|| A proud track record of ‘making the cut’
Founded more than 65 years ago in 1956, First Cut Pty Ltd is South Africa's leading manufacturer and distributor of capital equipment, cutting consumables and precision measuring tools to the metal, timber, textile, meat, DIY, paper and plastic industries.
With a head office in Johannesburg, a manufacturing facility in Cape Town and branches in Nelspruit, Durban and Port Elizabeth, we currently employ 260 people. Local entrepreneur, John Poole, founded the company – known then as Alexander and Poole - when he negotiated the distribution rights in South Africa of the Starrett range of products.
Our current Managing Director Andrew Poole joined the company in 1992, joined by his business partner and current CEO Ian McCrystal in 1995. In 1998, the business acquired a local cutting consumables manufacturer. In 2002, these two companies merged to form First Cut. Central to this deal was the negotiation of an agreement with Neill Tools UK, to manufacture their products under licence in South Africa. Since then, the consumables division has pioneered innovation in the business, and provided the foundation for First Cut's ensuing diversification and continued success.
In the ensuing years, various acquisitions followed, the most notable being Bandsawing Services in 2002, facilitating First Cut's entry into the capital equipment market. The subsequent conclusion of a deal with the Everising Machine Company provided a sound base from which to begin selling capital equipment to the structural steel, sheet metal, tube and pipe industries.
This capital equipment is predominantly comprised of integrated solutions utilising the latest CNC technologies. The First Cut Capital Equipment division has enjoyed significant growth and, today, is at the forefront of the industry in South Africa.
More than 65 years years and counting…
Today, First Cut has successfully transitioned from what was originally a family business into a thriving corporate entity with a substantial customer and supplier base in consumables and capital equipment; as well as extensive manufacturing facilities.
While First Cut may be more than 65 years old, we still maintain a vigorous and innovative approach to business, while retaining stringent ethics and strategic decision-making. We are constantly developing new cutting solutions, or sourcing state-of-the-art capital equipment from our principals, in order to meet our customer’s requirements. All our equipment is supported by factory-trained technical engineers and a robust service and maintenance protocol.
The success and sustainability of the company is also due to our many long-term customer and supplier relationships – based on First Cut’s commitment to honesty and transparency at all times.
Quality is the foundation of the business, reflected in our ISO-9001(2015) certification and compliance with the relevant SHEQ standards. As a over 65 year old South African company, First Cut is proud of our ongoing contribution to the local engineering sector. A further strength lies in our staff, most of whom have exceptionally long service with First Cut.
Corporate Structure and Ethos - The ‘triangle’ of success
Were one to graphically represent the structure and business ethos of First Cut, it would be an equilateral triangle, with cutting consumables – the historical foundation of the business - and capital equipment forming two of its three sides; while service and maintenance – crucially important in this business - support and complete the structure.
OUR People – Proudly South African manufacturing and supply of the ‘total cutting solution’
For more than 65 years, First Cut has not only been a proudly South African manufacturer and contributor to the industrial sector, but has worked hard at maintaining a standard of service which remains consistently excellent. This is despite the fluctuating market and the challenges which have arisen from growing a small saw-doctor and family-run business into a corporate company employing 240 people.
The success of First Cut is therefore not only due to the quality of products we manufacture and the partnerships we enjoy with our suppliers and customers – but to our valued First Cut people – many of whom are from different generations of the same family - and who work hard to keep the business running efficiently and meeting our customers’ requirements at all times.
Diligent adherence to our internal ethos of ‘one step better’ means that our team does not rest on its laurels, but is seeking to continuously improve in all aspects, so we can proudly say ‘we made the blade’ - and supplied the capital equipment - which is found throughout South African industry today and also in the future.
For more than 65 years, First Cut has proven itself to be a business that is founded on a superlative level of service. Honesty, transparency and open communication are some of the factors of First Cut’s business model that make it successful and keep its position at the forefront of the cutting industry secure. With 240 staff members working across several South African cities, First Cut’s management works hard to stay on the cutting edge of the industry, while ensuring that staff members operate according to their ethos of honesty, transparency and integrity at all times.
Six directors sit on the First Cut board, together covering consumables, machines and service as well as production and administration and finance. At an executive level, Managing Director Andrew Poole and Chief Executive Officer Ian McCrystal, who jointly own the company, also run it. Andrew has the executive responsibility for sales and marketing, while Ian covers finance and the operations of the business.