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As a manufacturer or importer, operating the business is only half the battle in getting customers to purchase the products. After a customer purchases a product, the order must be delivered.
To transport full truckloads (16; 20 or 30 pallets), is relatively easy, as a truck can be rented for this purpose. The real challenge for the small to medium sized enterprise is to have a couple of pallets delivered to customers in all the major centres in South Africa, consistently and on time.
In providing this crucial service, LMC Express is replicating an initiative put in place by the US’s Walmart. There Walmart is assisted by cold storage logistic companies like RLS, featured in our previous newsletter, who similarly assists smaller producers.
LMC Express (Pty) Ltd has developed a system where perishable pallets from many customers are consolidated on a daily basis into full truckloads (16; 20 or 30 pallets) for the long-haul, by making use of their own trucks equipped with dual cooling units. This means that a truck can transport both chilled and frozen product and maintaining of temperatures are guaranteed.
The logistical principal of dispatching smaller orders more frequently can be a successful practice for many SMME’s as it has the following benefits:-
The customer of the SMME:-
- Benefits high service levels, as orders can be replenished within 3 days.
- Low stock levels, less investment in inventory.
- Minimum or no redundant stock as short term forecasting is effortless.
Ali Buchner, director at Mediterranean Delicacies, maintains that the flexibility of the service LMC Express offers enables his firm to be agile and responsive to short notice orders placed by their customers.
To manage and maintain the cold chain, LMC Express has developed an in house software system, which can track the journey of each pallet, from collection to delivery. Their online booking system makes it easy for customers to process bookings and trace all their orders.
The current tough economic climate often forces companies to place smaller orders with their suppliers and LMC Express has thus experienced a substantial growth in its business during the past 12 months.
LMC Express has recently been appointed by Shoprite Checkers to trunk their Speciality Foods Suppliers into its three (3) main Distribution Centres in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. All the suppliers of Speciality Foods are small to medium sized businesses and by offering this service, LMC Express plays a significant part in growing the businesses of these customers.