Chief Executive Officer of Pragma, Adriaan Scheeres, explains the Pragma services at the Absa Cape Epic: “After a rider crosses the finish line of any stage at the event, a Pragma crew member takes the bike from the rider so that the participant can go directly to the food zone for some much needed nutrition before retiring for the rest of the day.
Sipho Khumalo, a member of the Exxaro Academy team collects bikes from Absa Cape Epic riders.
“Pragma is using a barcode system and image recognition scanners for the very first time. Bikes are scanned as they enter the bike wash area as they are queued to be washed. It is carefully, yet thoroughly, washed with Motorex Bike Clean, a highly effective, solvent free and bio-degradable, gel soap. The Motorex Bike Clean leaves no greasy residue and does not affect brake pads or carbon frames. The moment it has been washed it is scanned again as it enters the bike park. Upon this scan, riders receive a sms to notify them that their bike has been washed and is available in the bike park.”
Pragma ensures that the numbers are sequential and that the bikes are parked in the correct locations, and aims to complete the entire process for each bike within two minutes. “This is an incredible accomplishment if you bear in mind that we do this with about one thousand bikes daily,” Scheeres says.
As in the past, the Pragma bike wash consist of six dedicated wash bays. After being sprayed with bio-degradable Motorex Bike Clean, the bikes are mounted on specially designed bike stands and then hosed down with high-pressure Kränzle washers. The stands and washers are all on a water retainer sheet to ensure that none of the polluted water runs onto the surrounding area. This enables the Pragma team to catch the water and pump it away to the nearest drain. As to ensure that these services are provided in an environmentally friendly fashion, environmentalists are supervising all activities.
Says Rod Dolpire, Managing Director of Kränzle South Africa: “The range of Kränzle machines available is mostly directed at the industrial market. During the last ABSA Cape Epic our smaller machines proved themselves by washing the bikes with no problem or breakdown for the duration of the race. For the second year running I am very happy to align the Kränzle brand and together with Pragma, look forward to a trouble-free Absa Cape Epic Bike-Wash.
“The Kränzle equipment is suitable to be used for a variety of tasks and is for continuous operation. Our production facility in Cape Town allows us to custom-make systems for any industry requirement. We have a complete range of hot and cold machines which are currently used in a wide spectrum of cleaning applications such as wine cellars, truck- and carwashes, food processing plants, mining, poultry farms, piggeries and agricultural operations,” says Dolpire.
Scheeres continues: “Our crew team consist of 29 members of which 19 are Pragma employees and a further ten members of the Exxaro Academy team – riders who unfortunately didn’t qualify to participate in the event this year. By being part of our crew, they not only get to experience the event from behind the scenes but also are able to support their fellow Exxaro team members who are participating. They will be included in all aspects of the service we offer.”
The Leadership Development Programme (LDP) members will also speak to the Exxaro team on leadership, career development, and more during the week. Says Scheeres: “Fifteen of the 19 Pragma crew members, all medium to high level managers in the company, will be executing the service at the Absa Cape Epic. With their experience and knowledge, they all have the ability to guide, and to some extent train the young dynamic team from Exxaro on topics such as leadership skills, career development, ‘real-life’ in the work force, etc. Other than the 15 LDP members, our COO, and MD of one of the Pragma companies are part of the crew as well. They will also be spending some time with the Exxaro members.”
Typically, a day on the event for the approximately 29 Pragma crew members and volunteers start at around 05h00 and finish at 18h30. Apart from the challenges with providing the services, the Pragma team also have to move to five different locations during the 2013 Absa Cape Epic. Other challenges include water shortages or power failures, which the Pragma engineers always manage to overcome thanks to their expertise.
Pragma first became involved with the Absa Cape Epic after its Managing Director, Gerrie Olivier, participated in the 2006 event. Scheeres seconded Olivier and soon realised that a bike wash service would benefit all the riders at the event. “We approached the Absa Cape Epic organisers with the idea, which they soon approved. Since then, Pragma has diligently provided the bike wash service over the past couple of years as a symbolic showcase of what we do best – physical asset management,” he says.
Scheeres concludes: “Our clients understand our passion and our drive to ensure that they can have peace of mind over the performance of their assets, controlled maintenance budget and contained risk. We do the same for every rider at this year’s Absa Cape Epic.”
All the costs for the Pragma services are paid for by Pragma itself, apart from the Bike Cleaning product, water and sprays, which is supplied by the Motorex, the Absa Cape Epic and Kränzle.