13/2013 – Sustainable business is achieved with integrity

Ever since it’s founding in 1979, the Terraforce management team has been driven by one primary concern, namely to build a solid, long-lasting company that could survive without exploiting resources or trampling on the interests of others.

In an effort to inform professionals and the general public about the benefits and many uses of our retaining wall, and erosion control products, Terraforce is committed to improving the way we deliver product guidelines and design advice.

Pursuing a sustainable business model – with information.In May 2012 we launched our new site:  “Considerable thought has gone into our Web presence and we are more than pleased with the launch of the new design,” says Karin Johns, Marketing Manager for Terraforce. “This site provides our clients and prospective clients a solid platform where they can quickly and easily find important information on our precast modular concrete blocks, including a comprehensive Q&A section, a PDF downloads section for technical manuals, newsletters, bill of quantity, recommended specifications and detailed submission sheets and easy subscription to a monthly newsletter.”

The next step to upgrade and modernise our design software, Maxiforce, has been initiated. This will help engineers and other relevant professionals work out designs that are safe, relevant and can be further endorsed by Fred Laker of Terrasafe. We are confident that this will help the public and industry become more familiar with the Terraforce retaining system and to ensure that clients understand the features and limits of retaining wall design, preventing wall failures and unrealistic expectations.

We are making the accessibility and ease of designing a retaining wall even easier by switching the current design software, Maxiforce 2000, to a web-based SaaS application. This allows end users access to material, block and design selections previously inaccessible, using a simple, wizard-based approach to generate and produce designs and plans that are then available for download by the user. There is no required software installation, download, update or device dependency – updates are automated and on the server, the system is accessible across devices – from Windows to Apples to iPads – and the system is available and accessible from any location by logging into your profile online.

On the next level, namely when it comes to purchasing the selected products, we strive to offer our clients the best possible quality. Based on pertinent tests, conducted in local and overseas laboratories, our standard specification complies with SANS 508: 2008 / ASTM Standard for Segmental Retaining walls / ICBO Evaluation Report ER 5448. Terraforce licensees in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are equipped with testing facilities to ensure that the prescribed standards are met.  Experienced Terraforce- recommended installers are ready in most major centers to deliver professionally finished projects.

After pursuing a sustainable business model for over 30 years, together with our licensee- partners in various locations, we are satisfied with the outcome. In spite of a five year long global recession, we have maintained a steady pace of growth and of creating value.  This was achieved, partially by making available a multitude of information for the benefit of our customers. Although it had been suggested to us that this strategy would encourage imitators and copycats, the free-riders of this world, we also considered the fact that the emergence of the internet information highway would encourage them anyway.

And indeed, to a certain extent they have emerged. Not only among the usual suspects, the opportunist backyard operators, but surprisingly a “leading corporate citizen” can be found in the line-up. These “reverse engineers” are troublesome to some extent, especially when they make ambiguous claims that their actions are “for the benefit of the community at large” and that their actions “promote competition.”

In reality, their actions have but one effect, namely to stifle innovation, quality and commitment. This effect is compounded when the company’s concerned are dominating a market sector and have been found to be guilty of corrupt business practices. Their actions trample on prevailing norms of ethical behaviour. Fortunately, the reverse engineers mostly come and go, often leaving behind a number of disappointed customers and, sadly, another dent in the reputation of the industry generally.

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