The past year has forced many businesses to review their standard practices with the heavy industry being one of the most severely impacted segments. Here are some insights on how Barloworld has adapted as a business.
Our business unit oversees the logistics needs and requirements for Barloworld Equipment, whom we consider our ‘customers’, even though we are part of the same Group (Barloworld Limited). We manage the majority of Barloworld Equipment’s parts and machine deliveries (determined by customer’s terms of sale). The Industrial Projects team is responsible for all movements of Caterpillar machinery within Barloworld and other customers.
We take responsibility for these machines from when they enter the country (Inbound) to when they are delivered to a customer or site (Outbound). Barloworld has the exclusive selling rights of Caterpillar equipment in SA, which means we are also responsible for the delivery of parts and equipment whenever it is related to Caterpillar machinery.
Over the past year, the Industrial Projects Team has also started transporting other OEM industrial machines to and from sites. Thanks to the team’s experience, they are able to offer clients expert transport logistics for these massive machines.
The Industrial Project unit at Barloworld Logistics, therefore, engages directly with mining and other industry sectors to assist with their transport, freight and logistics needs. With an existing network and expertise, Barloworld Logistics is in the best position to offer industrial clients the most efficient solutions.
In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic required us to adapt and offer our expertise to a wider network of customers which has opened many new doors and opportunities for our Industrial Projects Unit.
Exploring new industry sectors
Our Industrial Projects unit is currently exploring how we can add value and transport efficiency to clients in other sectors such as renewable energy, which is growing very quickly in the Southern African region.
Developing our own expertise
As Barloworld Logistics expands its client reach, we are also investing in internal upskilling and recruitment, so we can offer our new clients the best solutions drawn up by people who are logistics experts in those specific industries.
The catch with working in logistics is that constant change is part of the job. Even so, the Covid-19 pandemic did place extra strain on Industrial Projects, simply because so many sectors came to a standstill.
We operate within the SADC region, so border closures, new regulations, and delays had a big impact on how we operate. We had to carefully keep track of where all our fleets were and how to manage loads that were already enroute when borders would suddenly closed. It was our job to find solutions for our clients, so it was a huge challenge.
Some of the critical sectors, such as coal mining, were still operational, but we were faced with constantly changing regulations and curfews. On top of that our team was working remotely and we were facing many of the connectivity concerns that everyone else had who suddenly found themselves working from home.
Slowly but surely
This year has definitely started off much stronger than last year, and many of our clients are now playing ‘catch-up’ after 2020, which places a lot of extra strain on our side. But it’s not something we’re complaining about.
In fact, it’s safe to say that the Industrial Project team at Barloworld Logistics has become much stronger, flexible and innovative than before and we are able to offer our clients a level of service that matches the current Covid-19 environment, so to speak.
So while there were, and still are, many challenges, the nature of our job requires us to constantly innovate on behalf of our clients, and that is something we do exceptionally well.
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