NEWS

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15 January, 2015

How has logistics changed in the Middle East? How do you see it changing in the near future?

For exporters and importers, standard challenges such as facilitating the receiving, storage, staging and loading functions in port structure as well as customs clearance are as ever paramount but have been joined by new concerns

The business of logistics in the Middle East now depends on an easy flow of information. Smooth movement through the supply chain results from the ability to communicate which prompted most logistics providers in the region to improve the way they enable, secure and manage information flows. Today, most companies are utilising cloud technology and smartphones as primary information tools due to the need for realtime visibility of supply chain information.

One key changing trend in logistics also lies in the closer relationship between third-party providers and their customers which is resulting in an increased efficiency. Closer integration is resulting in improved supply chain management and the IT gap between third party logistics providers and customer companies appears to have stablised over the last few years. Experts claim that 53% of companies in the Middle East indicate that they are satisfied with their provider’s capabilities.

What are the key focuses for businesses looking to export/import nowadays? For exporters and importers, standard challenges such as facilitating the receiving, storage, staging and loading functions in port structure as well as customs clearance are as ever paramount but have been joined by new concerns. Greater focus on supply chain risk and mitigation is now required and communications integration through every stage of the logistics management process is going to become the norm for every importer and exporter.

Technological development such as the implementation cloud technology will also help companies greatly in improving their supply chain management. By 2016, it is expected that 40% of new logistics application purchases globally will be delivered through the cloud and companies that choose to go this route will find themselves with reduced upfront costs.

Why should businesses review their logistics policies? With companies demanding just-in-time and just-in-sync manufacturing strategies, as well as lean business processes that meet consumer expectations for instant gratification, and zero tolerance for stock-outs, companies and third party logisticians need to enable, secure and manage their information flows to ensure extremely efficient and effective supply chain management. Companies should implement real time visibility of their supply chain to overcome challenges that are mainly related to stock management. Overstocking can bear a substantial cost on the bottom line of companies and this can only be avoided by implementing the latest technologies that are consistent with best practices in global logistics.

What do you believe is the future of logistics globally? An extensive amount of opportunities is expected to come to the Middle East and to the global industry in general. The prospective growth that is forecasted mainly in emerging consumer markets across the globe by industry experts is due to the expected rise in lateral trade over the next two decades as well as the implementation of new technologies that herald changes to supply chain execution which could make the coming years the most dynamic we have seen in the global logistics industry.

Companies should streamline and create new efficiencies through the implementation of the latest advanced and integrated technologies to ensure consistency with international best practices which will help overcome the hurdles that may arise.

Is insurance important in this? What would you advise when it comes to sourcing the right insurance policies? Damage or complete destruction of imported/exported goods during transportation is a very real risk that importers/exporters face. As an example, a truck may overturn, goods may be damaged during loading or unloading, or packages may fall overboard. Accordingly, choosing an insurance provider with a solid international network is extremely important to minimize the financial burden that may be incurred.

Companies should opt for comprehensive coverage of the goods which they are exporting to minimise the risk of paying clients for any shortfalls that may occur in the shipping process.

How can you help unique shipping requests, such as fashion or highly sensitive deliveries? We introduced a Garment on Hangers (GOH) solution for our customers in the fashion industry so they can efficiently cater to their customers in their showrooms.

Al-Futtaim Logistics also provides aid and relief organisations with value added and 4PL solutions, such as modifications of vehicles, retrograde movements, as well as warehouse and freight management, including multimodel solutions. The company operates charter movements to conflict zones and has 24/7 emergency operations to mobilise within 6 hours of notification to cater to any emergency situation.

We also provide logistics services to firms dealing with high value goods such as classic cars, and cater to institutions that are vested in temperature sensitive products in the retail, food and pharmaceuticals sector for which we are investing in new facilities, fleet and other elements to meet our demand potential.

We are also gearing up towards strengthening our involvement in the food logistics and records management segment and already secured a number of lucrative contracts which are encouraging us to focus on this sector.

You have some really interesting shopping policies (classic cars for example). Please tell us more about these. We provide logistics services that cater to classic and high value cars for corporates and individuals. Al-Futtaim Logistics specialises in fragile shipments and offers clients end to end solutions that make their process seamless and hassle free.

Is insurance important in this? What would you advise when it comes to sourcing the right insurance policies? Insurance is one of the primary factors in any shipment and Al-Futtaim Logistics advises clients based on the specifications and backgrounds.

Source: Business Insights Issue – January-2015