The OKE South Africa Team at the plant in Paarl with one of the 2K injection moulding machines recently commissioned for the automotive industry. OKE SA is expanding production of components for a range of sectors based on the supply model refined by the parent company in Germany. From left: Eugene Marinus (quality coordinator), Berthold Willemse (technical manager), Daniel Grundlingh (production manager), Rowene Jacobs (supply chain manager), David Rossouw (managing director), and Ruan Rossouw (sales manager)

OKE group settles SA acquisitions, expands local supply

OKE South Africa, the local business of the German multi-national group, has successfully completed the integration of the Cape companies it purchased over the past few years and is expanding supply into a number of sectors in SA from its new resettled platform.

OKE purchased Viking Plastics, a Cape Town injection moulding business in 2014, and Boland Plastics, a Paarl-based irrigation pipe extrusion business in 2015. The enterprise was first housed at the large OKE premises in Montagu Gardens, but the entire operation was subsequently relocated to Paarl after the premises there were expanded. The irrigation extrusion operation that is part of OKE Water Solutions operates from the one plant, along with a number of other production units, and the injection moulding work is conducted at the adjacent plant, where components for the automotive, industrial appliance, electronics, retail and irrigation sectors are produced.

OKE South Africa has its own in-house toolroom and quality lab to look after in-house products, machines, moulds and tooling, and can also design and develop products and tools and moulds for customers interested in contract manufacturing and is looking to sell excess toolroom capacity.

OKE South Africa is fully committed to investing in the localisation of automotive plastic parts and expansion is motivated per business case. The company believes that investing in localisation projects will benefit and grow South Africa’s economy. It has already started working closely with automotive, industrial and agricultural manufacturers and suppliers to explore opportunities to manufacture products in SA rather than import them.

OKE was established in 1961 in Germany by Rainer von der Heyde as Osnabrücker Kunststoff-Erzeugnisse, which sold plastic products into the furniture industry and later began to manufacture itself. It has been operating in South Africa since 1996 when, at the outset, its main activity was profile extrusion for the automotive sector. It has since steadily increased its global footprint mainly through acquisitions to the point where it now operates 16 manufacturing plants, with five being in Germany, followed by Portugal, Slovakia, South Korea, Japan, China, Brazil and, most recently, Vietnam – with OKE Vietnam being the most recent to open, earlier this year.

The group employs over 1 800 people around the world and a big part of its momentum appears to lie in the holistic way in which it involves and develops staff in terms of work, play, lifestyle and health. OKE conducts staff surveys every second year in which OKE employees are invited, anonymously, to make suggestions aimed at work and production improvement, which seems to have aided workplace relations for the business.