New horizons explored with FAW
New Horizons Metal CC, is a tight-knit operation focussed on cost-efficiency and on-time delivery of its products to the medical community. The medium-sized enterprise based in Briardene, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) specialises in manufacturing hospital furniture, such as medical trollies, carts, gurneys or other wheeled stretchers, almost all types of metal medical equipment required for a clinically sterile environment.
“We work mainly with stainless steel or aluminium, and easy-to-clean padded top equipment, such as examination tables for clinics and doctors’ rooms. Our items are highly specified in respect of dimensions, materials used and quality standards. We have over 400 line items which we manufacture ourselves with our staff of 30 people,” explains Sagren Naidoo, a partner in the family-owned business.
‘As a wholesaler (to clinics and hospitals) and retailer (to doctors and specialists) we also have to manage the logistics from our production plant to the end-user or consignee.
“Of course, one of our cost challenges is the input price of buying materials such as stainless steel. So it remains imperative for us to control our costs throughout our whole supply chain, from material procurement, manufacturing, packing and distribution.”
New Horizons Metals do most their own distribution, only contracting out to third-party courier or break-bulk services were delivery logistics and costs are warranted or at preferred cost ratios.
“We are running the FAW 15.180FL for our delivery to points which are in far-flung, rural areas and which are either out of reach of normal courier services or where costs indicate a saving in using our own vehicles.
“One advantage of using the FAW 15.180FL is certainly the driver comfort with our choice of the semi-sleeper cab, well-sprung air-suspended seat, adjustable steering column and air-conditioning system – all together resulting in good driving comfort. A comfortable driver is a better driver. We’re seeing cost-effective driving with low fuel consumption, low wear and tear and good vehicle condition all round, with the FAW,” affirms Naidoo.
Further adding to driver safety, the FAW 15.180FL is equipped standard with ABS with automatic slack adjusting brakes.
According to FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA, the 15.180FL is aggregated to a gross combination mass of 24 tonne. With a GVM of 15 tonne the vehicle provides a healthy 8 tonne payload depending on the body configuration.
“What is naturally important is the back-up and aftersales support we enjoy from the team at FAW’s regional centre in KZN, providing us with excellent standards of service and original parts supply guaranteed.”
New Horizons Metals are using the FAW15.180FL with a modified fuel tank, enlarged to cover a longer delivery range and to cut down refuelling stops. “We also needed to secure both our load, the driver safety and our vehicle. For these reasons we installed a small number of extras, some of which include an anti-tampering fuel cap and special battery security cover.
Another accessory which New Horizons says is a boon for the drivers is the lockable toolbox, which is not only handy for carrying the normal mechanical vehicle equipment, but also used by the driving team as a safe personal storage space during rest stops or when overnighting between legs on the various country-wide routes.
“One of the more important issues for us was the transparency with which FAW was prepared to deal with us and their truck body-builder, RAM Bodies who produced the exceptional 2,6m x 2,6m x extra-length 7,5m mild steel (0,8mm thick) closed box body. Their dealings were honest and open and we appreciated this very much.
“Our plan is to run the FAW15.180 on a 5-year/400 000km lifecycle and then assess replacement cost. We are also looking into the possibility of acquiring a FAW8.140 for our one-day trips on shorter routes,” says Naidoo.