Pinnacle Africa: Keeping abreast of the latest technology

It is easy to lose track with the latest innovations in the ICT arena, as more and more companies turn to Africa, introducing new products as they realise the Continent’s potential. One of the best solutions for Pinnacle Africa has been the recent launch of a series of Technology Showcases across South Africa, which offered a chance to meet and greet customers.

PinnaclePinnacle Africa is a prominent distributor of advanced ICT equipment and was formed back in 1993. The company operates as an entirely owned subsidiary of the JSE listed Pinnacle Technology Holdings Ltd Group (PTH Group).

With annual sales in the region of R4.5 billion, Pinnacle Africa is the largest company in the PTH Group and works in close synergy with the other subsidiaries including AxizWorkgroup, Datanet and Infrasol.

The Midrand-headquartered company employs some 660 people located across all major centres through branches and partners in South Africa and almost the entire SADC region. Pinnacle Africa has branches in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth, Botswana and Namibia.

Those employees form the backbone of Pinnacle Africa’s success, as the company explains on its website:

Pinnacle Africa may appear as a technological driven company but fundamentally it is actually about the technology applied by skilled and enthusiastic people. People who are vigilantly selected for their knowledge, skills, ability to learn, customer focus and work ethic.

Pinnacle Africa has profoundly invested in training and development at all levels of the company. This program has continually demonstrated results in the form of lower failure rates, shorter turnaround times, fewer customer queries and lower levels of complaint.

Although the training and skills development program has positive effects on employees, it also has a direct and measurable effect on customer satisfaction. Any visitor to a Pinnacle Africa Branch can witness the excitement that is protruded from the employees. The staff usually goes beyond the line of duty to provide better customer service.

The company’s domestic customer base is extremely diverse, with its channel partners serving Central Government departments, banks, state owned enterprises, mining, manufacturing, finance and retail organisations of all sizes.

Pinnacle Africa’s circulated technologies are used by NGOs, schools, families, stores, and religious organisations.

The business is also responsible for manufacturing, with its distinctly South African Proline brand designed to withstand the harsh climate. Proline offers a range of televisions, monitors, point-of-sale products, PCs, Notebooks and other IT equipment.

The Proline range of PCs, and Notebook computers are manufactured in a contemporary ISO 9002 certified assembly line capable of producing up to 15 000 units per month. Only Tier 1 and A grade components are used and all systems are tested with the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) program to ensure accurate functioning with Microsoft products.

Pinnacle Africa has also secured the distribution rights for a diverse selection of high quality products to complement the Proline range, and to provide a one stop shop offering to the reseller base.

The company operates to the highest standards and its ISO production line is able to manufacture 15,000 PCs a month, with the logistical capacity to rapidly transport large volumes to any destination in the country.

Pinnacle Africa currently distributes a product range from 48 individual product agencies (11 of those exclusive) to a network consisting of more than 8,500 dealers.

All of the company’s technical divisions have been ISO 9001 2000 and ISO 14001 2004 certified. From the production line though to implementation, repairs, and warranty as well as the call centre, the company operates ISO approved facilities which raise the standards for quality and environmental care.

In addition, all of the key parts used during the manufacturing and repairing process, such has the high performing Proline power supplies, are SABS tested and approved.

It comes as little surprise to learn then that a recent study at the Gauteng Online Schools Project hailed Proline as having the best record in terms of the percentage of operational PCs (as opposed to being repaired or unavailable) by a substantial margin.

Commenting on the findings of the study, the company stated: “Pinnacle Africa has been working towards this goal by engineering quality into the design of the systems. An example is the power supply that will operate from 200V to 300V, catering for irregular mains supply without malfunctions. They are systems designed to operate in high temperatures and often dusty conditions of Africa.”

Of course from time to time technical help is still required and Pinnacle Africa operates an efficient call centre delivering assistance nationwide and constitutes towards dealer support and sales desks.

The company also runs a user friendly web site containing detailed product descriptions, alerts, approximate retail prices, availability and latest product releases, while Pinnacle Partners are able to access more detailed information via the company’ dealer portal.

The company’s dedication to its partners and customers has defined a hugely successful strategy which has brought with it a sense of reliability:

The service provided to our value added resellers, mass retailers and the government sector has built our reputation as a successful organisation in the forefront of innovation. Pinnacle Africa is an authorised or exclusive distributor for many leading vendors, allowing us to be the first to market the latest technology and ideas available.”

That last statement underlines precisely the need for the road shows mentioned earlier in this article.

Each event held during the winter months enabled vendors of products distributed by Pinnacle Africa, to bring their best and latest products to showcase at the events which attracted hundreds of Pinnacle Africa clients.

With a wide range of products, varying from laptops and desktop computers to server racking on show, each event gave clients the chance to interact with product managers and representatives on a one-on-one basis and involved hundreds of independent resellers and dealers.

The company’s dealers are located throughout South Africa, and encompass a wide variety of sizes and specialities, including some of the largest national and international IT companies, as well as the small niche vertical market specialists.

The world of information technology may be constantly changing, but through its structure and initiatives, Pinnacle Africa continues to enjoy enormous popularity.

In May of 2013, the company appointed Tim Humphreys-Davies, an employee for over 10 years, as its new Managing Director. Commenting on the news, Louis Fourie, CEO of Pinnacle Africa, said:

He really understands the mechanics of the industry and has over 15 years’ experience in ICT distribution to show for it.

Pinnacle is growing at a fantastic pace and this move will allow us to keep the momentum going and look forward to even more positive growth in the future.”