SUPPLY WORX | Unitrans
Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions have been doing in their offering in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, one of the most competitive industry sectors in the market regarding transport costs.
The supply chain specialists have worked with one of South Africa’s biggest international retailers since 2009 and currently fulfil the role of chief 3PL for their distribution operation based in Gauteng, which also services operations cross-border to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. The Unitrans fleet for retailers stands at 270 vehicles, with around 480 drivers travelling an estimated 26 million kilometres per year! Adding value to clients requires innovative thinking about the 3PL processes in place, and making them more efficient and effective in the overall management of the FMCG supply chain. Over the years of their contractual relationship, Unitrans have partnered with their clients in various continuous improvement initiatives.
And yet, staying innovative and adding value to existing clients is only the first step. Unitrans is also moving up the value chain in the FMCG sector with their acquisition and development of fresh freight distribution, a specialised national multi-temperature warehousing and distribution business. Its services include freezer, chilled and ambient warehousing and cross docking; refrigerated distribution; as well as inventory management and optimisation. The business currently has a 3 400m² multi-temperature storage facility, with capacity for over 2 000 pallets and a fleet of 30 distribution vehicles servicing over 700 retail stores. It comprises major retail clients, as well as large FMCG businesses among its customer base.
This activity in a key sector demonstrates the ability of Unitrans to adapt to changing market circumstances, with the right kind of strategy and expertise to succeed in a challenging industry sector with a complex supply chain. Building the right relationships with clients, and the ability to add strategic value beyond the 3PL function, defines the Unitrans approach.
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An Innovation Partner in FMCG
The supply chain business environment across the world has been an unforgiving one for the past few years. With trade volumes dropping dramatically in the wake of the global recession of 2008 and with huge volatility in fuel prices and increases in commodity prices across the board – times have been tough.
In such an environment, most freight owners look at transport as an area to cut costs. In a market such as South Africa’s, that still sees a huge freight imbalance in favour of road freight, squeezing more costs out of road transport is a tall order. Fuel costs have risen astronomically in recent times, and Gauteng e-tolls add to the running costs already incurred by fleet owners. While many of these costs for third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are passed on to customers, it becomes ever harder to run cost-efficient and profitable road transport operations.
Business innovation is therefore vital to adding value and adapting to circumstances in these conditions, and that is exactly what