Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
PROTON Bakeries plan to set up a manufacturing plant in Bulawayo as part of its long term strategy for expanded investment.
The Marondera-based firm has just entered the Bulawayo market where it has opened a distribution centre and created 35 jobs.
Speaking at the opening of the centre Friday, Proton’s technical director Mr Spiros Tselentis said the company was scanning the performance of the Matabeleland market before setting up a production plant.
“We are still talking early days and we have to see how we perform in the market. Planning stage to set up the plant would start and it will be a quick process. We also have to tread cautiously and carefully as a company and monitor to see how best it will come out,” he said.
Mr Tselentis also highlighted that the company has received a very positive response from the Bulawayo market and hoped consumers will continue supporting them.
He acknowledged competition in the bread industry but said their product and services were good enough to entice the market.
“Competition is definitely there and tough. We believe very strongly that our products will speak for themselves. Our service delivery, our culture of how we work with our customers and suppliers in some areas has shown us over the years that it is the right way to go and it is our strength as a company,” he said.
“Our main idea for Bulawayo is growth at the moment. We obviously want to grow within the community and that would mean more employment at the depot level and we have started. We are talking about a staff complement of plus or minus 35 employees that are locally based in the area.”
Mr Tselentis said the process of reaching the Bulawayo market took them long because of considerations of distance to the city.
“Bulawayo is not close to us, it is a huge distance away. We feel now we have reached the level where we have the capacity, the knowledge and the technology to deliver the products to Bulawayo,” said Mr Tselentis.
Proton’s sales manager Mr Simba Bodzo urged customers to embrace their products promising good value for their money.