Bearings: Stimulating Economic Progress!
Among numerous inventions by Leonardo da Vinci about 500 years ago, a ball bearing was an epochmaking discovery. Invention of ball bearings proved that high speed rotation could be smooth and easy.
Everything that rotates in our industrial world rotates on bearings! Today, bearings are used in any complicated device intended for energy, motion and velocity. Belonex is one of the major suppliers of these «strategic» products to the CIS countries. In our country, Belonex is represented by Belonex Bearings Trading LLP. We asked Mr. Ikram Raimbekov, managing director of Belonex Group in Kazakhstan to tell us about the intricacies of the Kazakhstani bearings market, and how Belonex has succeeded in dominating the market.
The company was established in December 2002 in the city of Temirtau (Karaganda Oblast). Belonex’s core business is to satisfy the growing demands of domestic enterprises for bearings from Russia and abroad. Bearings from the Samara and Minsk Bearings Plants (SPZ and MPZ respectively) are of greatest demand in the Kazakhstani market. These plants are the largest manufacturers of bearings in the CIS countries. As such, the most important goal for Belonex was obtaining the right to be an official representative of these plants in Kazakhstan. The first step was taken in January 2004, when the company entered into the SPZ Group (the group of Samara Bearings Plants), a non-commercial partnership, and was granted the sole right to sell the SPZ Group’s products in Kazakhstan.
The Group of Samara Bearings Plants is one of the largest Russian ball bearings manufacturing corporations. It includes two bearings plants (SPZ OJSC and SPZ-4 CJSC), machinery repair enterprises (KRS CJSC and Stankoremont LLP), and a commercial bank (Promavtobank KB OJSC). Today, SPZ Group’s products are supplied to over thirty countries in Europe, the US, Asia, and Africa.
In March of the previous year, Belonex started supplying the products of MPZ, and in February 2005, the company was qualified as the sole official representative of MPZ in Kazakhstan. In addition, Belonex has begun cooperating with the European Bearings Corporation OJSC and the Vologda Bearings Corporation CJSC. Thus, the company has succeeded in establishing close partnership relations with major manufacturers. The results were almost immediate: in 2004 alone, the number of the company’s major permanent customers grew from nine to seventeen. To date, Belonex cooperates with over twenty-five Kazakhstani companies and supplies 22% of all bearings delivered to Kazakhstan. Thus, the company has become the leader in this market. Belonex is a reliable partner for large industrial enterprises, such as Mittal Steel Temirtau, SSGPO, Bogatyr Access Komir, AES-Ekibastuz, AZTM, the Kazakhmys Corporation, ShubarkolKomir, and others.
The company has a developed infrastructure and highly qualified personnel. SPZ Group’s and MPZ’s bearings are always available in stock at the Belonex warehouse. This allows for orders by new large industrial customers to be fulfilled in due manner. According to Mr. Raimbekov, Belonex does not require prepayment, and furnishes manufacturers’ quality warranties. All of the above, along with flexible pricing, makes Belonex a leading competitive supplier of bearings in the Kazakhstani market. In addition, if requested by a customer, the company may place an order for off-gauge bearings directly with a manufacturer.
Belonex is active in cooperating with customers on issues of bearings operation, maintenance and performance evaluation. A service team formed for this purpose is regularly trained at the manufacturers’ facilities. The acquired skills and knowledge are successfully applied to service customers. Belonex does its best to take into account the production features of each customer. It allows for losses due to equipment downtime to be minimized, bearings performance to be improved, and customers’ competitiveness to be increased.
It should be noted that only a few suppliers act in this way. Most are accustomed to the “sold and forgotten” principle. Mr. Raimbekov also mentioned some other problems of the Kazakhstani bearings market. Those problems include the fact that some unfair suppliers wilfully reduce prices in order to get a contract and often are not able to perform; and there is a great deal of product infringement. Purchasing doubtful products, customers run a risk since poor performance and premature failure of such bearings will result in the failure of expensive equipment and, consequently, in production downtime, loss of profits, and direct damages to enterprises and their owners, who will pay twice for poor quality products.
Currently, there are a lot of bearings in the market, manufactured by semi-clandestine handicraft enterprises, but labelled as SPZ Group and MPZ products. This undermines the authority of these plants’ official representatives and endangers the safety of customers who install unreliable products in their equipment. A problem may occur and result in fatalities.
As such, Belonex does its best to make customers aware of this problem and proposes to work only with official representatives who are responsible for the products supplied.
In order to make the Kazakhstani market more open and transparent, Belonex invited SPZ Group’s and MPZ’s leaders to visit Kazakhstan during the international MiningWorld Central Asia 2005 exhibition. Thus, permanent and potential customers in Kazakhstan will have an opportunity to meet representatives of these plants and obtain all the necessary information.
Answering the question of future plans, Mr. Raimbekov mentioned that in the near future, Belonex plans to increase its share in the Kazakhstani market to 45%. The company has the potential to achieve this target. Belonex intends to open a network of regional branch offices and to improve its customer service. Along with competitive prices, flexible supply conditions, and volumes, this step will surely make cooperation with the company comfortable and beneficial for a wide circle of Kazakhstani customers. In the long-term, Belonex intends to construct a bearings plant in our country jointly with Russian plants. Successful implementation of this promising project will be favourable both for the company and Kazakhstan’s economy.
In conclusion, Mr. Raimbekov underlined that cooperation with bearings manufacturers had allowed Belonex to lay a foundation for developing and modernizing its own exclusive technologies. Presently, Belonex is actively diversifying its supplies and negotiating with domestic and foreign manufacturers of other products that will be of great demand in the Kazakhstani market.
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