State of SA’s sup­ply chain

The Witness - Wheels - - TRANSPORT -

BARLOWORLD last week hosted lo­gis­tics man­agers at a sup­ply chain fore­sight break­fast in Umh­langa.

Mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive at Barloworld Lo­gis­tics Kate Stubbs said the in­dus­try has long out­grown the per­cep­tion that lo­gis­tics are all about trucks and ware­houses.

She said in look­ing at trends in sup­ply chains since 2003, the over­rid­ing con­cern lo­gis­tics man­agers ask is what costs cre­ate value.

“Sup­ply chain changed rad­i­cally, it is not about trucks and ware­houses, but man­ag­ing data,” Stubbs said, ad­ding com­pa­nies who can man­age to bal­ance the op­pos­ing de­mands of be­ing both hi-tech and hi-touch will do well.

“The only cer­tainty we have is that our tra­di­tional busi­ness model won’t be the one for the fu­ture,” said Stubbs.

She warned the as­sem­bled man­agers the big­gest threat to the lo­gis­tics is a skills shortage, and pointed out the sec­tor is not spend­ing on train­ing.

An­other con­cern re­vealed by the an­nual Barloworld sur­vey is that man­u­fac­tur­ing is not rel­e­vant to 41% of the re­spon­dents, and there is less in­vest­ing in re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

Yet, 89% of the re­spon­dents are op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture.

Stubbs said South Africa has seen a def­i­nite shift to ser­vice­based in­dus­tries since 2014.

Six in 10 re­spon­dents had to adapt quite rad­i­cally to meet such changes, but, just over half (51%) of the re­spon­dents say the changes they made were ef­fec­tive.

Stubbs said the sur­vey shows the top four of the top five con­cerns listed on the sur­vey were all re­lated to the econ­omy and pol­i­tics, which the lo­gis­tics man­agers could do lit­tle about.

The fifth con­cern was about the skills shortage, which Stubbs said the sec­tor can and should do some­thing about.

She said a fo­cus area of the re­spon­dents’ fu­ture strat­egy sees new cus­tomers, brand de­vel­op­ment as most im­por­tant, but not merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions, which Stubbs pre­dicted the sec­tor will see a lot more of.

Stubbs said one area where the sec­tor can ma­ture is out­sourc­ing, which adds a lot of value, but hir­ing out­side help did not seem to come easy to South African com­pa­nies.

Mo­ti­va­tional speaker David Caskie em­pha­sised that ex­treme sports teams have shown re­peat­edly that op­ti­mism, en­thu­si­asm and loy­alty are more im­por­tant than any other traits when re­cruit­ing for tough times. — WR.

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