Confidence boost for Eastern Cape business

2016-10-26 06:00

DESPITE a tough economic climate, many small to medium businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay as well as the Eastern Cape are experiencing robust growth.

This is according to leading Eastern Cape business solutions company, Smart Office Connexion (SOX) – formerly known as Canon EC – which has reported record trading figures for 2016.

The company, which has 160 staff in the Eastern and Southern Cape and a nationwide staff complement of 1 560, has outstripped previous growth figures in its 18-year history as a business-to-business supplier of office machines such as printers, copiers and PABXs, as well as software and technical support services.

In reaction to the growth and the expansion of its clients in the region – small to medium businesses from George to East London – SOX has invested R9 million in expanding its fleet of 49 vehicles, with 34 new service vehicles for its growing technical teams.

According to SOX executive Alan Wilson, the business has reported 20% growth in sales and a 15% increase in service revenue this year alone.

Earlier this year the Port Elizabeth office was awarded the 2016 PMR Africa Golden Arrow award for service excellence, while the George office earned the highest accolade, the Diamond Arrow, at the regional awards.

“Despite a fairly tumultuous year for the Rand, our business is better than ever,” said Wilson. “The very nature of our offering is to provide turnkey office solutions, and the fact that it is doing well certainly indicates that other businesses are starting up or expanding too. It is also a trend which our sales teams have picked up on.”

SOX PE general sales manager Dalen Davidson said customers were increasingly technologically savvy.

“Although their spending is more circumspect in a tough economy, they are still investing in the best possible solutions to grow their businesses,” said Davidson, adding that the company had many long-standing customers throughout the region.

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler has congratulated SOX on its robust growth.

“We are delighted that a business which started in Nelson Mandela Bay has grown its footprint, sales and revenue in what still remain challenging economic times,” said Hustler.

“We are proud of our Nelson Mandela Bay companies achieving these wonderful milestones despite the challenges experienced in our local economy.”

Established as Canon EC in Port Elizabeth in 1998, the business expanded its regional offices to East London in 2000.

Three years later, it opened its South-Western Districts branch in George and Knysna.

Today, it forms part of a national network of 45 SOX service centres, offering a full service that includes the sale and rental of office machines, consumables, data and CCTV security.

“Our rebranding and restructuring process has also allowed us to expand our business beyond the familiar Canon connection to include other international brands such as HP and Samsung,” said Wilson.

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