The Cubicle Solutions Blog

Sue’s Award Speech

Sue’s Award Speech

In 2012 our company CEO, Sue Hadcroft, won an award from the AfricaGrowth Institute. We believe she muct have really impressed them with the way our company has grown over a very short period because in 2013 the same organisation invited Sue to deliver a keynote speech at their 2013 award ceremony.

That speech went something like this:

“My name is Sue Hadcroft and I am a Director of Cubicle Manufacturing Solutions, a company that I co-own with my Husband, Alan. Our company manufactures toilet and shower cubicles, lockers and benches and  I have been asked to share with you our success story.

I would just like to say that, like many of you in the room, I absolutely know what it is like to be sat here waiting for the announcements of the winners to tonights awards.  Last year our company won Best New Business and it was an amazing feeling.  Whether you have won an award tonight or not, as finalists you are absolutely all winners.

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So, our journey, this started 4.5 very short years ago in 2009 when we set up our company and if you remember we were amidst the global economic crisis!  Not dismayed by this we truly believed we had a product that had a niche in the market place, our toilet and shower cubicles offered design flexibility and was manufactured from different types of materials that no-one else offered.  We set about showcasing our product to architects and designers up and down the country with gusto.  The first two years, I seemed to permanently be planning my next business trip, whether it was an hours drive away from the office to Durban, or on a plane to Johannesburg or Cape Town or even to Botswana or Namibia.  It was relentless.  But we knew we had to get our product out there.

 We also identified other marketing avenues such as online presence through a library system as well as our own very informative and up to date website.  We made it a point of asking from everyone who enquired about our product how they had heard about us, it was important to know what channel of marketing was most effective.

 We secured the services of a business mentor who has truly been our rock.  He has guided us through the fog and the mire of business growth and advised us on every situation we have faced.

We soon realised that the banks would only ever be fair-weather friends.  As a new company with no trading history, the only facility we were entitled to was a bank debit card, as I said we were in bad economic times.

But we stayed focussed, we managed to negotiate deposits on some projects, we even managed to buy R400,000 worth of essential machinery by giving our supplier post dated cheques.  Never once did those monthly cheques not clear – we were determined.

After the first year, our business strategy plan seemed to have more substance, certainly as far as our bank was concerned, suddenly they too could see the potential of our business.  They understood that we marketed to architects at concept stage so we were able to accurately forecast in advance where our business was coming from.  Over the following two years, this became even more accurate.  Today, I can list some projects that will come to fruition in 2015, a remarkable position to be in.

The bank could see we had a plan, they could see that in the first 9 months of trading, having turned over R1.9m, and having purchased, for cash, R400,000 worth of machinery, that we still made a profit.  This was as at February 2010 – on the back of the economic downturn.

2010 saw us definitely benefit from the World Cup – plenty of building going on and let’s face it every building needs a toilet.  Another successful year saw us turn over in excess of R5m.  2011 saw us introduce lockers and benches to our product range which has complemented our existing range and proved to be hugely successful and received well in the industry in light of the green movement and people adding showers and changing room facilities to offices for staff cycling to work.

2012 our turnover was just over R7m.

 At the end of last year, after we won the AfricaGrowth Best New Business Award, I was awarded the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business Champion Entrepreneur award, and in June at the Regional Businesswoman’s Associations Awards again won the Entrepreneur category.  Amazing success and recognition for everything we have achieved.

 Yesterday I was a finalist at the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

 All of these awards and accolades have been followed up with media coverage, locally within Pietermartizburg, throughout the province of KZN, nationally with interviews on radio and on-line magazine articles.  All as a result of the recognition for our considerable achievements and most importantly, all have been free and all have generated new business.

Our company last year turned over R8m, and is on target this financial year to turn over in excess of R12m, all of which was part of our business plan and financial strategy.  We have successfully secured specifications with multi-nationals including Engen Garages, Joshua Doore, African Bank, Virgin Active, FNB and Old Mutual as well as numerous universities including University of Pretoria, UCT, Wits, Stellenbosch, UKZN and UWC.  All of these clients generate repeat business – all of which is results of our strong marketing strategies coming to fruition.

 The journey has not always been easy, working very long days, often away from home, the financial pressures we experienced have made the road very bumpy.  These continue even now as we try to facilitate our growth, but I am happy to say it is a far better position to be in as we build our business – nearly 5 years along we know we have what it takes to succeed.

So in summary, in sharing our success with you, our formula is quite simple, not rocket science and we haven’t reinvented the wheel.  But also we absolutely recognise there has been an element of luck.  Don’t disregard this in your business – make the most of every opportunity.

