permanent farmlands. Arla is the commercial partner that will purchase, collect, process and bring the local milk to market.
The Board of Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP Plc) Appoints Vitus Ezinwa as a Non-Executive Director
The Board of Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP Plc) has appointed Dr. Vitus Ezinwa as a Non-Executive Director of the company effective from Thursday June 17, 2021, subject to the approval of the Company’s shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting.
The company announced in a statement signed by Ayomipo Wey, Company Secretary/General Counsel, CAP Plc.
Dr. Ezinwa is a seasoned business manager and human resource professional with experience in leading multinational corporations.
He is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of UAC of Nigeria Plc (“UACN”) and previously, the Group Director of HR at UACN.
Prior to Joining UACN, Dr. Ezinwa worked as Group Human Resources Director for Promasidor Africa; Human Resources Director, CocaCola Nigeria & Equatorial Africa with responsibility for 10 countries and Human Resources Director for British American Tobacco, West & Central Africa covering Ghana, Benin, Niger & Togo.
Dr. Ezinwa was, until recently, the Group Human Resource Director for Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group.
He is a member of the Advisory Board of Afterschool Graduate Development Centre, member of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) UK.
He is a co-founder and Director of HR Network Africa and was until 2014, a member of the Lagos Business School’s Advisory Board. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, MBA in Management from Lagos Business School, a Master’s in applied business research and a Doctorate in Business Administration, both from Swiss Business School, Zurich, Switzerland.
In addition to holding an executive director role on the Board of UACN, Dr. Ezinwa is a non-executive director of Grand Cereals Limited.
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