SUPPLY WORX | Universal Storage
African Expansion on the Cards
Universal Storage Systems has mastered minded its own supply chain following 20 years of market experience. In addition to a head office in Gauteng, branches in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Nelspruit, provide a unique service to every region in South Africa. To cement the vanguard leadership in storage solutions, the company has joined its visionary management expertise with the fiscal support of financial giant, Investec.
The company’s diverse structure includes an onsite manufacturing section, ensuring all materials meet stringent SABS and ISO 9001 quality standards. Storage Equipment Manufacturing Association (SEMA) qualified designers, highly trained sales representatives and project managers complete installations on site and transportation of materials is also handled from here. Finally, complete digital support is also provided at the same state-of-the-art venue. To be regarded a titan in Southern Africa’s steel racking, shelving and mezzanine flooring industry, does not come without challenges though.
“The most significant challenge we face currently is the volatility of the South African steel price,” says Jan Breytenbach, Sales and Marketing Director of Universal Storage Systems. Breytenbach explains, “Importing steel would be the most economic option currently, but since we have always supported South African produced steel, we are looking at all possible means to continue purchasing steel locally”.
Another challenge Universal Storage Systems faces is an impending strike due to the current economic and civil atmosphere. Breytenbach says Universal Storage Systems is prepared for this event: “We are taking action to continue product delivery and ultimate customer satisfaction, being aware of the imminent strike. We are producing spare stock to remain operational.” With the emerging importance of companies owning their supply chain, Universal Storage Solutions has been most active in this market.
The UTI Pharma Rack Clad Warehouse in Linbro Park, a first in South Africa, towering at 31,5m of Universal Clad Racking and capable of storing 38 000 pallets, meets the most stringent standards set for storing medicines. It is a prime example of the influence Universal Storage Systems has had on effectively facilitating their customers to centralise and evolve their supply chain.
Expressing Universal Storage System’s devotion to customers within the market, Breytenbach says: “Over 21 years we have come to fully understand that UTI Pharma has to service the storage needs of many leading pharmaceutical companies, while ensuring patients always get the original quality medicine they need, when and where they need it.”
South African industries are not the only markets Universal Storage Systems have identified. With emerging markets throughout African countries acting on the need to own their own supply chain, Universal Storage Systems has already made an imprint in Southern, Eastern and Central Africa. The company’s most recent installation was for Tema Lube Oil, in Ghana.
Long distance communication on this project proved to be a challenge, but Matthew Szendrei, project sales liaison, describes how Universal Storage Systems stood up to the challenge: “Our constant commitment to customers was evident when our installer made a plan above and beyond what was required, faced with the challenge of arriving on site to discover different measurements to the ones sent to our offices.”
Universal Storage Systems might still only be dipping into the African market, but the company and its African customers have realised the service and product excellence they can offer. Expanding into this emerging market, as well as the associated supply chain industry, will open new avenues for storage optimisation in the medium - to long-term.
To truly understand the essence of Universal Storage System’s success, Eric von Opell, CEO of Universal Storage Systems, describes the value of traditional roots: “Universal Storage Systems is built on simple beliefs; deliver on time, deliver the best quality and provide ultimate customer satisfaction. In order to achieve this, we empower and respect our personnel, a team which has been together for nearly ten years.”