“We sell and deliver a store” – Storequip Group

The concept of a ‘supermarket with a difference’ is growing and designers and the manufacturers and suppliers of shelving, racking, refrigerators and all the other equipment that make up a supermarket, have to take into account the supermarket psychology that includes appeal, convenience and comfort, whether it be in the bakery, the fresh produce section or in the general merchandise isles.

The Storequip Group boasts top retailers such as the Shoprite Checkers Group, Pick n Pay, Builders Warehouse, Spar, Game and Makro amongst its clients

Meeting these demands is the Storequip Group, one of the largest manufacturers of supermarket shelving and display equipment in Africa. The late Karl Krupke established the family owned and managed group in 1964 as KK Engineering as a general engineering business but soon specialised in manufacturing hooks and display fixtures for supermarkets and retailers, an idea he had brought along from Germany. Today the group is run by his two sons Uwe and Dietmar and consists of four entities, KK Shelving, Storequip, Shelvit and KK Towers. The focus of the group is to design, manufacture and install shelving, checkout counters for supermarkets and department stores, as well as the racking, display fixtures, shopfitting and mezzanine floors for the back stores and warehouse industry.

Sell and deliver a store
“Our motto is that we sell and deliver a store for you,” explained Managing Director Uwe Krupke.

“From concept to design to installation is our expertise and forte. We might not manufacture every piece of equipment that you see in a store but the equipment used for displaying produce and product, which takes up the majority of the floor space in a store, is all manufactured by ourselves.”

KK Shelving has recently purchased a new 4kW Durma fiber laser from Spectrum Machine Tools Africa

Reef Engineering has supplied a number of decoilers, straightners and presses to the Storequip Group

“A well-planned store design and layout allows retailers to maximise the product displays and sales for the allocated selling space in a store. Store layout design takes into account the space available and location of each department, types of products, permanent structures, fixture and building location and traffic patterns to create an overall layout that is suitable for the retail space. Whether the retailer is opening a new store or renovating an existing location our store designers will help increase organisation and efficiency of the store layout. Using state of the art CAD systems we will work with the retailer to provide a comprehensive store design proposal that includes space planning, fixture selection and visual merchandising presentation.”

“Style, colour, shape and a mix of materials are all part of the visual revolution. However, functionality and versatility play an important role in creating a store that is appealing to consumers, and it allows the retailer to utilise every inch of usable space in the store.”

“The ordinary person does not realise the magnitude of all the elements that have to be taken into account when a retailer opens a store. Discounting the product portfolio that the client has to implement, there is an equal amount of anxiety and psychology behind every display so as to give the ultimate shopping experience while at the same time realising shelf-life savings and costs for the client.”

Two of the three Durma 3m x 135 ton press brakes that KK Shelving have purchased from Spectrum Machine Tools Africa

The Storequip Group has over 500 press and form tools that they use on their presses

“We as a shelving and display equipment manufacturer have to take into account all of these elements that deliver the merchandise in an aesthetic and easy to view and grab manner that enhances the customer’s shopping experience. At the same time you have to consider the resets of merchandise that is usually done by staff when you are not in the store. Labour efficiencies are critical to the cost savings of a store and there is nothing more displeasing to the eye than empty shelving.”

“Again, we have to deliver equipment that is light-weight, economical and adjustable, easy to assemble and install, is functional and versatile, and there must be the ability to change or relocate a display at any time.”

Having principally operated as an engineering company that manufactured hooks and display equipment for supermarkets and retailers since inception, it was in the early 1980s that the company changed its focus to include the shelving and racking market. In 2008 the trading name of KK Display was changed to KK Shelving to better reflect the company operations. That same year the company acquired a 14 000m² factory in City Deep, Johannesburg to accommodate the extra manufacturing space that was needed. Prior to this the company had operated from a factory in Alberton North but due to substantial growth the company acquired a much larger factory (11 000m²) in the Tulisa Park industrial area.

A new Okuma machining center has recently been installed in the toolroom at the KK Shelving factory in Steeldale

The KK Shelving factory in Steeldale makes use of a number of carousel indexing machines that the company has developed themselves

The extra space as a result of the purchase of the factory in City Deep allowed the company to separate the manufacturing operations of the business areas that it served. The Tulisa Park factory concentrated on serving the general retail market and the new name of KK Shelving. A new company – Storequip – was established and housed in the City Deep factory. This factory would concentrate on manufacturing the company’s heavy-duty retailer specific Gondola Systems shelving system as well as industrial warehouse racking.

“The demand to optimise industrial space is on the increase. Large corporations are on the lookout to improve their storage capacity. Metal racking is generally used in warehouses, storerooms of supermarkets and principally for industrial or bulk storage purposes. This type is durable, and easy to use for a variety of commercial and industrial applications. The bulk of Storequip’s manufacturing capabilities are now taken up with this type of product,” explained Krupke.

Additional factory purchased in Steeldale
The next big move for the group was in 2016. Growth and the desire to have most of the areas of manufacturing that the company is involved in under one roof, from raw material to packaging and dispatch, necessitated another move to a larger factory in Steeldale, Johannesburg.

“We purchased a 40 000m² property that has 26 000m² of factory space for R30 million and spent another R55 million on refurbishing the buildings and office space. Principally all of the KK Shelving products will be manufactured at this factory.”

