Manufacturing leaders for over four decades

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. That is the philosophy behind Scientific Engineering, South Africa’s leading manufacturer of catering equipment, specialised laboratory equipment and niche appliances. It has carried the company to success for over 44 years as an international distributor of quality and reliable products.

The Managing Director of Scientific Engineering is Bernard Parschau, a passionate man who is carrying on the company started by his late father. This family foundation is infused in the culture of the overall company, where an open door policy and a lateral structure ensures that everyone is an equally valued and productive member of a team that shares a commitment to quality.

It is evident in his voice that Parschau sincerely believes the real asset to Scientific Engineering “are the people”.  Given the physical assets of the company—over 600 products—that is a significant claim. “The whole team are a very proactive dynamic team of people who are very passionate. We enjoy what we do and I think those are the values we stand for, which is being passionate people who are enjoying what we are doing.”

Scientific Engineering prides themselves on manufacturing niche appliances for the laboratory industry and, subsequently, the catering and butchering industries.  The diversity and breadth of its product line is the result of a willingness to be flexible and responsive to the market place. In its founding year, 1966, there was not a big local appliance manufacturing industry, and Scientific Engineering was a pioneer in the field.

The 1990s recession was the impetus for Scientific Engineering to branch out. In 1993, the catering distribution company Business and Catering Equipment (BCE) approached the Scientific Engineering team with a proposal to develop a range of equipment for the catering industry branded Anvil to be distributed exclusively by BCE. “We developed our range of niche catering equipment into a wide range of products,” adds Parschau.

Diversification has lead the company into having separate divisions for each of the laboratory, catering and butchery lines, the latter which includes specialised mincers, bone saws and smoking  and cooker cabinets for high-end fish, meat and poultry deli shops. Parschau once again gives his team credit for the success in the divisions. “We have really divided the manufacturing of these three different groupings of appliances. We have specialists for each group who are top engineers, who are very good at accessing applications that customers require,” he says.

Distinguishing products

Scientific Engineering aims to make products that will be incorporated into the daily routine of its customers, something that will enhance their work, not simply facilitate it. “The appliance is a means to an end. We really look at the client’s or market application and make sure our product does distinguish itself as being a cost effective, reliable and quality solution,” says Parschau.
“The success of our business over 44 years has been the result of our ability to adapt to market conditions, strive to find new products and markets and continually develop our staff here,” continues Parschau. “With this, we can tackle any innovation.”

There have been changes in manufacturing, notably the outsourcing of manufacturing to countries that can produce large quantities for low cost. Scientific Engineering counters this by continuing to produce products of a quality that cannot be matched by mass production, where quantity supersedes quality.

“If one looks at the mass markets where one manufactures a flat top griddle or fryer, for example, there are many products that compete. The way we distinguish ourselves is that we offer the customer a product that carries various approvals for the U.S. and European markets, and make sure our products are constructed in such a way that they offer the most performance for its size.” No corners are cut, and ultimately the customer will end up saving money by not having to replace a machine after a few years of use.

Workability is also always at the forefront of the Scientific Engineering product. The team are continually on the forefront of performance and user ergonomics. Parschau is proud that Scientific Engineering’s  products have very modern modular styling. The company makes sure they are the most practical and reliable, a philosophy that will captain the company into the next four decades.

The goal of continued refinement and development of the product range is paramount. Through distribution partnerships, both locally and internationally, Scientific Engineering has grown to be an example of doing business the right way, as it continues to grow and lead the South African manufacturing industry.