Logistics and e-commerce: evolution through technology

21 September 2018

Logistics and e-commerce: evolution through technology

The impacts of technology are widely felt across all sectors. The advancement of technology as it pertains to the logistics sector is detailed in Broll’s recently released 2018 Logistics Report where the evolution of the logistics sector is discussed. It also highlights commercial activity around South Africa’s four main economic hubs: Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

The report clarifies the difference between the singular function of a warehouse as compared to the multiple functionality of a distribution centre (DC) and the activities involved in logistics. Holistically logistics comprises services that support the physical movement of goods, trade across and within borders including warehousing, brokerage, express delivery, terminal operations and related data and information management.

“A DC offers value-added services including the likes of cross docking, packaging, product mixing and more. DCs also store products, although generally for a shorter time period in comparison to warehouses, and emphasis is placed on the moving of goods to either wholesalers, retailers or even consumers.”

“With the integration of technology and material handling equipment, cyber security is becoming increasingly important as automation and robots are likely to become the norm,” the report notes.

The report reflects on e-commerce and technological enhancements that bring about adaptations in the sector that respond to the changing demands of consumers. This has resulted in multiple channels in the supply chain.

Following the now well founded “sharing” system around services, there are various apps available for the transportation of goods. These apps connect shippers and carriers and allow for real-time freight tracking, alerts, reports and analytics, upfront rates, quick automatic payments and more. A shipper is able to see trucks which are close by and select only the jobs it wants.

Another aspect of the evolvement is the importance of design with particular attention to green-building compliance. “Factors such as lighting, building insulation, water conservation and solar panels are increasingly sought- after for an increased green footprint, as well as potential cost-saving measures. “

Among the factors listed for consideration in the design are intended use, equipment selection, flow of facility; with one-way found to be the best option.

The report explains the complexities of logistics and its influence over tenants and investors and how they select locations. These include proximity to metropolitan areas, regulatory concerns, demographics, transport infrastructure and the total cost particularly as it relates to supply chain.

Having decided on location, other factors need to be considered. Some of these include layout and amenities; inflows and outflows of goods; the size of the facility; fire safety and security among others.

Regional focus
The report, in highlighting the important logistic nodes, describes Johannesburg as South Africa’s main economic hub contributing about 16% of the country’s GDP. The backdrop to this is the turn in economic tide to one that is knowledge-based, with a focus on technology, e-commerce and financial services.

In Durban the high activity areas are in the southern and northern industrial basins, with the area to the north of the city the most active in recent years.

Durban’s industrial land costs are the highest in the country, the report claims, and, “Developers are having to come up with creative ways of increasing yields on these buildings – for example, placing docking doors and dock levellers at 45-degree angles to the yard traffic flow to lessen required yard space and increase yields.”

In Cape Town one of the two prominent logistics areas is the R300 Corridor which includes the industrial nodes of Brackenfell, Stikland Blackheath, Kuilsriver and Bellville South. According to the report, these nodes are easily accessible off the R300, N1 and N2, making this a preferred location for logistics and distribution.

The Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is Port Elizabeth’s centre of logistics. It offers investors “world-class infrastructure, tax incentives, rebates and a duty-free zone.” Existing tenants include Famous Brands, DSV Sun Couriers, ID Logistics, Digistics, FAW and Vector Logistics.

The report expresses the view that logistics should embrace technological influences, innovate where necessary and align with requirements at the basic level, which include reliable connectivity and technology-based security.

To download the full report go to www.broll.com/publications


Supply chain professionals crucial to all retail – SAPICS

Supply chain professionals crucial to all retail – SAPICS

With businesses increasingly recognising the importance of the supply chain to the organisation, the demand for suitably qualified and skilled supply chain professionals is growing, according to Mungo Park, president of the Southern African Supply Chain Association SAPICS.

The supply chain is the one function in an organisation that touches all others and supply chain optimisation can drive bottom line improvement. To capitalise on opportunities, however, supply chain roles must be filled by people with the requisite knowledge, skills and qualifications,” he states.