The KK Shelving factory in Steeldale makes use of a number of Caxton presses

One of the two Yaskawa Motoman robots at work at the KK Shelving factory in Steeldale

“In addition we spent another R22 million on a new powder coating facility that featured fully automatic spray guns, a quick colour change spray booth, which are self-cleaning. The new plant would give us the quality and capacity that we needed and there is also almost no powder loss during the coating process.”

“We also installed a fully automated electroplating plant that has two lines to it and cost us R10 million. The one line is referred to as the barrel line, which electroplates the small components and the second line is referred to as the jig line, which electroplates the larger size components.”

“With the company now equipping several hundred new stores a year we have to have our production lines running as efficiently and productively as possible. We have developed and manufactured thousands of different components, many of which are retailer specific.”

New equipment
“We have recently purchased a new 4kW Durma fiber laser, three Durma 3m x 135 ton press brakes from Spectrum Machine Tools Africa and a new heavy duty roll former. All of the machines have been purchased this year with the Durma machines installed at the KK Shelving Steeldale factory and the roll former will join the other six roll formers that we have at the Storequip City Deep factory.”

Shelving components that have been manufactured at the KK Shelving factory in Steeldale

Shelving components at the KK Shelving factory waiting to be processed through the new R22 million powder coating facility that features fully automatic spray guns, and a quick colour change spray booth that are self-cleaning

“The new Durma fiber laser is our third laser and the second fiber laser that we have purchased. Besides increasing our capacity it will allow us to further enhance our ability to produce special shelving and shopfitting fixtures to satisfy the regular new product design requirements. Our other two Trumpf lasers are located at the Storequip City Deep factory.”

“With our policy of trying to manufacture most components in-house we now have a number of metalworking processes that are incorporated in our manufacturing facilities. These include decoiling, punching, roll forming, pressing, bending, cutting, wire forming, carousel indexing and of course welding, as well as overhead crane handling of our structural steel products.”

“The only process that we still shop out is tube laser cutting. However, we are in the process of purchasing a fiber laser that will take care of these requirements.”

“In addition we have two Yaskawa Motoman robots at the Steeldale factory and a further two at the Storequip City Deep factory carrying out the repetitive welding operations that are required on some of our shelving units.”

“Besides the lasers we also have in the region of 30 press brakes, four CNC wire formers, about 50 presses with various tonnages, a number of guillotines, 10 Reef straighteners and feeders servicing the presses, seven inline punching and rolling lines, six powder coating lines, two electro plating plants and two well equipped toolrooms between the KK Shelving Steeldale and Storequip City Deep facilities.”

One of the two Yaskawa Motoman robots at work at the Storequip City Deep facility

A Reef Engineering press manufacturing components at the Storequip City Deep facility

“In our toolroom at the KK Shelving Steeldale factory we have recently added an Okuma CNC mill, a Colchester lathe and another surface grinder. We have over 500 press and form tools that we use on our presses and all of these have to be maintained. With our type of work and the industries that we mainly serve there are always new developments and thus new press tooling has to be made regularly. We do all of this in-house.”

“We have also recently established a full toolroom facility at the Storequip City Deep factory.”

Shopfitting and joinery
The Storequip Group offers a complete turnkey solution for its clients in the retailer and wholesale industry. This includes the CAD drawings, equipment supply and installation as well as shopfitting. The company boasts top retailers such as the Shoprite Checkers Group, Pick n Pay, Builders Warehouse, Spar, Game and Makro amongst them.

“Last year alone we were part of about 100 stores for the Shoprite Checkers Group, 30 for Pick n Pay, 20 for Builders Warehouse and 10 Spar stores opening. We have teams of shopfitters deployed around the country installing our products whenever there is a new store opening or a revamp.”

“Included in the shopfitting services that we offer, as well as the equipment that we manufacture and supply, there is a call for quite a large amount of joinery services. The group offers a full range of timber shopfitting products including money market and kiosk counters, checkouts, wooden base boxes and gondola ends, timber cladding for kitchen and wine departments, timber fruit and vegetable boats, flower and magazine stands and timber bakery display tables.”

New acquisition – Storeworks
“This department has recently been strengthened with the acquisition of Storeworks, a company that specialises in shopfitting and manufacturing standard and custom products for retail and industrial applications. Storeworks has its own joinery and steel manufacturing facilities. However, they will be merged with our shopfitting and woodworking department, which operates from our Tulisa Park factory.”

A new roll former has been installed at the Storequip City Deep factory. It joins the other six roll formers at this facility

Various components on the production floor at the Storequip City Deep factory

“This acquisition opens up a broader scope of work that we can offer our clients. With the visual displays in the stores becoming more important it is imperative that we have the skills and services to compete.”

“Like many industries in South Africa we in the shopfitting industry have the China threat. Some of the chain stores have sourced product from China purely on price and we have to lobby government to really promote local content.”

“We have created over 500 positions in our group alone and this figure goes up to over 700 when we have a peak period. The retail industry has been relatively stable and being a preferred supplier to most of the large retail chains has been key to our growth.”

For further details contact KK Shelving on TEL: 011 724 1500 or Storequip on TEL: 011 503 1500 visit www.storequip.co.za