The Quality Series presents:

TÜV SÜD Brings a Century and a Half of Experience to the South African Market

Publicity Stunt by Karl Benz’ Wife puts the Company on the Road to Success


3 wheelKarl Benz patented his three wheeled automobile in 1886
TÜV SÜD is a German based company that brings brings together people, technology and the environment – with a long-term perspective, in a sustainable manner and adding value. The range of services they offer covers consulting, testing, certification and training. More than 17,000 employees in over 50 countries at more than 800 locations increase safety and add economic value for the customers.  They have recently entered the South African market by partnering with well established, respected firms working in the automotive, powerplant and elevator industries.   

Karl Benz starts the Auto Industry in Germany

Karl Benz was born in 1844, and founded the auto company that bears his name.  Mercedes Benz eventually grew to be an automotive powerhouse, with a reputation for quality.  His father died when he was two, and in spite of his family's poverty, he was an excellent student and managed to be admitted to the technical university in his hometown at the age of 15.  

After graduation, he worked as an engineer until he found a partner and started his own company in 1871 building gasoline engines.  He was a devoted inventor, and eventually was granted a number of important patents related to engines and, later, to chassis and other parts of the automobile.  By 1885 he had developed a practical three wheeled car with an attached gasoline engine.   It was the first vehicle in the world to be designed from the ground up as an automobile, rather than a buggy with a motor attached.

The car had a tubular steel frame, electric coil ignition, rack and pinion steering, an evaporative cooling system, and differential rear-end gears. The car went through a couple more iterations before he began selling to the public in 1888.  Over time, Karl would invent a throttle system, battery-powered ignition systems, spark plugs, gear shifters, carburetors, the water radiator, and the clutch.

Karl Benz was an engineer and inventor, but publicity apparently was not his strong point.  He lacked confidence that his invention would have mass market appeal, and for good reason.  There were no roads built for autos, gasoline could only be bought in drug stores, and the woefully underpowered car could hardly pull its own weight up a hill.  Nonetheless, Benz did have the foresight to marry one of the investors in his company back in 1872, and Berta Benz was convinced that with a bit of publicity it would sell.

So, in 1888 she set out on a 66 mile journey to her mother's house accompanied by two of her teenaged sons.  She didn't bother to tell Karl she was going, however, and the three of them set out early in the morning after pushing the car far enough away so that starting its engine wouldn't awaken its unsuspecting owner.  Since the car did not have pneumatic tyres, punctures were not a problem.  However, the trip did identify a number of challenges to be overcome.

First of all, the car did not have a fuel tank, with all of the combustible stored in the carburetor.  As a result, Berta and her boys had to buy gasoline at drugstores along the route.  Secondly, they had to push the car up hills, then realized to their horror that the brakes wore out within a few miles.  Berta solved the problem by having leather attached to the steel face of the hand brake, and thus became the inventor of brake lining.  The engine was cooled by a crude evaporative system that required the travellers to refill every few miles.  Berta also had to stop at a blacksmith's to have the chain repaired, and cleaned out a fuel line with a hatpin.  Nonetheless, the trio made it to her mother's house by dark, and returned by a more direct route with fewer incidents.

The trip generated a huge amount of publicity for the car, and they began selling.  Twenty five units were sold that year, by 1890 the Benz company was the second-largest engine factory in Germany, and by 1900 it was the largest automobile manufacturer in the world.  The company bought its engines from Daimler, with which it merged in 1926 and, because of a dispute in France regarding the use of the name Daimler, called the car Mercedes Benz after the daughter of the company's French representative.

Judging Quality for a Century and a half

When talking about quality, there are two types of companies:  those that work with a commitment to quality, and those that do not.  How to distinguish?  Actually, there is a third kind of company, the one that evaluates the other two.  TÜV SÜD’s entry In South Africa means that the local market can now take advantage of the experience of one of the world's leaders in technical services with a tradition of 150 years.  

Vehicle Inspections for Individuals, Manufacturers and Fleets

TÜV SÜD performs vehicle inspections South Africa through AVTS Roadworthy Stations in centres in the Cape Town region.  As the only chain of test stations certified in accordance with ISO 9000, AVTS is excellently established in the market and has modernised all its test stations in recent months.  TÜV SÜD expanded the services of AVTS by bringing more than a century of experience in a wide range of services related to safety and quality in automobiles.  AVTS itself has tested more than 1 million vehicles over the last 20 years.

The professionals at  TÜV SÜD are important partners in ensuring that the key qualities of safety and environmental protection are strictly honored for vehicles.  Through periodic inspections and certifications,  TÜV SÜD helps every vehicle owner and operator, from private individuals to governmental agencies, dealers and large fleet managers.   TÜV SÜD personnel stay abreast of the latest changes in technologies, driver preferences and applicable legislation so that owners and operators can worry about other things.

For manufacturers and suppliers,  TÜV SÜD brings to the table experts from the widest range of expertise in design, manufacturing, quality control and testing.  They become an integral part of the development team, allowing early identification of problems and providing efficient solutions which save clients time, money and risk exposure.

For vehicle owners and operators, inspection services are provided in every possible context in which they might be needed, such as roadworthiness testing, evaluation before transfer of ownership, appraisal, microdot application for theft recovery, and weighing.  All of the services provided by TÜV SÜD and their partner AVTS meet or exceed all governmental and industry wide best practices rules.  Additionally, TÜV SÜD leverages its world wide experience to provide training in basic vehicle components, quality management, and vehicle examination.  Consultants are available to assist other professionals with roadworthiness evaluation and best practices, including ISO certification.

