The South African manufacturing sector has faced a number of challenges in recent years. Amongst these are “productivity, costs, labour issues, skills shortages, efficiency and new technology”, according to Modise Makhene, principal at Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa (fin24).
“The biggest shift that leaders in the manufacturing sector are dealing with is the move globally from traditional manufacturing practices (which were labour intensive and required low technology) to models embracing the latest technological – especially digital – advances,” says Makhene.
While some analysts have belaboured the decline in the manufacturing sector, there is no doubt that selected sub-sectors in manufacturing, including communication and professional equipment (11% growth in 2016); petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastics; and food & beverage, have experienced a solid growth path. A number of other sectors are steadily recovering and there are opportunities for South Africa to operate as the manufacturing hub of Africa (StatsSA). says that improvements have been made in the sector that include the South African government’s plan to spend R5.8-billion between 2015 and 2018, to help manufacturers affected by the global economic downturn to upgrade their factories, improve products and train workers.
Amongst the manufacturing fraternity’s greatest obstacles to growth are supply chain instability, finding creative methods to reduce and eliminate costs, and finding new methods to increase productivity while reducing overheads (Casemore & Co).
“Manufacturers and suppliers of industrial technology equipment are in a strong position to alleviate and eliminate these obstacles. We recognise that time is a precious resource for KwaZulu-Natal industry professionals, so the ability to source a multitude of leading products and services under one roof is a major drawcard. The KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Technology Exhibition (KITE) provides manufacturers with the unrivalled opportunity to interact with a wide variety of industrial technology providers in their quest for high-quality solutions,” says Joshua Low, Portfolio Director at Specialised Exhibitions.
Held once again at the Durban Exhibition Centre, from 26 to 28 July 2017, KITE has repeatedly attracted visitors with the common goal of sourcing and buying industrial technology equipment and related services.
“Of the 5 156 visitors at KITE 2015, 80% of these attendees made or influenced purchasing decisions. There is absolutely no doubt that KITE is able to provide its exhibitors with a targeted platform to showcase their products and services to the industry. The stand booking process is rapidly accelerating in the months leading up to the event, and with only49% of available space left, we urge industrial equipment companies to prioritise KITE in their 2017 marketing budget,” Low points out.
The exhibition includes displays and information on construction equipment and material; electronic components, energy solutions; environmental solutions; heavy machinery; hygiene products and services; industrial equipment and components; IT and telecommunications manufacturing equipment; materials handling; monitoring, process control and sensors; security equipment; workwear and protective equipment; plant and facility equipment; safety equipment and machinery; tools; and industrial services.
“This growing variety of modalities not only substantially decreases the review-to-purchase lead time for visitors, but similarly decreases the cost of making sales for the 110-plus exhibitors at KITE. With the addition of the Propak Pavilion and the hosting of a number of educational sessions geared around improving industry knowledge for visitors, KITE ticks all the boxes for KZN-based manufacturers and other visitors,” adds Low.
Based on the success of its debut in 2015, the free-to-attend SAIMechE Seminar Theatre, will once again host thought-provoking topics and top speakers covering: industry trends, challenges facing the industry, updates on the latest technologies and more. In addition, the Lifting Equipment Association of South Africa (LEEASA) will for the first time host a conference at KITE, specifically aimed at individuals in the lifting and related industries.
To book a stand or discuss a sponsorship package at KITE, contact Loftie Eaton or Mark Anderson on +27 41 585 8274 or +27 10 003 3063 or email or For more information on KITE 2017, visit the website at

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