Concept to kitchen in eight days

Good things come to those who wait. Unfortunately, too many people unnecessarily adhere to this adage when renovating or upgrading their kitchen.
Sembel-It is bringing good things to those who don’t like to wait. As a leading South African manufacturer and distributor of fitted kitchens, Sembel-It combines the luxury of customisation and the ease of factory built kitchens with its range of pre-fabricated customised kitchens to its clients. Headed by Managing Director Brian Eastes, and Trade and Export Director Colin Oberem, Sembel-It has become a leader in premium quality kitchens for consumers, agents and contractors.

Readers may very well be familiar with Sembel-It showrooms fitted with fully functioning kitchens, where they are welcomed to browse and use the products in action. “People come into our showrooms and see everything they need to see in terms of refurbishment,” explains Eastes. “We have a highly skilled, trained team of salespeople who take clients through the motions. We measure the kitchen on-site, and prepare a presentation with a computer-generated drawing. Once the presentation is done, the order is secured, processed through our factory, delivered and installed.” Clients choose from everything up to an including the kitchen sink; cabinetry, flooring, appliances, colours, hinges, door knobs, layout, and so on.

New kitchen in eight days

It is a rare enterprise that has more than one outstanding selling feature. So one might be surprised to learn of the difficulty this writer is having in weighing out the most distinguishing factor of this company. Surely it seems obvious, thus far, that the ability to provide customised, tailored kitchen options is the greatest selling point for Sembel-It. Eastes believes, however, this factor is rivalled by the company’s ambitious turnover time.

“One of the really unique selling features that we pride ourselves on is the fact that we turn [our delivery] around in seven days,” says Eastes. “That is production time from receipt of order, to delivery onsite on the seventh day, with installation commencing on the eighth day. That is one of our top selling features.” The installation process usually takes less time than it takes customers to decide on the design. Additionally, Sembel-It guarantees its products to be free from defect and of the highest standard of quality, to add value to your home and to ensure customer’s absolute satisfaction.

For the installation of a new fully fitted kitchen, Sembel-It will co-ordinate with other suppliers such as electricians, plumbers and tiling to complete the process for its clients. Professional consultants then ensure a streamlined process for the delivery, storage of the units prior to fitting, “right down to which days you may need to make alternative mealtime arrangements for the family”.

Divisions

Sembel-It kitchens come to clients in a number of different ways. The company facilitates the needs of its clients by creating three separate divisions to serve individuals, contractors, and agents abroad. “We have created a division for our South African shops where we sell to the house owner,” says Eastes. “That product is delivered to the homeowner in a flat-back form for ease of delivery in and around SA.” The product is assembled by Sembel-It fitting crews on site who assemble the cabinets, appliances and flooring.

The company does exactly the same for its contract department, which specifically supplies to developers and builders who are doing high-volume purchasing for condominiums, flats and the like. For those customers, explains Oberem, “We will do the same kind of form of delivery and installation. Both are supported by sales consultants and designers who will design the products, layout and colours with the various clients and process the order in the factory.”

The company also supplies products through agents who will do trade using the Sembel-It brand through a different company. For instance, in Ghana, there might be a company named Euro-style Kitchens, who are Sembel-It agents identified as such through signage at that particular store. “Dealers seek to be agents for Sembel-It because of our quality and ease of assembly,” says Oberem, who runs this division and the export department which supplies the product throughout Africa up to Tanzania and Kenya.

Melamine kitchens

The Sembel-It kitchen has been universally received and praised in large part to the company’s use of the highest quality melamine—a material prized for its durability and used to create a resin coating for wood and textiles. In 1992, the company revolutionized the industry by pioneering the “Wrap” Technology for kitchens and cupboard doors into Southern Africa and today is proudly recognized as the largest manufacturer and distributor or fully fitted melamine kitchens.

Sembel-It is very particular about its melamine suppliers so that customers don’t have to be. “The buyers are chosen for the quality they are able to supply, because we have to guarantee the longevity and durability of the product under the Sembel-It banner,” says Eastes.

Sembel-It has partnered the largest chip board manufacturers and up-graders in the field of panel boards in SA. “We specifically buy from them because the material they use on the melamine surface is superior to most and is a great deal more resistance to scratching scuffing and general wear. The density of the boards is such that the screw retention is sufficient,” says Eastes.

“We use melamine-based products because that surface is of a durable standard and will have longevity,” says Eastes, who goes on to explain the quality of his products stem from the fact that “those products are pressed under 200ppsi (pounds per square inch) and there are only four of those presses in SA (and hundreds doing low pressure). In a sense, that is why we are able to ship products to Dubai, for instance, where we won’t get de-lamination due to the (high storage) temperature. That is the quality of the ‘Wrap dual’ that we supply and we actually pioneered it, as a matter of interest in South Africa.”

The Sembel-It quality can be best summarised with the following fact: in the 26 years since Eastes has been at the company, Sembel-It has never replaced one of their kitchens.  “In the cases of customers considering upgrading, usually because of changes in design tastes, we keep the basic cabinetry and even the hinges—we don’t replace them because they are perfectly good after 26 years,” beams Eastes. With over 4,000 successful installations every year, Sembel-It’s results are displayed in households across southern Africa.