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Wood-Mizer establishes African Operations Division to support African sawmillers

Wood-Mizer establishes African Operations Division to support African sawmillers
Wood-Mizer, the global leader in narrow band sawmill technology since 1982, has announced the formation of an African Operations division that will coordinate future sales and service efforts on the continent as a part of its ongoing strategic efforts to meet global demand.

Wood-Mizer’s portable and industrial thin-kerf sawmills and secondary processing solutions together with its in-house range of narrow band saw blades have served as the key building blocks of the group’s successes recorded in the global sawmilling sector to date.

Wood-Mizer’s presence on the African continent dates back two decades before the 2011 decision to launch a Wood-Mizer subsidiary branch based on the continent. Key drivers of this move were to improve pricing, increase range, provide better service and spare parts availability and to build an experienced team that understands the needs of the African market. Wood-Mizer’s commitment towards sustainable resource management and the benefits that its range holds for broad socio-economic development on the continent also encouraged the decision.

Jean-Jacques Oelofse, the recently appointed Chief Operating Officer of the African Operations Division of Wood-Mizer LLC
The impact that Wood-Mizer Southern Africa has had on the continent under the leadership of its managing director and Wood-Mizer Africa Regional Manager, Jean-Jacques Oelofse and his team, has now culminated in the decision by Wood-Mizer LLC to restructure the company at a global level to allow for an African Operations division.

Speaking to Wood-Mizer LLC CEO, Richard Vivers and Wood-Mizer Industries managing director, Robert Bagiński, they shared that the restructuring was underpinned by two basic driving points.

"The continued growth recorded on the continent has convinced the Wood-Mizer LLC board that Africa will become a key priority for the group going into the future. The successes achieved by JJ Oelofse and his inspired team also made it clear that they are the vehicle through which Wood-Mizer will be able to strengthen the brand on the continent," Richard Vivers said.

"JJ Oelofse’s appointment as Chief Operating Officer of the African Operations Division and the vested successes of Wood-Mizer Southern Africa to date, will allow us to exploit the opportunities that we’re now presented with further," Richard Vivers continued.

The Wood-Mizer office in Johannesburg
Oelofse is a graduate from UK-based Montford University, and after playing rugby for UK-based Leicester Tigers entered the timber equipment industry and gained experience with the African timber market.

Exposure to harvesting, beneficiation, manufacturing and export of hardwood manufactured timber products from Africa to international markets as well trading timber on the international stage, paved the way for his 2011 decision to join Wood-Mizer.

The decision to entrust JJ Oelofse with Wood-Mizer’s direct involvement on the continent has provided for stellar results.

Since 2011, the Wood-Mizer dealership network on the continent has expanded and continues to do so. More than half of the 55 countries in Africa now deal directly with Wood-Mizer Southern Africa while 30% of those countries have dealers servicing sawmillers located there.

End-users on the continent can expect increased service delivery and multiple benefits in the near future - expanded locations, a growing staff, and an invigorated media presence spanning a variety of communication platforms will be the initial precursors of this new chapter in Wood-Mizer’s support for African sawmillers.

Author: Etienne Nagel
Wood-Mizer Africa

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