Fleet Management

Managing a fleet can be a huge headache, because it requires many cross disciplinary competencies that most companies simply do not have.  A manager and a couple of mechanics dedicated to keeping the fleet in top order and managing the assets properly simply doesn't compare with the many years of experience and vast range of competencies that are available at TÜV SÜD.  

Vehicles are complicated, costly pieces of equipment and with experts managing and maintaining them the potential for savings is great.  By outsourcing this task, clients save money at every stage of the process, from acquisition through maintenance, to disposal.  In the event of an accident, TÜV SÜD can send a team of experts to evaluate damage, and generate reports for insurance. In addition to managing the vehicles themselves, TÜV SÜD also has the people who can evaluate the personnel operating them.  TÜV SÜD currently has more than 100,000 fleet vehicles under management throughout Europe.

The paperwork involved with fleet management is extensive and complex, and changes in the regulatory environment must be constantly monitored. Because of its expertise in quality management and process control, and because of its investment in cutting edge computer technology, TÜV SÜD is able to take on administrative tasks that represent cost and risk for clients, including fuel card management, lease evaluation, and reductions in emmissions and fuel consumption.  The company also takes care of compliance issues with registration, licenses and inspections.  

Repair Shops & Car Dealerships

All of the competencies listed above fit very well when TÜV SÜD provides consultancy and management services to repair shops and car dealerships. Quality management and best management practices are keys to a profitable operation, especially in businesses as competitive as car repair and sales.  TÜV SÜD performs audits and provides practical, cost effective solutions that reduce costs and boost revenue.  TÜV SÜD, as a third party inspecting entity, can also add credibility to condition reports, appraisals, and registration authentication.


A business is only as good as its people, and TÜV SÜD provides training, coaching, efficiency consulting, and health and safety inspections to ensure that the people working in the business are competent, up to date and safe.

Boiler Inspections

TÜV SÜD South Africa Pro-Tec (Pty) Ltd is the number one provider of non-destructive testing and inspection services for the power generating industry in South Africa.  Since its acquisition by TÜV SÜD, the company has been able to expand its offering for power stations and the energy industry as a whole.

TÜV SÜD brings the same commitment to best management practices, strict adherence to protocols and safety consciousness to boiler inspections as it does in the automotive field.  Technicians and engineers use the most advanced technology to conduct inspections, including videoscopes, conventional and digital radiography, ultrasound, and magnetic particle testing, as well as metallurgical evaluations.  Test protocols are designed to keep work interruption to a minimum and meet or exceed government and industry standards.

Power Plants

TÜV SÜD has brought its international experience in providing safety services for power plants to South Africa.  World class expertise in engineering, design and maintenance mean that TÜV SÜD experts can provide advice in power station and plant engineering, piping and process control engineering.  Because TÜV SÜD personnel sit on national and international standards committees, they are uniquely qualified to keep operators in compliance with all current safety and quality standards.  


With the acquisition of TÜV SÜD South Africa Real Estate Services, the company now provides industry leading independent testing and consulting services for lift systems.  As with its other South African acquisitions, TÜV SÜD is expanding services.  New areas of business include those related to energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings and industrial plants. Because of its international experience and long term involvement in the industry, TÜV SÜD allows South African installations to meet international standards, including the European Lift and Machinery Directive, ASME safety codes and EN standards.


Consulting services for lifts and elevators include Review of design drawings and circuit diagrams; Review of strength calculation and structural analysis; Qualified technical statements based on ADIASYSTEM®; Assessment of risks reports; Support with tenders and negotiations with manufacturers from design to installations; Expert witness services; Testing and product certification; and Quality assurance during construction.

A Business Dedicated to Quality



TÜV SÜD isn't just a company committed to quality in the operation of its business.  The business of TÜV SÜD literally is Quality.  TÜV SÜD Management Service performs audits and provides solid solutions to reduce risk and make operations more efficient.  Currently, TÜV SÜD audits and certifies in accordance with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, ISO 50001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO/TS 16949.  Testing laboratories are ISO 17025 accredited.

Because it deals with management systems in general, ISO 9001 certification from TÜV SÜD is applicable to any business, and TÜV SÜD professionals can be found in such sectors as automotive, rail, aerospace, mechanical engineering, information technology, banking and finance and healthcare.  The efficiencies gained benefit all of the client's stakeholders while at the same time providing tools so that the business can enjoy continuous quality improvement on its own.  It has been said that extraordinary systems allow ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and ISO 9001 is a giant step in the right direction.

The goal of all of this is simple:  make companies better through continuous quality improvement in processes, whether those processes be technical or managerial.   TÜV SÜD sells results, making businesses more efficient, more profitable and more sustainable.  For 150 years, TÜV SÜD has been doing just that in Germany and in many other countries.  With its introduction into South Africa, companies there can now enjoy the same benefits.

Active Ethics

One area where the selection committee was particularly impressed was TÜV SÜD's public commitment to active ethics.  BID believes that transparency and a zero tolerance for corruption is a key component to producing consistent quality, and the TÜV SÜD EthicsPoint portal allows staff, global customers and their suppliers the opportunity to report infringements of TÜV SÜD’s Code of Conduct or other concerns in complete confidentiality.  The system is managed by a third party provider, NAVEX Global.  

Any complaints channelled through EthicsPoint are passed directly to Global Quality Management at TÜV SÜD Product Service.  According to Ishan Palit, Global CEO of Product Service Division at TÜV SÜD, “The partnership with EthicsPoint is designed to make sure that we get independent view of all the complaints and protect the identity of the complainant .... Unethical behaviour is a violation of our Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated."

Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, TÜV SÜD has been selected  to receive the BID World Quality Commitment Award for 2015 at the convention in Paris.




BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management.  A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.


The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.

Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated.  The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.