Dolphin Bay is a chemicals company specialising in the manufacture of wood preservatives. We are a major market player in the African continent, where our products and services are supplied to reputable customers in the agriculture, electrical, building and telecommunications industries.
We operate two manufacturing facilities, with supporting offices across South Africa. Our company has built its success on being highly service oriented and has overseen a massive shift within the timber preservation industry across Africa, to promote the quality and sustainability of treated timber.
Our company has grown over the past 22 years, with operations expanding across the African continent and the Atlantic. Our experience ranges from industrial chemistry to engineering, research, wood science and logistics.
We have cultivated a high-functioning team focused on developing services that consider the unique environment in which each of our customers operate.
This has assured our position as a leading company within the industry.
The Dolphin Bay story
It was in the early days that our character and identity was forged, as we learnt that true value lies in consistent and sustainable performance.
We wanted to build a company that would be different, one that would break the traditional corporate mould in favour of something more creative, satisfying and even more productive.
It would be a company with a new mind and heart, one that is people-oriented and service-driven, with sustainability at the heart of all our decisions.
The motivation was not only “do the right thing”, but also what would work best – and we believed that the right thing would work best. Growth would be the test. We want to see consistent, even phenomenal, growth over the years.
Looking back, we are happy to see that our instincts were correct. We have built our company through developing a quality team, with all our actions rooted in the principle of integrity. Persisting over many years, we have become the leading supplier of wood preservatives on the African continent.
Our customers experience our company culture in the way we work and structure our agreements. The team experiences it in the ways we talk to each other and work together, which include a lack of bureaucracy and a strong sense of commitment and responsibility from each person. Dolphin Bay prides itself on effortless flow of communication between our members and those we are in contact with.
Our team members, all experts in their fields, have the conviction that they can make an important contribution to the company and to the market in both what they do and how they do it. We are a company with influence, which we are using to effect positive change in all that we do.
This has led us to adopt the slogan,
“Knowing we can make a difference”.
Developing the Quality Pledge
In our efforts to help ensure the sustainability of our industry in Africa, Dolphin Bay has developed a Quality Pledge that members of the wood treatment industry can work through to commit to excellence.
This move follows months of deliberation about how we can best help to ensure the strong reputation of our industry and ensure its long-term sustainability in Africa.
“The services we offer are as important to us, and to the industry, as our wood preservative products,” says Dolphin Bay MD Bertus Coetzee. “The Quality Pledge distils all the technical and operational knowledge we have gained over the years in offering these services, in our effort to help our clients produce top-quality treated timber as efficiently as possible.”
“The pledge is a helping hand to the many treaters who are committed to raising the bar in Africa. It also allows those many treaters who are committed to quality to be noticed.”
The introduction of the pledge follows growing concern within the industry about quality, as some poles have been failing to meet expectations.
Buyers are often tempted to choose a supplier based on price alone, and they compromise on quality in the process. “Now those who produce quality poles for a good price, can show the industry that it is possible,” says Bertus.
There are six main principles to the Quality Pledge, including compliance with the law and quality standards, ensuring that staff are adequately trained, and ensuring that treatment operations safeguard the environment. Dolphin Bay can partner with wood treatment companies to enable them fulfil the majority of these principles.
We have set up a Quality Pledge website, www.qualitypledge.co.za, which provides easy access to all the information clients may require about the programme.
“Thank you to each one of our customers for your commitment to quality, which gave us the encouragement to draw up this pledge,” says Bertus.
“Ultimately, we are inviting the industry to embark on a journey together, to ensure that our industry thrives.”
Maximising our clients’ output
Plant optimisation is one of the technical and engineering services that Dolphin Bay offers as part of a holistic suite to help boost our customers’ businesses.
Rising numbers of timber treatment companies are investigating how to ensure maximum production from their existing plants, before committing to the much larger financial outlay of a new plant or even a plant extension.
Dolphin Bay can undertake a plant optimisation study and, depending on the results, help our clients to optimise the treatment process flow, and/or re-engineer those aspects of the plant that need improvement. The result will be maximum production and thus maximum turnover for the company.
“Plant optimisation studies, and technical improvements that follow, are an important part of our technical service offering to our customers, in our effort to do all we can to ensure their long-term success,” says Bertus.
“Our sales representatives are finding that many treatment plants are designed without input from a treatment chemicals expert and, as a result, are not engineered for optimal production. We visit customers across the African continent, and recently assisted with a number of plant upgrades. The results were extremely successful. In the most recent example, a customer was achieving only two treatment cycles daily before the improvements and is now achieving four – a 100% increase in production levels.”
