Lonza celebrates a proud 24-year journey with Sabie Poles

This year commemorates the 24th anniversary for Sabie Poles and concurrently celebrates a long-standing 24-year relationship with Lonza Wood Protection. Sabie Poles have a strong heritage as a Tanalith® C treated pole supplier and, by understanding the dynamic nature of their business and wide product range over the years, Lonza has been able to support them in achieving their desired goals and dreams for their business.

“We have proudly watched them grow from humble beginnings to where they are today as a leading supplier of Tanalised® wood preservative products,” says Senior Business Manager of Lonza South Africa, JJ du Plessis.

JJ du Plessis of Lonza and Marina Daniel of Sabie Poles

JJ du Plessis, Senior Business Manager Lonza South Africa, and Marina Daniel, owner of Sabie Poles

The owner, Marina Daniel, established Sabie Poles in 1995 and poured her energy into the development of a company that has grown from a small operation of five staff members to a nationally recognised and respected player in the pole treatment industry. Reflecting on the journey, Daniel says that she wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of Lonza who was by her side in getting the business started with the commissioning of the first Tanalised® wood preservative treatment plant.

She adds that she also counts her blessings to have had her father, her husband Peter (then boyfriend) and a team of loyal hardworking employees with her every step of the way, some of whom have been with her for 22 years.

“I strongly believe Lonza got to see my impeccable work ethic while working at another treatment plant and when the plant owner sold the business, I felt it was the right time to start my own business. I approached Lonza for their help and was overwhelmed by the tremendous support they were willing to give me – something I will always be grateful for and never forget,” says Daniel.

du Plessis recalls how Lonza’s then business manager, Doug Sayce with the assistance of sales manager Dave Mullin responded to Marina’s short deadline to get her business up and running by working through the Christmas holidays to get the first Tanalith® C treatment plant commissioned.

“It was this ‘Christmas installation’ and Lonza’s commitment to doing whatever it takes to provide customer service excellence that planted the seed of a flourishing relationship that has spanned over two decades,” said du Plessis.

“Lonza has always been there to answer difficult questions from customers and to provide expert technical and marketing support. The highlight for both of us was probably when we approached them to install a second Tanalith® C treatment plant to specifically treat H2 and H3 timber. This felt like we were growing and meaning business,” elaborates Daniel.

Since then acquiring their own timber farm in 2005 was another major stepping stone in the growth of Sabie Poles. “This was a huge blessing to us because we could ensure timber security as well as timber quality in order to provide the service needed for our customers. There have also been and still, are many other huge projects that our faithful customers have been involved in over the years. We also have a very good working relationship with BUCO Hardware Buildware, whom we refer a lot of our customers to, so literally we are paying it forward – a concept which we strongly believe in,” she said.

In 1997 Sabie Poles received the SABS mark of approval on their product and in 2017 they were granted the NRCS approval as a reputable treated pole manufacturer. Sabie Poles were also the very first treatment plant to receive the SA Wood Preservers Associations environmental competence certificate in August 1997, which certifies that they are voluntarily fulfilling the SABS code practice 0255 – Reduction of Environmental and Human health hazards of Wood Preservation.

While celebrating their long history, Sabie Poles are also focused on the future. The installation of a new moulding plant means that customers can now enjoy a full one-stop service.

Daniel explains, “Because our customers have come to rely on our service and quality, they started requesting timber alternatives using Lonza’s wood preservative, Tanalith® C – such as construction timber, decking, cladding, ceiling and flooring, etc. After reaching an agreement with York Timbers that we could be their ‘out sales’ in the Sabie area for the smaller customers who didn’t want to buy huge wholesale, the installation of the moulding plant went ahead.”

“With 24 years’ experience under the belt, Sabie Poles has been a leader in opening markets for Tanalised® treated timber, especially with the introduction of other competitive products to the market over the past two decades. Through their standing as a preferred treated pole supplier in the traditional market, they have further positioned Tanalith® C wood preservative as the preferred choice for structural and agricultural treated timber,” concludes du Plessis.

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