ISUZU Trucks has its roots in Japan and dates back to the early 1900s. The company has grown to have a global footprint of over 26,000 employees. The Kempston Road plant opened in 1929 and currently has an output 20 units per day, which translates to a whopping 4,500 vehicles per annum.
The Eastern Cape is the home of Isuzu Trucks and is the ideal location for the assembly plant as their business focus includes the South African Development Community (SADC) region, specifically the Sub-Saharan regions of Africa. “With our current plant location we have access to a port, which makes transporting vehicles to the regions which we view as key growth nodes much easier,” says Craig Uren, Isuzu Truck South Africa Chief Operations Officer (COO.)
“Our plant has undergone some radical changes in line with our global leadership philosophies, which are intrinsic to not only our brand but our heritage, too. One philosophy that has been used successfully in the plant in establishing optimal productivity is the use of Kaizen principles, which have increased the capacity of our workforce,” adds Uren. “The Truck plant has undergone further changes since 2013 and Isuzu Trucks South Africa has taken responsibility for the Truck assembly operation at Kempston Road,” Uren continues.
What’s more astounding about this plant is that while productivity has been optimised, the labour force has not been affected and no loss of employment has occurred. “What we have managed to achieve at the plant is decrease wasted time by increasing optimal working conditions, which benefits our employees,’’ adds Uren. The plant currently employs 110 people, and with outputs increasing, this number is set to expand in the future.
Our presence additionally enhances the local economy by employing people from the Eastern Cape; this trickle down economic effect supplements the local economy by creating more business and job opportunities in the Eastern Cape Region.
“As a business, Isuzu Truck contributes to the downstream activities within the economy as well as the local economy, which forms a large base of our workforce at the plant. This means that although Isuzu Trucks may be in the vehicle industry, we contribute greatly to society, i.e. the main mode of transport in South Africa is road freight, and by ensuring that companies that purchase our vehicles are sustainable we ensure that people are employed throughout the supply chain, ranging from drivers to merchandisers, store controllers, distributors, etc.,” says Uren.
The 44,000m² Kempston Road plant adheres to ISO standards ISO9001 and ISO14000; it assembles the N, F and FX series trucks and boasts an impressive safety record.