February 5, 2014
Our business environment is complex and changing rapidly in South Africa also. The more demanding customers are guiding us to develop new solutions to serve them in long-lasting partnerships that also often include innovative new business solutions. This means creating new ideas together with the customer on how we can, for example, support them with their product maintenance.
This means creating new ideas together with the customer on how we can, for example, support them with their product maintenance. The process starts with analysing the current supply chain and how we can improve its efficiency. All this is based on the needs indicated by the customer. Often the solution is found in a concrete piece of equipment, but is not restricted to it. Once we develop a business case and a solution, the equipment supplied becomes only a component of the total offering.
Let me introduce Shoprite as a case example. We supplied them with various equipment, such as H-frame Compactainers, Security Roll Containers and Hybrid Dollies. Our goal was to improve deliveries to stores and to get better transport efficiency. During the consultation process, we also created full operating practices for store, distribution centre, return centre and transport services in order to get the most out of the new equipment. The logical next step was to develop the best practices and procedures for use, maintenance and its tracking.
The following step in order to support the maintenance work was to supply spare parts. It seems that the spare part practice is not so common in Europe as most of the maintenance is based on repairs using salvaged components from damaged units. As the fleets are smaller here in South Africa, but at the same time the damage is high and the cost of new units is also high because of customs costs and transport, the tendency is to repair. Thus, the customers wanted us to carry spares and supply parts for maintenance.
Since K Hartwall is a logistics and supply chain expert, the customer expectation is that our own supply chain and services are excellent. From our side, this means continuous development of products and after-sales services. As the fleets have increased, we are becoming more aware of the spares consumption and how to systematically track and plan the need for new ones. By planning the needs in spares and ordering in batches, K Hartwall achieves a more competitive price level and better delivery times than if the customer would only order on demand. We are also developing systems for maintenance tracking and repairs, with operators logging checks along the way to register damage. The second advantage with this kind of specialised tracking systems is that our customer can see where the damage is occurring and can plan how to prevent it early. This is part of the added service that differentiates us from just being a commodity supplier and that the real value to our customer is optimum performance.
Managing Director, One-Touch Retail Solutions