Kirsch Pharma HealthCare has been recognised for innovative design excellence at the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) Property Development Awards 2020. The award, the most prestigious of its kind for the South African commercial real estate industry, was given for the company’s head office and production site in Bissendorf, Wedemark in Germany.
Despite not being on South African soil, the state-of-the-art German factory were designed by local architectural firm SAOTA, headed by Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, Greg Truen, Philippe Fouche and Mark Bullivant – names synonymous with innovation and excellence in the industry.
Managing director of Kirsch Pharma’s South African subsidiary, Hermann Broschk, said the relationship between the company and SAOTA was due to the global company’s chairman having a long history of doing business in South Africa even before registering the company.
“The referral was via word of mouth from mutual neighbours in Cape Town. Our chairman spends four to five months of every year in Cape Town and has built the local subsidiary over more than 30 years. What became Kirsch Pharma South Africa was one of the first suppliers of raw materials for Black Like Me,” Broschk said.
Kirsch Pharma South Africa was established in 1993 and supplies raw materials to the pharmaceutical and food industries. “The raw materials we supply are not available domestically and over the last few decades customers have both requested an expanded basket as inputs into their manufactured consumer products and have consolidated their buying, so we have undergone significant growth,” adds Broschk.
The result was a need for the local subsidiary, which Broschk says is the second-largest in the international group, to seek its own new premises. Kirsch Pharma South Africa recently moved into Plumbago Office Park in Kempton Park, Johannesburg – a facility more than three times the size of its previous premises.
“Premises suitable for pharmaceutical storage are not easy to find, but our new warehouse has reduced our container offload turnaround time for clients from three hours to 20 minutes. The boom in our part of the industry has largely been driven by growth in consumer products centred around health maintenance and Covid-19, such as vitamin supplements, though this has been offset by a flagging flu industry because we have had no flu season,” Broschk explains.
He says Kirsch Pharma has become a reputable name in raw pharmaceutical materials – if not a recognised name among consumers of manufactured products – as a result of stringent quality and documentation processes but also a legacy of maintaining pricing stability even during periods of currency volatility.
“That kind of reliability and traceability, especially for pharmaceutical manufacturers, is crucial and partly explains our recent 30-35% annualised growth. We have nearly doubled our customers in the last six years. We also export into Southern Africa and have been very successful there, though the market is highly competitive.”
Broschk says Kirsch Pharma is taking a pragmatic approach to the current market boom. “It is clear that many other businesses are struggling currently and footfall for some of our customers has been significantly reduced. E-commerce and the vaccine rollout may revive some downstream industries, so we will need to do what we can to adapt to buying patterns”.