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Company Reports - Drake & Gorham  

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Drake & Gorham

Drake & Gorham leads the way for Zambia

Matthew Staff

For over 50 years the company has been a constant source of satisfaction to customers, which has led to it becoming one of the most recognised businesses on the continent
Drake & Gorham leads the way for Zambia

 

As an international leader in air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration, the Lusaka based company has not only proven itself as a sustainable, efficient and progressive company on its own continent, but has extended its reach globally.

Chief Executive, Arne Lüring and his son and Managing Director, Mark Lüring are determined to maintain their dominance and develop further.

“We are the major player in our sector at the moment and we want to retain that. It’s easy to climb the ladder, but it is also difficult to stay at the top, and we want to do that.”

History

Since the company’s inception in 1958, Drake & Gorham as part of the Drake & Skull International Group in Zambia, the business has gone from strength to strength. Following the management buyout 18 years ago though, the progression has been staggering.

The change in focus from multi services (M & E) provider to specialised air-conditioning, refrigeration & ventilation services, and contractors with retail & wholesale outlets for top brands of equipment & components, proved to be a strategic hammer-blow to the competition, and it has never looked back.

People Management

To maintain its position at the top of the industry, Drake & Gorham has invested vast amounts of time in the quality of its staff and the development of employees.

“We emphasise a lot on training our staff in accordance with the latest technologies,” Arne explains.

“We send our staff to South Africa for annual training and we also have trainers coming into Zambia to train all our technical staff.”

For many new employees, this process can begin straight after education.

“When we get young people coming in, out of the colleges, we take them and give them the required practical training along with our own internal theoretical training.” 

By the time they leave Drake & Gorham, if indeed they would want to; an individual will have gained the skills to be guaranteed a job in any related technical occupation, which the Lüringsbelieve is not just beneficial to the trade, but is “a contribution we make to the whole country”.

Technology

More than most, Drake & Gorham has boosted the reputation and advancement of the industry within Africa as a whole.

“From the technical aspect we try to move away from this prejudice that Africa was always behind the times,” Mark Lüring explains.

 “We are on par with all technologies in our line of work which are working in Europe or the United States or anywhere in the world, and even have launches of products simultaneously with the western world.”

A major goal of the company is to keep in line with the times, and its environmental philosophies embrace that ethos.

“We try to introduce most energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies available,” Arne stated.  “Just because we are in Africa or third world or the developing world, we don’t have to go back to old technologies.”

Similarly, its work with electronics experts Samsung has grabbed the attention of its competitors and cemented itself as a big money making corporation. Its combined efforts in developing the Samsung Triple Protection technology is a system that is reverberating globally, and the original spark came from inside Zambia.

“If you go to India, or to any emerging countries or developing countries, the power supply is, at times, very erratic and that can be very harmful to these machines. Samsung with our initial assistance developed the Triple Protection Technology to protect equipment and components against erratic power supplies.”

Current Operations and Future Growth

Drake & Gorham are continuously investing in their development and have recently acquired an additional warehouse, able to store more than 2,000 air conditioning units at any given time – “a feat which is unique in Zambia”.

Large, clean & secure storage space is required as a direct result of its comprehensive supply chain, as its impressive portfolio has expanded to national prominence.

“We supply basically all the major corporations in Zambia,” Arne explains.  “Our policy here is that no client is too small for us, and everyone knows Drake and Gorham are 100 percent reliable.”

The range of customers covers all of Zambia’s industries, including Governmental & Major financial institutions, telecommunication providers, major hotels, and many diplomatic Missions. Whether it’s Capital Fisheries, Airtel, MTN or The German Embassy, Drake & Gorham aim to provide the same first-class customer service to its many customers country wide.

Its influence reflects a general positive trend in Zambian businesses currently, as Arne describes.

“The Zambian market is becoming very technology and quality conscientious due to information now easily available via the internet. Everyone now knows what the latest technology is, and Zambia also wants to have that as well.”

Looking to the future, Drake & Gorham can only expect to develop its thriving business further, and Arne says a venture into new appliances is yet another exciting prospect in the story of this company.

“We are the number one and we want to stay the number one, but with an even bigger market share in the future as well.”

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