“We want to become the leading African technology company” – Interview with Coen Bester

With such a vision, you’re destined for success. Coen Bester, Chairman of the board of directors sits down to discuss the past, the present and the future of the leading technology force, also known as the Parsec Group.

Who is Parsec and what do you understand the message to be?
Parsec is a high tech company; definitely a leader in its field in South Africa and in niche areas globally. It’s an outsourced services company which means that it’s in the business to business sector. The message aimed at clients is that we want to help them be more competitive by fully understanding their requirements and coming up with the unique solutions that would put them in such a competitive position. As for the engineering community, we very much look at ourselves to be a high tech hub and believe South Africa can compete with the best and therefore aim to attract like-minded engineers.

What is the history behind the company?
Parsec was basically formed from a combination of entrepreneurial ventures of which Petrus and Rynier were founding partners. They were amalgamated into Parsec around 2000. Initially, it existed as basically two different companies – an engineering company and a production company. The major shift in thinking and strategy was the closer merging of the two which happened about seven years ago. Hence, the vision today is that of providing a one stop solution shop, where the customer approaches us with a product idea and then one of our engineers will develop a solution and Parsec as a whole will take care of support. The idea was to convert the loose affiliation of engineering upstarts into a mature one stop solution shop, which is where it is now.

Parsec Holdings (Pty) Ltd and its subsidiaries are collectively known as the Parsec Group. Who are the subsidiaries and how do they differ from one another?
The subsidiary companies include Parsec (Pty) Ltd and Redline Telecommunications South Africa. However, Parsec remains the core of the business. The company is a service-focused business and specialises in engineering design and high tech production, while Redline is a products-focused business specifically in the field of wide band, short wall data communication. Redline’s signature product is a laser-based data communication system, therefore making Redline a first in what we envisage in many core subsidiaries which will each focus in a product niche market.

How does Parsec differentiate itself from competitors?
First of all, our unique set of skills and core expertise in areas of hardware design, firmware development and the close interface with production and production requirements. The big advantage of that combination of skills is that you don’t run into communication problems. The whole vision was that all the product design and production exists in-house so that the customer has peace of mind and it results in cost saving, therefore a cost effective advantage for the customer.

Lastly, what does the future look like for Parsec Group?
We have ambitious growth plans. Making a couple of acquisitions to enhance the portfolio of companies is a major focus and then of course growing the current customer base, especially in the mining and telecommunications markets.