As a fundamental part of the supply chain, picking and packing is fast growing into a sophisticated, intelligent process. This is due to client demands that necessitate logistics companies in having detailed understanding of complex product specificities and requirements when storing and moving these goods across geographical distances.
Managing Director of Dachser South Africa, Detlev Duve, says of this trend. “Logistics companies have become an extension of the client’s operations in terms of having specialist knowledge of the product and ensuring that delivery capabilities meet the client’s supply chain requirements. Many times, clients need tailor-made solutions which means that the logistics company’s warehousing capabilities, internal processes and technological platforms should be able to support diverse requirements. Situating staff onsite who have in-depth knowledge of the products is often a necessity, most critically with products that are sensitive to climate and movement.”
Picking and packing is a surprisingly complex task. As an example, Duve points to one of Dachser South Africa’s long-standing clients, a supplier of medical equipment. Rigorous logistics management must ensure that their products reach medical rooms, hospitals and clinics in the perfect condition, and at the right time, in both urban centres and rural areas. This includes products from basic syringes to specialist cardiopulmonary equipment and patient monitoring systems.
Dachser South Africa provides expert onsite knowledge at its warehouse where certain medical products must be correctly calibrated while in storage. In fact, says, Duve, Dachser teams’ partner with several of the medical equipment supplier’s staff who have been seconded to the Dachser warehouse. “Having client employees operating in the warehouse illustrates how closely Dachser South Africa works with our clients. Additionally, our picking and packing is supported by a sophisticated IT system which enables the transparent coordination of complex activities as they are being coordinated on the ground. Not only does the system provide the client with transparent, real-time information on their stock, but the system has been designed to enable compatibility with the client’s own supply chain IT systems to enable a continuous and seamless flow of information and high-quality data.”
Products include high-cost, sophisticated technological equipment and error-free picking and packing is critical. In the company’s nine-year relationship with the client, stock has never once had to be written off, which is a massive achievement given that Dachser has moved millions of units of stock for the business over the years.
While the process of picking and packing ostensibly ends once the products have left the warehouse floor, Duve says that Dachser South Africa’s picking and packing forms part of a continuous process that only concludes once the product reaches its final destination. He explains: “The products are picked and packed to particular specifications that include temperature control and movement reduction. Our responsibility is to ensure that this must remain consistent in transit until the product has been handed over at the final point.”
Duve concludes, “We understand that our clients entrust us with what is fundamentally their revenue generator. As a logistics company, our business is to understand this trust and to grow it into a successful logistics partnership.”