Our technical experts have found that nine plants out of ten that are designed without input from a treatment chemicals expert, will experience problems. “This is a staggering proportion, making it a priority for us to assist our customers,” says Bertus.
The typical improvements that Dolphin Bay has introduced include a new process flow for the plant, bigger pipes, the addition of extra tanks, and new pumps.
To avoid the trouble and costs of these upgrades, and the inevitable loss of production time, Dolphin Bay recommends that customers obtain advice from one of our timber treatment experts before opting to buy a plant.
“It is crucial to get things right before you place the order, so that you know exactly what you will get, and how it will perform,” says Bertus. “We are able to help our clients to achieve the best possible plant design. And of course, if they have bought a plant that is not performing as well as it should, they can contact us so we can help them find a solution.”
Dolphin Bay has developed and introduced digital tools that are helping the industry in Africa to treat wood with an unprecedented level of accuracy.
These tools, Quadra and Securus, grew out of our commitment to ongoing technical innovation. They eliminate the many possibilities for human error in the timber treatment process, helping to preserve valuable wood preservative and produce treated wood that will fulfil its guarantee.
Quadra, a digital treatment book, incorporates all four of the record books used in the timber treatment in a single, fully automated platform. It performs all the required calculations for treatment operators who, in Africa, are still regarded as relatively low-skill workers, and provides on-demand reporting. Built-in warning systems notify the operator of any over- or under-treatment, optimising the treatment process.
The use of Quadra has resulted in significant improvements in the accuracy and efficiency of our customers’ treatment processes. Their enthusiastic responses to Quadra show that it is a very useful tool.
Securus is Dolphin Bay’s new take on the process of titration, which has been used by the industry for decades to calculate the solution strength of wood treatment chemicals before the treatment process begins. The device provides instant, exact readings, without the complex process needed in the past. It simply requires the operator to measure a set quantity of treatment solution, place it under the detecting probe, press a start button, and wait for the result.
Securus tracks the operator’s name, time and results, ensuring managers that quality specifications have been met. It also keeps records in PDF format, which can be filed and dated, so that the accuracy of the treatment processes can be assessed over time.
Quadra has been modified to accept the titration values that our Securus AT unit provides, linking these two digital systems.
Dolphin Bay is continually developing new digital, chemical and technical services for the benefit of our industry.
How can companies survive, and even thrive, when a country’s economy is relegated to junk status? What are the latest ‘red flags’ that South African politics, and our economy, are facing?
And what are the short- and long-term outlooks for the timber industry in particular?
These are some of the broad issues we explore in our newsletter, the Dolphin Bay Brief, to give our customers and other readers insight into the national and international contexts in which we all operate.
Most South African businesses, including those in our industry, have been profoundly affected by the economic downswing in recent years. Escalating commodity prices are a particular concern in our industry, as imported raw materials are the ingredients for wood preservative chemicals.
Understanding the forces affected our businesses helps us to mitigate negative effects in advance where possible and, more positively, to plan for future opportunities.
It is for these reasons that Dolphin Bay interviews economists, political commentators and industry experts, bringing their insights to our customers and other readers.
“Dolphin Bay is committed to adding value at every level of our customers’ businesses,” says Bertus. “This includes exploring the bigger picture, which helps us all to navigate the unpredictability of our times.”
Visit Dolphin Bay’s website on www.dolphinbay.co.za
Previous stories from the Dolphin Bay Brief can be viewed on http://dolphinbay.co.za/news. Subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of the page.
“We chose to extend our agreement with Dolphin Bay because of the quality of service the company provides, and our positive business relationship. Dolphin Bay is not just a supplier of chemicals; we work together collaboratively, in partnership, to solve the challenges our business faces.
“Dolphin Bay is forward-thinking company, addressing sustainability and the responsibility of the industry, which is very much the culture of New Forests Company, too.”
- New Forests Company Chief Financial Officer Stephen Moore.
“We decided on Dolphin Bay because of the high service levels the company offers.
“The communication is also much improved compared to the previous situation, and we see Dolphin Bay management at our plant. We are very happy with our decision.”
- Operations Manager for Southern Operations at Merensky, Phillip Tshikhudo.
“Thanks to Dolphin Bay for providing decisive input and vital guiding literature when we drew our new specifications for Tanzania. Tanesco (the Tanzania Electric Supply Company) was highly privileged to work with Dolphin Bay in the working groups.
“Dolphin Bay is involved in ensuring that treaters will apply CCA in a way that results in the best quality of penetration, distribution and retention of CCA in their poles. We expect that Dolphin Bay will play a leading role in ensuring that the specifications will be effectively implemented by its customers and prospective customers.”
- Dr Eng Mabulla, Safety Manager forthe Tanesco.