 With our marketing, we researched the industry and recognised our potential.  We identified effective marketing and sales channels on line and with role players such as architects and designers.

We never lost our focus – our passion and determination remained steadfast.  We had to lead our company and our team so if we lost heart, how would that have affected them.

 We planned our business effectively with regards to it’s marketing strategy, financial strategy and growth strategy.

 Finally, no matter what we have faced we have always managed to have fun.  Our team of staff are our biggest asset and we have recognised this throughout our years in business.  So never forget to laugh with your team, smile and enjoy your journey and remember that getting the right balance between work life and home life is crucial.

 And then to make it all worthwhile, we have been able to share our success and get recognition through organisations like AfricaGrowth, to hopefully inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow who will ensure the social development and economic growth of South Africa.

Thank you all for this opportunity to share our journey and I wish you all well for your continued success.”

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Cubicle Solutions is of good Rapport

Cubicle Solutions is of good Rapport

The Rapport, a nationally distributed Afrikaans newspaper, recently did a piece on Cubicle Solutions in their Careers section.

This was very welcoming to our company since we have a lot of clients who are Afrikaans-speaking and naturally consume Afrikaans language media as well. With us being based in Pietermaritzburg, we are also surrounded by businesses owned by Afrikaans-speaking South Africans.

Helene Cilliers opens the article by quoting Sue Hadcroft in saying: “If you can interpret an income statement, you can pretty much run any business”. She goes on to talk to Sue about the company winning a regional ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD and an award for BEST NEW BUSINESS by the Africagrowth Institute.

cubicle solutions in rapport

The article points out how Sue and her husband Alan – who are both British – started the business and how the business quadrupled over the last four years and the founders paid a high price in sweat. Sue had to make lots of personal sacrifices, one of them being doing a lot of travelling despite having a young teenage daughter that needed her mother. Sue reckons that the company would not be where it is today had it not been for those sacrifices.

The company started off with a team of 4 people working from the Hadcroft home. Today they have a team of 16 employees, two installation teams and two sales agents in Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively.  They have a factory in Pietermaritzburg, a smaller factory in Cape Town and will be opening a sales office in Johannesburg shortly.

The company has contracts in or has completed contracts in Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Mozambique and Lesotho.

Some of the Cubicle Solution clientele include FNB, Virgin Active, Engen and Joshua Doore.

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What is High vs Low Pressure Laminate?

What is High vs Low Pressure Laminate?

Many people want to know what the difference between high-pressure and low-pressure laminate is, but not many has the chutzpah to actually stand up and ask.

 high vs low pressure laminate

What they really mean is: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? 

We are going to take a look at how High Pressure Laminate and Low Pressure Laminate are made and why a manufacturer might want to choose one over the other. Often times we hear of high pressure laminate compared to melamine.  However, melamine is a chemical technically used in both High Pressure Laminate and Low Pressure Laminate.  What distinguishes high from low pressure laminates is really the process by which they become laminates.

Here’s a very brief description of what melamine is.  It is an organic, white crystalline powder made by heating cyanamide – an acidic crystalline compound.  Melamine, combined with other chemicals,  becomes a plastic resin that is perfectly safe and has been in use since the 1950s without any negative effects. Impregnating layers of kraft paper with melamine resin creates the melamine laminate. A newly formed layer of laminate is combined with a decorative film layer which is then attached to a wooden substrate like fiberboard or particleboard core materials.  The resulting product is  used in furniture, counter tops, walls, floors, and a whole lot of other places.

The process used to attach the melamine-infused laminate paper to a substrate is really where the High Pressure Laminate differs from the Low Pressure Laminate.

In creating High-Pressure Laminate the layer of laminate is adhered to the substrate under pressures of 70 to 100 bars and temperatures of 280 to 320 degrees Fahrenheit using adhesives. Low-Pressure Laminate means the layer of laminate is adhered to the substrate under pressures of 20 to 30 bars at temperatures of 335 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with no adhesives. As far as the advantages of one over the other goes, most would say it is in the price.  The price of low pressure laminate is usually less expensive than high pressure laminate. The only reason for this difference in price is that  Low Pressure Laminate does not cost as much to manufacture.  Both are fire retardant and include antibacterial properties, making both an excellent  hygienic choice for food preparation areas, health facilities and medical offices.

Although both are resistant to chemicals and heat, High Pressure Laminate is slightly more durable when it comes to these hazards.  This might be something to consider if you’re selecting furniture for a lab, commercial kitchen or healthcare facility.

