Well-oiled Dolphins get an inside look into the world of sponsors Willowton Group

2015-04-01 00:00

AFTER a lengthy season, the Dolphins took time out on Monday to enjoy some hospitality and a factory tour of their sponsors, the Willowton Group, in Pietermaritzburg.

The whole squad, plus coaches, marketing personnel, the stadium manager at Kingsmead and newly appointed CEO Pete de Wet, made the drive from the coast for a morning which left no doubt that the Dolphins are a well-oiled outfit.

Having sponsored the Dolphins for the past few seasons and also becoming the official Test cricket sponsors in South Africa, the Willowton Group thought it appropriate to show the players what they are all about and what goes into producing candles, soap, rice, margarine, butter and cooking oil.

Interest was already high when preparing for the tour. Everyone had to slip into a white jacket with pockets on the inside to prevent anything from falling on the production line, plus watches, heads and mouths had to be covered with the correct clothing.

Divided into two groups, the tour was an eye-opener on the magnitude of the group and what goes on behind the scenes.

Having started in 1970, the group is a leader in its field and the premises, equipment and how it all runs takes visitors into another world.

“It’s easier to play cricket,” said De Wet. “But, it’s great to get into someone else’s world and see what makes them and their business tick.”

It took about an hour-and-a-half to trek around to the different spots where the products were being manufactured, the enormous size of it all being the main talking point.

There is much that goes into manufacturing the products poured out by the group and the factory has special laboratories, testing centres, storing facilities and cold rooms to ensure a high standard is maintained and nothing is left to chance.

The machinery was incredible. Ryan McLaren in particular took a close look at much of the mechanics on the production lines.

Back in the admin block, it was autograph time for the team as many of the staff arrived with minature cricket bats and posters for the players to sign.

“It’s good to have an in-depth look at what really is behind our sponsors and I think the whole team appreciated the visit and the magnitude of the operation,” said Dolphins skipper Morné van Wyk.

Although there were no trophies this season, the Dolphins will be a slick, ready-to-roll machine when the new season comes around in September, thanks to the continued support of their well-run and organised sponsors.

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