‘Strong partnerships are the key to penetrating the technology hungry African markets’

EDK Oil in Senegal
Bever Innovations lighting at an
EDK Oil site in Dakar, Senegal.

In a recent interview with Thibaud Hacquard, Sales Director Africa for Bever Innovations he
discussed how strong partnerships are the key to penetrating the technology hungry African markets.

By Siân Davies

Thibaud has worked in Africa for over a decade, moving from his native France because of an inner desire to live and work in the continent. His first role was a manager for Tanzania Oil before joining Tokheim as an Area Sales Manager and eventually moving to Bever Innovations in 2015. Over the last 11 years Thibaud has witnessed huge changes
throughout Africa, which he knows has the potential to be “the world’s next great growth market.”

“It is important to recognise that Africa is a huge continent. The most frequent mistake made by non-African people is to think that Africa is the same everywhere, but actually, it’s very different from one country to another, namely the people, the culture and of course the cuisine. When we talk about the fuel retail industry, the same applies,” explained Thibaud.

Bever Innovation’s LED lighting products are present in over half of the 54 African nations. The robust nature of the products and the long lifespan coupled with minimal maintenance requirements make Bever’s lighting an ideal choice to handle the requirements of the African market. But without strong local partners, entry into these markets can be challenging.
Senegal in West Africa has been a particularly successful market for Bever Innovations thanks to their partnership with COSETAM TSG. “In Senegal we have a strong local partner in Cosetam, who have helped us to grow our presence. Local oil companies really understand the benefits of installing good reliable equipment with a long lifespan and minimal maintenance requirements, rather than opting for a cheaper equivalent that won’t last as long and could give them problems in the medium term, ” explained Thibaud.

COSETAM is part of TSG Group, the leading supplier of equipment and services for gas stations and oil companies in Europe and Africa. The group offers its customers a complete set of products and solutions across seven business areas: TSG Retail, TSG Wash, TSG Fleet, TSG Systems, TSG Charge, TSG Gas and TSG Technics.
TSG is active in 29 countries and in Africa has hubs in South Africa, Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal which are responsible for managing the surrounding regions.
“We are the market leader, we work with all the majors Total, Shell, Mobil as well as all the national oil companies and many independents. In the market we are well known for our skills and for the quality of our work. When companies like Bever work with us they are sure to reach the maximum of the potential customers. If you have a product and you want this product to be known by most of the actors in the sectors you can work with us,” explained Alexandre Laleye, Develoment Director West Africa for COSETAM TSG.

Energy saving is key

Bever Innovations and COSETAM have been working together since 2014 and according to Thomas Gueye, Sales Manager at COSETAM it is the reduction in energy consumption that has proven most popular amongst retailers: “We
have been able to show retailers how Bever’s LED lighting products can decrease energy consumption.
Electricity is very expensive in our countries as we have not reached a situation where we can buy electricity at a competitive price. The stability of the electricity network is also not good so there can be increases and decreases in
voltage throughout the day. Traditional lighting can’t handle this but Bever’s equipment is able to continue working.

“Bever’s equipment also lasts longer than tradtitional lighting and there is no reduction in lighting quality during the product’s lifetime.”

Thomas also highlighted Bever’s dimming technology as a hit with retailers. Whereas conventional lighting is on full power 12 hours a day, Bever’s LED lighting automatically dims to in the absence of customers. An option that can really help when there is minimal activity at the fuel station.

An appetite for technology

“The African market has a real appetite for technology,” Thibaud explained As their name would suggest, innovation is part of Bever’s DNA. The company’s ‘intelligent’ lighting solutions not only provide a quality, consistent service but go beyond that. Almost all Bever Innovations’ LED products are supplied with EOS Technology as standard.
These luminaires are connected via a secure wireless network and exchange information 24/7, without the need for a connection to the internet. Managed via the EOS Manager app, the lighting network can give retailers insights into
energy consumption and CO2 emissions, but also information about movements, daylight levels and reports from security systems.

Alexandre agreed that technology is important, but retailers want to know that it works. “People
will often look at what their competitor is doing. If they see that the station is working well and looks good they will call and ask for the same equipment. They want technology, but they want technology that works on site. If it is good they want the same,” he concluded.

EDK Senegal

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