Park notes that supply chain programmes teaching core skills were once scarce, and many supply chain roles were filled by individuals functionally trained in finance, engineering, pharmacy and various other roles. “Today, however, with the supply chain more widely regarded as a revenue driver, the need for supply chain education is increasing.” He contends that supply chain practitioners without the combination of recognised, credible education and sound practical experience will find themselves left behind as businesses recognise the value of the supply chain and the benefits that supply chain improvements can deliver across other business functions.

An international supply chain certification provides the individual with authenticity and status in the industry”

Craig King, logistics senior manager at Samsung Electronics South Africa, asserts that internationally recognised supply chain certifications are worth “every minute, cent and ounce of energy”, and add enormous value for both the individual and the organisation.

Craig King

An international supply chain certification provides the individual with authenticity and status in the industry, reflecting their professionalism, expertise and authority in this increasingly complex field. From an organisational perspective, this is a huge advantage because supply chain processes can be enhanced or implemented by an expert who knows and understands international best practice and world-class standards,” he stresses.

King states that as a senior manager for an industry leading global organisation, he favours applicants with international certifications when filling supply chain roles. “It tells me that the applicant has a goal and is serious about empowering him or herself by obtaining an internationally recognised certification. It also tells me that the applicant is knowledgeable and is an expert in the field of supply chain management, and that I will be employing the best.”

SAPICS is the South African custodian of a variety of internationally recognised certifications – the APICS CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management), CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) and CLTD (Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution). These are offered by SAPICS in association with its American affiliate, APICS. A new suite of designations from the Demand Driven Institute in the USA are also highly sought after.

In terms of training and development for Samsung employees, King says that members of his team are currently working towards the CLTD certification, “to expand their supply chain management knowledge and elevate their thinking from an operation and tactical level to a strategic one”. Citing a supply chain certification success story from his own organisation, he reveals that a team member was recently promoted to supply chain manager for mobile after achieving the CSCP qualification.

The CPIM is considered the premier certification for internal supply chain business operations,

and more than 74 000 professionals have been certified worldwide”

Since its launch in South Africa as the first comprehensive education programme designed for operations and supply chain management professionals, the CSCP has become an increasingly sought-after qualification. More than 24 000 professionals in 100 countries have earned the CSCP designation. “This highly-regarded programme provides graduates with the skills necessary to understand and manage the integration and coordination of activities within today’s increasingly complex supply chains. Graduates know how to design and develop a supply chain strategy that aligns with corporate strategy. They understand how to manage supplier and customer relationships, and recognise how logistics, technology and data can enhance performance. In addition, they can achieve the seamless integration of all processes to meet customer needs, reduce costs and increase profits,” SAPICS president Park states.

The CPIM is considered the premier certification for internal supply chain business operations, and more than 74 000 professionals have been certified worldwide. The CLTD programme addresses the burgeoning need for standard benchmarks in the rapidly changing logistics, transportation and distribution industries, he says.

Park notes that the benefits of an international qualification include career advancement opportunities, increased marketability and earning potential. “A survey undertaken in the USA by APICS revealed that graduates who earned a CSCP designation could expect an average 12% salary increase.

Successful supply chain management has become essential to compete successfully in today’s competitive global marketplace, and those who are suitably qualified to design, drive and deliver supply chain improvements will be assured of career success and advancement.

With the SAPICS supply chain community growing exponentially on the African continent, there is increasing awareness of the various quality international education programmes which are available, and which are offered throughout Africa via a growing network of Authorised Education Providers or on a self-study basis. Remote assistance from qualified instructors is available more easily with reliable internet in many countries, making these international certifications even more accessible,” he concludes.

Established 40 years ago, the annual SAPICS Conference is the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals. The 2018 SAPICS Conference takes place in Cape Town, from 10 to 13 June.

SAPICS is the leading provider of knowledge in supply chain management, production and operations in Southern Africa.

SAPICS builds operations management excellence in individuals and enterprises through superior education and training, internationally recognised certifications, comprehensive resources and a country-wide network of accomplished industry professionals. This network is ever expanding and now includes associates in other African countries. SAPICS is proud to represent APICS (the global end-to-end supply chain association) as its exclusive premier channel partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.