Davis & Shirtliff, the main water and power tools supplier in East Africa is celebrating its 75th Anniversary, a significant milestone in its company historical past. This is a most unusual achievement for any organisation, though especially one that has the identical household shareholding and essentially the identical market focus since its founding. There are few companies anywhere with this declare and D&S is subsequently extraordinarily happy with the achievement with varied occasions being held in celebration.
The firm was founded in 1946 by ex-soldiers Eddie Davis and Dick Shirtliff after leaving the army, initially being based mostly at Westlands, in Nairobi, their neighbour being Westlands Motors that rose to prominence with the Toyota franchise.
It grew rapidly because the nation recovered after the struggle focusing on boreholes, water supplies and the coffee trade. One notable early challenge included the water provide for Karen Estates, the entire preliminary water supply infrastructure being put in by the company as nicely as for lots of other of the residential estates that had been developed at the moment.
D&S grew with the country and in the mid-1950s the base was moved to new bigger premises at the present Dundori Rd location in the industrial area. An added activity was swimming swimming pools, both residential and industrial and many have been built which are nonetheless in use today. Water Treatment was another diversification, lots of the KenGen Tana River stations having D&S designed and built tools.
In pressure gauge retired and after a interval with one other companion, Devji Shingadia, the Davis family, then represented by Eddie’s son Alec assumed management. The 70’s and 80’s noticed sluggish but regular progress as the nation grappled with various financial and political challenges, though there was a selected concentrate on building the pump business for which the corporate is so well-known, notably through representation of the Danish manufacturer Grundfos.
1993 was a major yr for each Kenya and D&S as a outcome of economic liberalisation which was the catalyst for the company’s fast progress since. It was also the year that Pedrollo pumps from Italy were first launched, now the Group’s largest provider. These two developments enabled a distribution technique to be developed as supply constraints have been eliminated and the department network was then established, initially with Kenya branches being opened in Westlands, Eldoret and Kisumu and subsidiaries in Uganda and Tanzania quickly adopted by establishing activities at the Coast although the merger with partner Butech. The pump enterprise grew massively with Pedrollo and the now well-established Solar and Power Generation activities have been then added.
Since the Millennium development has significantly accelerated, revenue rising many instances to KShs10 Billion today. Major initiatives have included a whole redevelopment of the Dundori Rd site with enlargement into adjacent plots, the opening of subsidiaries and associate firms in Rwanda, Zambia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and DRC, considerable development of the department network, introduction of the successful Dayliff range of own-brand products and a huge growth of the product range with Solar being especially successful as the company developed its focus on renewable vitality. More lately a significant improvement has been establishment of an enormous 10,000m2 Distribution Centre at Tatu City that provides the resource for increased stockholding and has reworked distribution efficiency all through the region, this facility being completed in 2020. Staffing has also grown correspondingly, the Group now employing over one thousand dedicated workers operating from over 70 locations.
It is often stated that success is transitory and generally unsustainable, although D&S has managed to maintain unbroken growth for an exceptional time period. This has been achieved by industrial focus, manageable ambition, continuous physical and organisational funding and, importantly, dwelling the values established by the founders of Quality, Integrity and ‘Altiora Peto’, which interprets to embracing steady change. D&S is now a widely recognised company in the region and is pleased with the contribution it has made, summarised by its slogan ‘Improving Lives’ which is demonstrated both by the essential nature of its actions and likewise by an active programme of community help that focuses on offering water to underprivileged communities, many hundreds of people having benefited.
Of course, the 75-year milestone is just a moment in a continuous journey and the Group continues to grow with numerous ongoing initiatives and great plans for the future. Ably led by CEO David Gatende and supported by devoted and dedicated executives and employees driving this progress, the corporate is fortunate that the third era of Davis’s, Edward and Henry, have joined the enterprise so continuity is assured. The Group continues to broaden in product and markets with a specific focus on digital business and looks ahead to keep serving the region with essential products that certainly Improve Lives and in addition to show that an indigenous African company can compete internationally and be a world-class organisation.