Norbert Pick, STIHL Executive Board member, Marketing and Sales, visited the South African subsidiary ANDREAS STIHL Ltd. in Pietermaritzburg this week to get an idea of the situation and to talk to the local employees and STIHL authorised dealers in person. The STIHL subsidiary was affected by the serious riots and looting that happened in the area around the port city of Durban in the middle of July 2021. "The safety and protection of our staff was our main concern. The images coming out of South Africa over a month ago were shocking. We were very relieved that no one at our subsidiary was injured," explained Norbert Pick. The next few weeks and months are dedicated to building the location back to its former strength. "South Africa is an important growth market for the STIHL Group. We will therefore make any investments necessary and take every possible measure to rebuild STIHL South Africa," said the STIHL Executive Board.
Norbert Pick thanks the workforce
The subsidiary's warehouse had been completely destroyed and its office building severely damaged as a result of the unrest and looting. STIHL headquarters in Germany promptly set up a crisis team to organise measures for the protection and well-being of the subsidiary's roughly 40 employees in cooperation with Hayden Hutton, the Managing Director of STIHL South Africa. This team is also working on solutions to ensure authorised dealers and customers continue to be supplied with STIHL products, by building a temporary warehouse for the company in Johannesburg, for example, and providing accommodation for those working in the warehouse. During his visit, Norbert Pick thanked the workforce: "Those were very difficult and uncertain times. I'm all the more impressed by how quickly we came together to build an alternative in Johannesburg. I would like to thank you all for your outstanding flexibility and dedication, without which none of this would have been possible."
Thanks to the speed with which these measures have been taken, STIHL South Africa is now in a relatively stable position. "We were able to make the first deliveries to our STIHL authorised dealers at the start of August, thereby meeting the ongoing high demand for our products in South Africa. It's thanks to the extraordinary teamwork and achievements of our employees that we were back up and running and making deliveries so swiftly. It is in these difficult moments that STIHL proves itself to be more than just an average company. We are a family-owned company where everyone helps each other and is there for one and other. And that is something to be proud of," said Norbert Pick, praising the teams.