BAMR is a Cape Town-based company that supplies, repairs, services and calibrates instruments, especially in the coatings, corrosion, physical paint testing and allied industries. It has been the supplier and distributor of Elcometer instruments and equipment since 1947 in South Africa and the rest of Africa.
BAMR is a third-generation family business that was started on 22 May 1946 by Fred Duk, a former SADF airforce pilot. The offices were in Spin Street, Cape Town. The company also had an office in Johannesburg, which it was forced to close after the tragic death of Fred’s older son, Donald, who died in 1961. Six months later, Fred also passed away, and his youngest son Frank took over the business and continued to work at BAMR for 47 years until his retirement. The company moved to Newlands in 1973.
In 1998 Graham Duk joined BAMR and has succeeded in growing the business into what it is today. Frank retired in 2008 and Graham, who is the eldest of three sons, has been running the business ever since. “The company name is an abbreviation of what was initially British American Manufacturers Representatives,” Graham explains. “As the company expanded and increased its supplier base, the name was changed to British Allied Manufacturers Representatives, but is still known by the abbreviation BAMR.”
BAMR has placed more focus on its online presence over the last five years, and mainly uses its website and print media to reach new business. It currently employs six staff members, which has doubled over the last two years due to growth in the company, and its sales expansion into sub-Saharan and most of the rest of Africa.
“Although we get a lot of referrals from satisfied customers, our distributor network is a key component of our strategy to reach new markets and industries. BAMR is a small family business and we have mostly relied on word of mouth for sales and marketing. We don’t have FAEs or sales reps, as most of our client base and reputation as a thought leader in the industry has been built over the last 73 years of being in the business. We have a good relationship with our distributors, situated throughout South Africa, who promote our products to existing and potential clients,” Graham Duk says.
BAMR offers training on a regular basis, in partnership with the company Elcometer, which comes out from the UK for the purpose. These training courses are conducted in the main cities around the country, as well as in Namibia, Botswana and potentially Zimbabwe soon. It also does in-house training for its bigger clients, and in March this year it appointed a key accounts manager who works from Northcliff in Johannesburg.
“BAMR has steadily grown over the 73 years of being in the industry. We have gained new suppliers and let go of others. Our main supplier, Elcometer, made its first export sale in 1947 to BAMR and has always been our biggest supplier. Our product focus has always remained the same: supplying quality control instrumentation to the industry. We represent some of the market leaders in the world in southern Africa and strive to combine quality products at competitive prices, with personalised service.”
Graham Duk says Elcometer gauges are considered the best value-for-money gauges in the industry, and has recently launched equipment specifically for the abrasive blasting industry. On an interesting side-note, the first ever coating thickness gauge that was manufactured by Elcometer was used in an early James Bond movie.
“Our vision is to maintain our position as a thought leader in the industry and a leading supplier of quality coatings and corrosion measurement instrumentation and equipment in Africa. We want to be the best in what we offer,” he concludes.