Specialist cutting tool supplier Star Tooling gets closer to the action

After being comfortable and settled in the same location for the past 22 years specialist cutting tool supplier Star Tooling has decided to leave its comfort zone and move to a new office and warehouse factory in the Spartan Industrial area of Gauteng, which is located in close proximity to OR Tambo International Airport.

Now in its 37th year of business Star Tooling has always been based in the Springs, Gauteng area since the company was established by Helmut Schmidt in 1981.

“We have been very successful operating from Springs over the years. But there comes a point where you realise that if you want to grow the business you have to make changes, whether it be the product mix that the company manufactures or markets, the culture of the company or your operational procedures. There are just too many to mention but in general you should be looking at these facets of a company continuously,” said Helmut’s son Chris who has been with the company for over 25 years, and has been heading up the ‘ship’ since dad started to take a back seat.

“One of the glaring indicators for us to change was the location of the company. Although not too far from the industrial areas I felt we were missing out. Logistically we were just out of the way that, for example, made it a chore for customers to come and visit. With over 60% of our customer base located in and around the Ekurhuleni industrial areas there was also the aspect of distance and longer delivery times. These are not major obstacles but they added to our frustrations of not being able to offer the service that we wanted to.”

“An opportunity arose that allowed us to purchase a 4 200m² factory on the corner of Director Road and Green Avenue, which is one of the main intersections of the Spartan Industrial area. In the short time that we have been here just the exposure to the passing traffic has been something that we did not expect and had not taken into account. It is an added bonus and proves my point that we needed to get closer to the action.”

“It has helped that we have put some effort into our signage on the exterior of the building, which depicts exactly what we do. People like to see product type pictures so that they can relate to it immediately. A name does not always tell a story.”

Stock, showroom and demos
“The new building has also afforded us the opportunity to have more space to hold more stock, incorporate a showroom for demos as well as dedicate an area for conferences. We did not have these last two aspects at the previous location.”

“Star Tooling has operated as a specialist tooling and accessories supplier since inception. We have long associations with companies such as Rego-Fix, who manufacture toolholding systems such as the ER Collet system; Benz angle heads, multi-spindle heads, live tools, static tools and other tooling technology systems; Rotor Tool live centers, dead centers and air chucks; Pinzbohr boring systems; Zeus knurling tool agency from Hommel + Keller and Izar specialist cutting tools such as drill bits, end mills and taps.”

“Other brands that we are associated with include Vischer & Bolli, Heule, HAM, Narex MTE, Mickros Plus and Swiss Tool Systems AG, all internationally active companies specialising in the development, manufacture and marketing of tools and tooling systems.”

“Seven years ago we were appointed the South African distributor of Tungaloy Corporation, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of carbide cutting tools, friction materials, wear resistant items, and civil engineering products.”

“The Japanese manufacturer has been providing products to customers all over the world in the automobile, construction, aerospace, medical, power generation, infrastructure and heavy industries for over 80 years. The company is a member IMC group, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and has Warren Buffett as its chairman and CEO.”

“Tungaloy manufactures products from carbide, cubic boron nitride (CBN), polycrystalline diamond (PCD), ceramics and cermets that cover a wide range of turning, milling and drilling operations.”

“The Tungaloy brand has been good to Star Tooling. Before we were appointed the sales and marketing distributors in South Africa Tungaloy already had an established and prestigious South African customer base. This was despite the company not previously having a branded presence in South Africa. It reflected the quality of the product range.”

“We have been able to grow Tungaloy’s market penetration in South Africa and last year experienced a 70% growth in turnover of their products. We intend to keep the heat on and make further gains with Tungaloy’s products.”

“This move to Spartan has been stressful but we now realise how important it was. A big plus is that we have been able to keep our telephone number. The only change has been our physical address details.”

Other news from the company was that Rupert Rossouw was appointed Sales Manager last year and now has five staff under his management. In total Star Tooling has 14 staff.

While Star Tooling is a family run business it remains committed to being known as a specialist tooling supplier and in particular to the die and mould area.

For further details contact Star Tooling on TEL: 011 818 2259 or visit www.startooling.co.za