Rwanda : UPROFOAM – maintaining standards of mattresses in Rwanda

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UPROFOAM – maintaining standards of mattresses in Rwanda

Uprofoam is a mattress producing plant owned by the family of one of Rwanda’s business tycoons, Late Vedaste Rubangura. The factory is one of the many business enterprises run by the family investment group (UPROTUR Group) headed by Rubangura’s wife, Immaculeé Rubangura.

This factory (Uprofoam) is 100% family business and started its official operations in 2008, a few months after the death of Rubangura. The factory is located at the family owned warehouse in Gikondo the industrial area and all the production is done from within.

The Late Rubangura is one of the famous business men that Rwanda has ever had. The family investment has a big reputation for its impact in the trade, construction and manufacturing sector and even after Rubangura’s death; his legacy still carries on in Rwanda- with one of the tallest buildings and taxi stop points in Kigali city center named after him.

As an experienced business group, with a mark in the trade and manufacturing sector, Uprofoam believes in making the best quality mattresses that will outcompete with the already existing mattress factories in the same locality.

The assistant accountant Uprofoam, Felix Mfashingabo, says  that the company, has over the years, expended its security by stocking up some of its income in locally based companies where it believes its investment will benefit all its shareholders in terms of wealth accumulation , job creation and national general growth.

Mfashingabo explains that the company is geared at producing the best quality mattresses which can last longer compared to the others produced by other companies.

“There is a problem of poor mattress on the market, which may be cheap and fancy looking but not long lasting. We try to show the clients the difference between the 25 density mattress and that with 18 density level- the first one is expensive but last longer than the other one which is cheap”  he says.

Most of the student’s community in Rwanda uses mattresses from Uprofoam- because the factory has taken an initiative to design cheap and sizable mattresses which students like to use due to the comfort of transporting the mattresses from home to school at the end of every semester.

One of the students, Clarisse Mukamwezi, says that the back to school pressure can be very stressing if one have a lot of luggage and have to struggle with a big mattress along the road trip. “I choose to buy this kind of mattress because it is smaller, simpler to roll, and very durable when it comes to quality. This works out for students because of the risks of having a mattress stolen along the tiresome road trip” Mukamwezi says.

One of the mattress sellers, Claude Mutuyimana, says that during the back to school period one can visibly see the kind of mattresses carried around in the Main Taxi Park located in Nyabugogo, in Kigali. Most of these mattresses have the Uprofoam mattress label- this is why we capitalize on retailing this brand which sells big among the students

 

The factory employs over 20 people and has a capacity of producing 140 mattresses (75% of its mattresses in 25 densities) on a daily basis. However, like many other industries in Rwanda, Uprofoam also faces the problem of importing raw materials (polyol TDI, and Metylene)- which come from China and Europe.

“The prices of mattresses have shot high because of the cost of production. If raw materials were available and cheaper, we would have a capacity to produce more mattresses at a very cheap price” Mfashingabo says.

The mattress production sector is one of the most competitive businesses in the country- flooded by over five local producers and many regional importers of mattresses from Kenya and Uganda. This somehow gives opportunity to the buyers to purchase mattresses of their choice, but the temptation is that there is consumer ignorance on durability of mattresses- which results to manipulations at times.

Mfashingabo says that the market has grown due to increasing population and in order to keep in the competition, Uprofoam has opted to keep its prices affordable so as to stay in business.

“Our goal is to have all Rwandans able to afford mattresses- which are essential family commodities that can actually affect the welfare of the whole family and especially the poor people in the rural areas” he says.

The Uprotur group provides various facilities and continually upgrades buildings and equipment for maximum productivity. With a specialty in the construction material UPROTUR offers its clients different products in the coils and steel department, and can guarantee market demand satisfaction. to respond to it demand, UPROTUR has also a PVC manufacture side, lastly in the attempt to provide the best service it has also brought in a lot of modifications.

The group also provides equipments service such as: forklifts, drilling and gravel mixing machines, ground leveling machines, bull dozers, are rented to clients and consequently ensure client total satisfaction on the construction site.

Uprotur foundry factory produces metal castings from either ferrous or non-ferrous alloys. Metals are turned into parts by melting the metal into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and then removing the mold material or casting. The most common metal alloys produced are aluminum and cast iron. However, other metals, such as steel, magnesium, copper, tin, and zinc, can be processed.

“All these companies and initiatives have created jobs for Rwandan and subsequently impacted on the economy of the country. We believe that our business in Rwanda is people oriented and we want to meet the demands of all Rwandans” Mfashingabo

Apparently, Uprofoam factory is one of the many other companies that will be relocated to the new industrial area in Gasabo district. The factory administration believes that this will affect its costs of production and clients have to meet more costs of transport.

“The shifting of the factory will definitely impact on our capacity and production. Most of our clients have been accessing the products with ease, since we are located in a very strategic plot of land in the industrial area. However the changes in premises will certainly affect the clients in terms of transportation of goods- which we have been offering at a free service- now the clients will have to meet these costs once we shift” Mfashingabo states.

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About the author

Mr. Sina is the Managing Partner & Chief Editor of RwandaEye. After completing his post-graduation from the Faculty of Economics and Management, National University of Rwanda,he worked in various consulting capacities for equity and business firms in Kigali. A shrewd strategist, he is an Economic Pundit, entrepreneur and Investment Banker.

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1 Comments

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