EVA Industries (“EVA”) is a manufacturer of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (“EVA”) foam and Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (“EPDM”) rubber foam blocks for application in agriculture, automotive, building and construction, footwear, industrial, mining, and orthopaedic sectors. EVA also produces significant amount of product using Polyvinyl Chloride (“PVC”) for supply to both local and international customers. EVA is currently the largest primary manufacturer of Beach Thongs in Sub Saharan Africa and enjoys a share of the global market supplying several large customers in both the Footwear and Orthopaedic markets. In most instances EVA is the manufacturer behind the brand although EVA does not have any of its own brands.
The company was originally started in 1963 and has grown over many years to be a significant supplier of EVA, EPDM and more recently PVC related products. In the late 70’s and early 80’s EVA was part of a much larger group, Budget Footwear, which in turn was part of Pepkor Holdings and over the years has changed hands in both ownership and stewardship. The company has survived the rollercoaster that is manufacturing largely due to loyal and committed staff, some of which have served more than 25 years to the company.
EVA has also built up over the past decade significant Injection Moulding capability and now supplies its own needs as well as several customers requirements in terms of plastic injection moulding. Being a primary manufacturer hasn’t always been an easy business to operate in. The introduction of cheap Chinese imports in the early 2000’s resulted in the demise of the South African footwear industry, its factories and large amounts of job losses. EVA nearly closed because of this change in retail buying which had a direct negative impact on its customers.
EVA survived the changes in the footwear sector by servicing the non-footwear related industrial customers. These customers, although sensitive about quality and pricing, have remained loyal to EVA and now comprise a significant portion of EVA’s regular clients. Amongst these industrial customers, a company John Moffat Prolock (Pty) Ltd (“JMP”) emerged as the largest and fastest growing customer. JMP purchased blocks of foam from EVA and converted these into sheets, strips, gaskets etc. The move into the industrial market also resulted in JMP acquiring control of EVA via a purchase of the shares of the then retiring major shareholder Rudolph Geyser. JMP acquired EVA as part of its vertical integration into its supply chain which introduced capital, systems and management into EVA which enabled it to survive a very difficult time.
With the advent of government tariff implementation, as well as a concentrated “Buy South African” campaign some 6 years ago, the footwear market has once again turned which has resulted in old and new customers approaching EVA for supply of material and components. Currently EVA’s business consists of approximately 60% footwear related and 40% industrial products. The mix of business is also 80% local and 20% international in manufacturing terms. The footwear industry has also recovered somewhat due to the weakening of the Rand and Government’s support programmes such as the PIP grants have helped saved an industry that was destined for failure.
The decision to re-enter the footwear industry was taken in 2012 by the then Directors of EVA. The Directors of EVA took the decision to focus on the Beach Thong market as it didn’t conflict with any of EVA’s other customers and tooled up the factory to become the largest vertically integrated manufacturing plant in South Africa catering for this sector of the footwear market. Since 2014 EVA has been awarded status as an Edcon A Rated Golden Thread Supplier as well being approved as a Woolworths Supplier. EVA now manufactures for many global brands and currently manufactures in the region of 6 / 7 million pairs of Beach Thongs per annum.
Shareholding changed in 2015 with John Moffatt disposing of its Shares to a South African based Private Equity company, Endura Capital (Pty) Ltd, in order to concentrate on the value add side of JMP. EVA is now privately owned and managed day to day by an experienced Management Team with many years of collective knowledge. The Company operates a flat organisational structure so that decisions are made quickly and effectively.
With capacity now on hand EVA must now mitigate the seasonality of the local footwear market, and the associated working capital constraints placed on the company over a six-month period, we are now exploring various supply arrangements into Northern Hemisphere markets to spread the intensity of supply over a twelve-month period. We remain optimistic that soon Northern Hemisphere clients will be enjoying the fine products produced by EVA. In terms of Northern Hemisphere client’s EVA currently exports quality orthopaedic products to a major orthopaedic supplier based in Netherlands which supplies the European Zone.
EVA currently employs permanent staff in the region of 280 people and seasonal workers of a further 60 people. EVA remains committed to the principles of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment, continued Training and Development and Staff Promotion within the ranks.
EVA’s goal is to become South Africa’s top Manufacturer of EVA / EPDM / PVC and related products.
To achieve this goal, we at EVA aspire to achieve the following objectives:
- To be one of the preferred companies in Jacobs, Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa to work for;
- To know ourselves, our constraints are, our strengths, our weaknesses, our threats, and our opportunities;
- To focus intensely on quality with a zero tolerance for poor quality;
- To possess profound knowledge about our customers, and to know the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors;
- To continuously assess our market, and to be able and ready to adapt to changes quickly;
- To apply the principles of continuous improvement (the ability to assess how we performed yesterday, and to implement the corrective measures today);
- To pay constant attention to our product offerings to customers – are we assisting our customers through development and innovation?
- To develop and use relevant process metrics to keep us ahead of the competition – we achieve this by implementing and maintaining the internationally recognised standards of ISO 9001 (achieved in 2016), then ISO 14001 (achieved in 2017) and then finally ISO 18001 (goal for 2018);
- To balance respect and expectations from and in the supply chain;
- To, wherever possible, avoid unnecessary complexity;
- To become the supplier of choice in the markets we operate;