The African Dream, a 3-decked, 33-metre long luxury houseboat, equipped with 8 twin cabins, accommodating 16 guests, was built in the year 2017 with the aim of sailing on the Chobe River just in time for the festive season. Weighing in at approximately 220 metric tonnes, this heavy load required specific expertise in abnormal cargo to be able to transport it from where it was built in Zimbabwe to its final destination in Namibia. These expertise were found in the Barloworld Logistics Manline Mega Team, who were tasked with the enormous feat of taking the houseboat on this long journey.
As industries become more and more commoditised, there is a growing understanding that value is not necessarily intrinsic to the product sold, but in the manner in which this product is brought to market. Such commoditisation has resulted in organisations seeking opportunities to create competitive advantage through various partnerships, be it through outsourcing non-core functions to niche support organisations, or manufacturing bases in geographies that offer low costs per item produced. Globalisation has indeed created a one-world market and increasing digitisation is building an economy where the location of services is no longer as relevant as the value such create.
Disruptions across the board from the flow of raw materials to the distribution of end markets have in the last few years challenged the competitiveness and success of even well-rooted industries. In order to continue to harness future growth, organisations need to look beyond the traditional silo approach to doing business and instead seek collective opportunities that expand across various business sectors.
A transport network is the lifeblood of any supply chain. Without an adequate transport network, the entire system will malfunction, failing to deliver freight when and where needed. This seems relatively obvious, and indeed simple, but often such networks are products of history. Over time, organisations grow and evolve. Products lines are introduced or discontinued, markets are entered or exited, and demand is fluid. Organisations that have grown from humble beginnings to large complex operations can have deeply ingrained processes, some of which may well be defunct in the environment in which the organisation operates.
Supply Chain and Logistics terminology can seemingly not keep up with the rapid evolution of the industry. For years we have become accustomed to organisations adopting 3-or-4PL business models, but of late abbreviations such as 5, 6 and even 7PL beginning to become part of the logistics lexicon, but what exactly to do these terms mean?