Cubicle Solutions use High Pressure Laminate in the manufacturing process of most of our products.


The main thing to consider when choosing High Pressure Laminate or Low Pressure Laminate  is how the manufactured final products will be used and whether the price you pay is worth the extra protection that High Pressure Laminate provides.  In the long run it is definitely worth paying the additional cost as you will also be reducing damage during daily use.

Both high pressure laminate and low pressure laminate products are excellent choices.

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Why are lockers necessary in schools?

Why are lockers necessary in schools?

In the busy and often hectic environment of a school, tertiary institute or workplace, lockers are an absolutely necessity.

Lockers are one of the few places where people can have a measure of privacy. Every one of these places should set aside a sufficient amount of lockers for the people that use their premises.

 Cubicle Solutions built lockers for BHP Billiton

But why are lockers important?

Forgetfulness

In every school and classroom – no matter where in the world you are – there is always that one learner who will forget either his textbook or his exercise book or his homework at home. Funny thing is they never forget their lunch at home. To combat this “convenient amnesia” schools should have lockers so every learner should bring every book of his to school every day. So when they change classes they can just change books. Problem solved.

Fight theft

Millions of young people fall victim to theft at school or tertiary institutions annually. If a learner is carrying something of value, it will be much safer to store it in a locker than carry it around all day. Carrying valuables like jewellery or hi-tech gadgets around all day could be risky and therefore these items would be safer if it was locked away. Understandable schools are somewhat against the use of lockers because it could also be a hiding place for illegal substances. However this can be overcome by randomly searching all lockers periodically. The benefit outweigh the risk.

Functional

During winter learners use umbrellas, raincoats, parkas and scarves. They need a place to leave these clothing items whilst they are indoors or if the day’s temperature increases slightly. Nobody wants to carry unwanted items  around day. A great solution for this is for the student to leave it in their lockers. That way they also don’t  have to worry about where they have left their belongings during  the day. A locker also is a great place to leave your lunch. Learners who bring their lunch from home don’t necessarily want to carry their lunch in their backpack all day. It might get smashed, mushy, warm or just cause your bag to smell unpleasant. A locker can save the day.

These are just a few reasons why schools should offer students lockers.

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Cubicle Solutions CEO wins at the BWA Awards

Cubicle Solutions CEO wins at the BWA Awards

According to the KZN Top Business website:

As the voice of women in business, the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWA) is the largest and most prominent association of business and professional women in the country, playing a key role in highlighting the current status of women in leadership and advocating on women’s business issues in an effort to transform the economy.

In June 2013 the Business Womens Association held their Regional Achiever Awards at Coastlands Hotel in Umhlanga. The event aims to celebrate women in business as well as their individual and collective achievements and their contributions to the many positive aspects of life and the South African economy.

BWA 2103 Awards

One of the winners are our very own Sue Hadcroft, who scooped the Entrepreneur Award on the BWA Awards night. This is one of a number of awards Sue has won for and on behalf of the company is a very short space. What makes the company and its products really stand out in the current South African economy and business landscape is the fact that all our products are environmentally friendly. We are one of a tiny fraction of  100% “green” companies in our industry and that just happens to be what sets us apart from most competitors and peers.

Sue and Alan Hadcroft at the BWA Awards

It was Sue and Alan, our co-directors who had the foresight and vision to go GREEN. Because of their visionary decision-making our entire company is now benefiting as far as our reputation and our ability to play in the major leagues go. Cubicle Solutions is now a recognised entity in the construction industry and with several partnerships in place we are sure the company will play a significant role in “greening” our industry for many more years to come.

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Sue Hadcroft a BWA Award finalist

Sue Hadcroft a BWA Award finalist

The Business Womens Association have been celebrating  inspiring and successful female entrepreneurs  by hosting the BWA Awards annually since 2001.

This year’s Regional BWA Awards were held at Coastlands Umhlanga, who is also a sponsor of the Awards. Sue Hadcroft an award finalist The 2013 instalment saw 3 Special Awards being awarded, of which the Kwazulu Natal’s Premier’s wife was the recipient of one – The Special Recognition Lifetime Award. Our own Sue Hadcroft was one of 18 Phenomenal Women who were nominated and awarded.

 Sue Hadcroft BWA award finalist

 Sue scooped the BEST NEW BUSINESS SECTOR AWARD on the night, making Cubicle Solutions a multi award winning company representing business in Kwazulu Natal.

Sue Hadcroft a finalist for KZN BWA Awards

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Cubicle Solutions certified GREEN

Cubicle Solutions certified GREEN

Pietermaritzburg-based Cubicle Solutions is rapidly becoming a preferred supplier to the burgeoning green building movement.

