The piece “Lafarge Cement Malawi transforms delivery service with major investment” featured below was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 38 that is circulating this June 2016.
The full edition is available for download here. This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.
Lafarge Cement Malawi transforms delivery service with major investment
By Chiku Jere
Malawi’s leading cement producer, Lafarge Cement Malawi, has dramatically enhanced delivery service with the commissioning of a new state-of-the-art Roto-Packer, a cement bag filling machine. It enables the company to greatly increase its truck loading capability and reduce its cement delivery time to customers.
Lafarge Cement, a subsidiary of LafargeHolcim, the world leader in building materials, launched the machine at a prestigious event held at its premises in Makata Industrial area in Blantyre on 5 May 2016.
Valued at MWK305,4 million, the high efficiency Roto-Packer is a 6 spout, 3rd generation machine made by the renowned German company Haver & Boecker, which has been in the automated packing trade for over 150 years and is known to be the world’s leading innovator of packing solutions.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the new state of the art machine, the Cluster CEO for LafargeHolcim, Malawi and Tanzania, Ilsé Boshoff, explained that the upgrading of the bag packing plant was in line with the company’s continual drive to be the market leader for customer service.
Our contracted transporters, who previously often had to queue to be loaded, are now turned around rapidly, in good time to deliver to our customer sites,
Our aim is to continue investing in modern technology in order to maintain quality, as well as to provide the best possible service to customers.
Boshoff said the business philosophy of the global LafargeHolcim group is focused on customer service and continually improving operational efficiencies. The acquisition of the high-tech Roto-Packer augurs well for the local company’s objective of ensuring excellent delivery service.
The technology that was used to create the packer also equips it with a self-weight correction ability, which ensures that the bag is filled with the required weight.
For instance, if a 50kg bag has not been filled to its specified weight, the machine will detect and reject it until the packing is accurate,
The packer also has the capability of packing different weights, including 25kg and 50kg, as well as bulk loads, a development that is proving convenient for the company’s various customers. Another excellent feature is that it is environmentally-friendly: a fan mechanism automatically reduces emissions by sucking dust from the bag during packing.
Boshoff said Lafarge Cement Malawi’s continual drive to improve customer service recognises the increasingly competitive business environment.
Adding to this, the Chairman of LafargeHolcim Malawi, Symon Msefula, expressed profound gratitude to customers who have remained loyal to the cement company’s products over many years, saying these customers are the wheels that drive the company to succeed amidst unfair competition coming from uncontrolled imports.
Lafarge Cement has built Malawi. By this, we mean cities and communities in this country have risen largely through using our building products, as the company was the first ever cement manufacturer to be established in Malawi, dating back to 1956.
Recent ‘iconic structures’ constructed using the company’s cement are indelible marks of Lafarge Cement’s contribution to the development of the Malawi nation and include the Lilongwe Stadium, Bingu International Conference Centre and the Reserve Bank, as well as the Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre.
The company’s proud track record includes the role it has played in the construction of transport infrastructure such as airports, roads, bridges, railways, both inside and outside the country ‒ the Nacala Railway is a notable example.
A key factor in the company’s success can be attributed to its investment in the development of its Malawian workforce, resulting in high productivity and operational efficiency.
We believe that our ongoing investment in plant and people will enable us to continue helping to create a healthy country, happy communities and an improved economy. We are very committed in this regard,
He described the commissioning of the new Roto-Packer, which was presided over by the Mayor of the City of Blantyre, Councillor Noel Chalamanda, in the presence of some of the company’s major customers, as one more successful step in the life of Lafarge Cement Malawi as it continues on its journey of producing quality products and services.
In his remarks, His Worship Chalamanda was full of praise for the cement producer’s continued efforts in helping to build the City of Blantyre and the country as a whole.
The Mayor stated that the large investment in the Roto-Packer shows that the company is customer oriented,” he said.
This is a great technological move for the development of the country as it will enable the company to serve the local market better. LafargeHolcim Malawi is indeed supporting the local economy.
The company is to be commended for producing quality cement for the past 60 years, since it was first established as the Portland Cement Company.
Commenting on Lafarge Cement’s comprehensive employment welfare and occupational health, safety and workplace environment programmes, Chalamanda also said he was impressed with the company’s admirable investment in the welfare of local people and the contribution it made to the success of its commitment to Malawi.
In closing, the Mayor also thanked the company for donating bags of cement towards the ‘Keep Blantyre Clean and Green’ initiative last year.
With a well-balanced presence in 90 countries and a focus on Cement, Aggregates and Concrete, LafargeHolcim (SIX Swiss Exchange, Euronext Paris: LHN) is the world leader in the building materials industry. The Group has 115,000 employees around the world and registered combined net sales of CHF 33 billion (EUR 27 billion) in 2014. LafargeHolcim is the industry benchmark in R&D and serves from the individual home builder to the largest and most complex project with the widest range of value-adding products, innovative services and comprehensive building solutions. With a commitment to drive sustainable solutions for better building and infrastructure and to contribute to a higher quality of life, the Group is best positioned to meet the challenges of increasing urbanisation.
More information is available on: www.lafargeholcim.com