STIHL EA Invests $100 Million to Localize Product Development

STIHL East Africa, a power tool manufacturer, has announced an annual investment of Sh100 million in local accessory manufacturing as part of its efforts to localize product development in the region.

The company has partnered with local firms such as Proteq Automation Ltd and Tippers and Trailer Limited to produce accessories for all STIHL East Africa products in the region.

According to STIHL East Africa Managing Director Francois Marais, the move will reduce accessory costs, increase employment, and boost the local economy by injecting Sh100 million annually.

“STIHL continually demonstrates its world-leading competence with innovations designed to improve functionality, ease of product use, environmental protection, and health and safety at work. Our products are synonymous with quality, we have instructed the companies to adhere to our quality standards in a bid to ensure that STIHL remains top of quality,” said Maraias.

The move comes after the company recently launched new products in the market to help smallholder farmers implement mechanisation in their farms in order to increase productivity and income.

Tillers, water pumps, brushcutters, tea pruners, earth augers, concrete cutters, high pressure cleaners and vacuum cleaners, chainsaws, and other handheld tools made specifically for the East African market are among the products available in the market.

“Buying decisions for machines are no longer taken merely based on design and engineering criteria, but rather on the question, ‘How will you as my OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) support my business, ensuring performance, efficiency and productivity of my machine?’ SMEs in Kenya have demonstrated their ingenuity and capacity to meet the firms’needs, ” he noted.

According to STIHL East Africa product development officer Daniel Mandellah, among the accessories to be manufactured locally are agricultural machinery attachments and spares, dealer shop systems, bolt and nuts for various machines, water pump accessories, landscaping and gardening tools attachments, chainsaw attachments, and high-pressure cleaner accessories.

“Customers today are looking for life-time support and services – and when it comes to the latter, accessories supply plays a crucial role. With local supply, we will never have to worry about spare parts,” he explained.

Despite its potential to transform the economy, Kenya’s manufacturing industry’s contribution to GDP has been declining, from 9.3 percent in 2016 to 7.2 percent in 2021, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS, 2022).

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