In September, as part of its 90th birthday celebrations Lasher Tools, in conjunction with Proudly SA, invited members of the media for a tour of one of its factories based in Wadeville, Johannesburg.
The tour of the Lasher factory was the perfect opportunity to experience local manufacturing at its coalface and to understand why supporting local products bolsters job creation and the South African economy.
It showed the hard work that goes into manufacturing quality hand tools from; design and engineering through to the hardening and tempering of the finest grade steel for added strength and durability.
Lasher’s senior management and representatives from Proudly SA were on hand to answer any questions about the company, its contribution to the economy, industries it operates in and future growth strategies.
The Lasher Story
For 90 years, Lasher Tools has played an important part in creating jobs and helping to build South Africa’s economy. With a history that predates even ArcelorMittal (formerly Iscor) Lasher started out as the African Shovel Company, providing tools for Johannesburg’s gold rush, and has grown into a thriving manufacturer producing a range of more than 1 000 tools for the mining, forestry, agricultural, construction, DIY and gardening sectors.
Lasher is – and always has been, a South African company that is committed to creating employment and, wherever possible, upskilling its employees and now boasts a staff compliment of over 700 people locally.
Lasher has three factories spread across the country. In Ladysmith, it manufactures cutting tools such as hacksaw blades, saws, chisels, secateurs etc. In Germiston it manufactures Iron tools such as hammers, chisels, iron bars, crowbars and in Wadeville it manufacturers spades, wheelbarrows, forks, shovels, picks and chisels.
Its tools are all of the best possible quality and are for this reason the number one copied hand tool in the world according to Albert Louw, at Lasher Tools.
Lasher have a worldwide footprint and have the global rights to a number of products manufactured on behalf of International customers – e.g. the Lasher Ecobarrow which is a non-electric conductive barrow for use on the railways and is also the world’s first recycled and recyclable wheelbarrow.
Quality vs Price
Low-priced imports have decimated the playing field with over 225 000 hand tools coming into the country last year, of which only 80 000 were usable and the balance ending up in our landfills. South Africa has become a dumping ground for cheap tools.
Local manufacturers simply can’t compete at price point but have certainly won the quality war. Users agree that buying quality is an investment in your business and avoids downtime. The Lasher manufacturing process is tried and tested and only the best raw materials are used. Premium grade steel is used which contains no impurities ensuring a safer and longer lasting product. Lasher is the only manufacturing company to have SABS approval on all their products including their trestles of which there are 2 sizes (175kg safe working load and 450kg safe working load – these can actually carry 600 and 1000kg respectively). The safe working load is calculated with the knowledge that people normally exceed the recommendation so it is important that the actual carrying load is much higher than that specified.
Lasher is passionate about the environment and recycle all their scrap metal onsite ensuring a wastage of less than 2%. Their polypropylene products are all manufactured from fully recyclable polypropylene.
Proudly South African believes that, “by choosing to buy local we buy back jobs and the future we are destined for”.
Proud employer and employees
Lasher is a human capital driven business and currently employing over 700 people. The company sources 99% of its materials locally, most of which are steel and plastic. Metal and plastic offcuts are recycled and there is minimal waste generated.
All its factories are ISO 9001 compliant and no shortcuts are taken in the manufacturing of Lasher products. Raw materials are specced to the highest quality and processes are followed according to a tried and tested recipe and has small engineering design changes where the average consumer wouldn’t notice the difference by just looking at the product. These design features are the ones that make the tools last. Other local challenges result in small design changes that only a local manufacturer can know about and implement – e.g. wheels designed to not puncture in areas where the devil thorn is a hazard.
The care and investment in the Lasher tool that the contractor or homeowner purchases is evident with returns of less than 1% being recorded by the company.
Retailers are encouraged to support and buy Local