Allied Steelrode and Peninsula Drums – ‘drumming up’ success with common values of quality, reliability and customer service

“The synergy between Allied Steelrode as our long-term steel supplier and our company has been exceptional,” observes Chocky Moodley, Sales and Production Director of Peninsula Drums, South Africa’s leading steel storage drum manufacturer and reconditioner, and also the first black-owned drum manufacturer in the industry.

The two companies’ commonalities – and a very similar approach to doing business – have contributed to the development of a remarkable and truly collaborative relationship over the years.

Allied Steelrode Executive Director Warne Rippon completely concurs: “Our management and customer service ethos is very complementary. In addition, we both started in the early 1990s; and since then, we have both employed new technology innovatively in order to grow and serve our customers’ best interests.”

Moodley and his brother Subbiah founded the company Peninsula Drums 27 years ago in 1992. However, the company did not limit its business to the Cape Peninsula, but steadily expanded.

Today, the company has produced new or reconditioned drums for hundreds of customers locally – and throughout Africa – and are keen to explore the export market even further afield.

At the beginning, the two brothers comprised the total staff complement. However, today the company employs some 80 people working out of a 5,000 m² facility in Philippi near Cape Town. Although Moodley is the Sales and Production Director, and his brother is Finance, Administration and Quality Control Director, he explains that no particular importance is attached to official titles or formal hierarchy within the business.

The company is therefore characterised by a trim and efficient operational and management structure – a feature which is shared by Allied Steelrode.

“Part of our success is that we are a very lean operation, with an innovative and ‘hands-on’ approach which also sees us doing everything internally, and keeping costs down as far as possible,” Moodley comments.

Today, Peninsula Drums is the leading drum supplier in South Africa. While the company manufactures conventional cylindrical drums, a comparatively recent innovation has been the introduction of a range of conical drums. The advantage of conical drums is that when they are packed in a container the space wasted between the drums is far less than it is with cylindrical drums, he explains. The conical drum range is approved by the US-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the cylindrical range is South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) certified.

“In fact, our conical drum range has proven to be an export flagship for us,” he continues, adding that he is also very proud of his galvanised drum range.

The company manufactures 200/210 litre conical, galvanised, tight-head, and open top drums; as well as intermediate bulk containers and accessories. Apart from manufacturing drums in steel, the Cape Town-based company also re-conditions used drums.

Peninsula Drum’s customers come from a variety of industries which include the major fruit concentrate, fruit juice, fruit pulp, edible oil and wine industries; as well as the petrochemical and paint industries in South Africa.

As a founding member of the South African Industrial Container Reconditioners Association, the company has embraced the call for responsible environmental management in the industrial container arena with the tagline ‘Recycle for a Better Future’. Moodley is also Vice Chairman of the South African Drum Association.

Based on research into industry trends and customer requirements, the Moodley brothers have positioned the company to be a ‘one-stop’ drum supplier. Currently the company exports conical drums to 9 countries in the rest of Africa.

Peninsula Drums first became a customer of Warne Rippon’s original steel supply business Steelrode over 15 years ago, and in 2012 the two companies took their relationship to another level, with a joint investment in the new conical drum manufacturing line.

“When Peninsula Drums wanted to start producing their conical drum range – a key strategic move for the company – we partnered with them, investing in the required tooling from Belgium, and in the setting up of this particular production line,” says Rippon.

For his part, Moodley commends Allied Steelrode for their customer service excellence over the past 15 years – always going the extra mile – and for their willingness to invest and become involved in the expansion of his company.

“Warne is a great people’s person and a very good listener! I have also found Allied Steelrode to be a very understanding and reliable supplier of quality steel, which is critically important to us – because we are a supplier in turn to many local industries including food and beverage, petrochemical, agricultural and many more,” he elaborates.

Allied Steelrode supplies cold-rolled steel for the drum bodies, as well as cold-rolled and galvanised steel for the lids and bases, which are cut and pressed at its Alrode facility in Johannesburg.

“Despite the fact that they are situated at some distance from us in Johannesburg, we have never regarded this an logistical inconvenience, far preferring to know we are sourcing our steel from such dedicated and reliable supplier,” Moodley comments.

“I have found that Warne and his team have a very good strategic understanding of Peninsula Drums’ business, and they also have excellent technical knowledge,” he continues.

Commenting on the relationship and growth of the two companies, Rippon adds: “We place immense value on our long-term customers such as Peninsula Drums, as they have been extremely loyal – even through the toughest of times like the past two years, when the steel sector has been under so much pressure.

Our successful collaboration has really stood the test of time, and we truly appreciate their support and look forward to our successful collaboration in the years to come – marching to the beat of the same drum,” he concludes.