A report in e-BizBlitz recently identified 12 buildings nationally that were awarded the prestigious Green Star SA Certification, and it transpired that Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business member Cubicle Solutions had their product installed at four of these buildings.

The Cubicle Solutions Team certified green

Directors Sue and Alan Hadcroft with the Cubicle Solutions production team of (back, ltr) Siphiwe Ngubo, and Sandile Mabasa and front (ltr) Eunice Shabalala, Sfiso Mkhize and Lucky Ngubane

Based in North Street, Cubicle Solutions had their toilet and shower cubicles, lockers, benches and urinal screens installed in Aurecon, Century City, Cape Town, toilet cubicles in both 24 Richefond Circle, Umhlanga and soon-to-be in Villa Mall, Pretoria and their lockers in Nedbank Menlyn and Maine Falcon Building in Pretoria. They are also involved in the new Portside Development in Cape Town due for completion in 2014.

Established at the height of the global recession in 2009, Cubicle Solutions has shown that an independent company based in Pietermaritzburg can compete nationally. It boasts a unique product range and with the support of SEDA and backed by country-wide marketing strategies, it has achieved market-beating growth. The company is run by directors Sue and Alan Hadcroft – Sue is responsible for general business management, sales and marketing and Alan takes care of production, technical developments and on-site management. “We offer a full service from design and concept stage right through to handover to the client and find that our product range combined with the service offered is what keeps clients coming back and ensures our product reaches far and wide across South Africa and other African countries, including Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho,” said Sue Hadcroft.

Source: E-Biz Blitz

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Sue Hadcroft wins AfricaGrowth Award

Sue Hadcroft wins AfricaGrowth Award

PIETERMARITZBURG-BASED manufacturer of toilet and shower-cubicles, Cubicle Solutions, has won the prestigious Best New Business 2012 Award at the Africagrowth Institute’s annual 2012 Africa Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) awards. The Awards — held in Stellenbosch recently — are open to entrants across the African continent.

Sue Hadcroft  won the AfricaGrowth SMME Award in 2012

Director Sue Hadcroft said that they are extremely proud of the initial nomination and selection as a finalist, as well as the award itself. “It’s a huge achievement and accolade,” she said. To enter, they had to provide detailed information of the company’s three-year history, from audited financial statements to marketing plans. “We also detailed how our product range had increased during this time and what capital expenditure we had made to facilitate the growth,” said Hadcroft. She added that they have worked in a number of African countries, including Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique. “It is hard to put in to words just how delighted we are to have won this award. It is the culmination of nearly four years’ extremely hard work, determination and extremely long hours, often away from home, by Alan [Hadcroft] and I, but in addition we cannot thank our team enough for their commitment to our company and to us personally — we are all so proud.” Sue said the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has been instrumental in the impressive growth experienced by Cubicle Solutions. Seda initially assisted the company with brand identification, as well as a grant for setting up their website. Cubicle Solutions is currently working with Seda to impart knowledge and experience on exporting products. The company was established in 2009, and now employs 15 people. It also manufactures lockers and benches. Its products have been used at various KZN shopping malls, as well as the Durban beachfront and uShaka Marine World. President of the institute, Professor Nicholas Biekpe, stressed that the SMME sector needs all the encouragement it can get. Businesses that enter the awards are expected to be well established, in good financial shape and enjoy a reputation for quality, integrity and service. They should operate in a socially responsible manner, support their communities and create a sustainable work environment.

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Our Service Offering

Our Service Offering

CUBICLE SOLUTIONS offer a unique system for all of their products for any kind of installation service.

In fact, our Locker design is registered under the Design Legislation of South Africa as it was created specifically for use with CHPL and can be used by Cubicle Solutions only!

Cubicle Solutions Service Offering

It is our priority to not only provide you with a product, but also to work with you from design stage, offering advice and solutions to meet yours and your clients’ needs and then to continue working with you until full installation has taken place. A complete service!

Once your Contractor has been appointed, we will manufacture as per drawings provided. However, before any work commences in our factory, one of our representatives will visit the site to ensure the project is on time and to carry out a final measure.

We will then deliver to site and our team of fully trained and accredited installers will carry out the installation and ensure at the end of the project, that the installation is signed off to your complete satisfaction. Alternatively we could work with the Main Contractor’s appointed installers and one of our Installation Managers will be on site to ensure installers are fully trained on the installation system and be available for any immediate training queries. Again, at the end of the installation, our representative will ensure the installation is signed off to your complete satisfaction.

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