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Women-Owned Enterprises in the Transport Sector in South Africa

SCN Africa



A unique project focused on providing technical business support to women-owned enterprises in the transport sector in South Africa has been launched.

Initiated by the United Nations (UN) Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO), in partnership with the National Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), the aim of the flagship programme is to stimulate equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs through affirmative procurement, investment and supply chain policies.

Local  female black-owned consulting company Sincpoint has been selected as the implementation arm of this project. Lebo Letsoalo, founder of Sincpoint explains: “We are excited at the opportunities this project offers. It will provide women-owned businesses in the transport sector with much-needed, tailor-made technical support, in addition to coaching and mentorship. The support will focus on strengthening their capacity to sustain their businesses, access new opportunities and grow their businesses.”

Sincpoint will be working closely with local membership-based association The African Women in Supply Chain Association (AWISCA) in the roll-out of the programme to ensure long-term support for the women.

Partnerships for Prosperity

AWISCA is collaborating with a number of industry bodies including universities, training providers, industry associations, organised business, as well as private companies.

The planned project implementation is eight months, with 200 women being selected. The project will be implemented in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, with the aim of expanding this to other provinces over time.

“What makes this programme unique and particularly effective is that the mentorship and coaching component will continue beyond the completion of the programme,” explains Letsoalo. “Through AWSICA, our women will have ongoing access to industry networks and knowledge through coaching circles, site visits, round table discussions, workshops and the many-other opportunities for growth and new business that AWISCA facilitates.”

“Although women are currently severely underrepresented in transport, more and more women are making their way into this exciting sector,” continues Letsoalo. “Transport is a dynamic, fast-changing and broad sector, ranging from rail and road transport, to shipping, aviation, import and export, cargo operations, domestic freight and containerisation, through to comprehensive, integrated door-to-door intermodal transport services. Each aspect requires skilled and competent people – women have multi-business opportunities at various levels within the industry. That’s what makes it such an exciting sector in which to work!”

The programme will target and equip selected women-owned enterprises that are suppliers or can potentially become suppliers of government and larger companies across the transport value chain.

Letsoalo added: “This project will assist in developing a much-needed pipeline of women who have the technical expertise and broader skills to thrive in this industry. The project’s focus is on creating sustainable skills transfer through practical coaching and mentorship”.

Founded in 2017, AWISCA was formed to bolster South Africa’s supply chain skills through functional mentorship and coaching, and to address the numerous technical and practical issues that continue to hinder the country’s transport, industry. It also aims to create better industry balance between the country’s universities, businesses, professionals, women and entrepreneurs.

Support from Business

Letsoalo urges transport businesses to support women in the transport industry by making business opportunities available to them. “AWISCA has an extensive database of women in transport with whom it can share information on the opportunities available”.

Keeping the Wheels of our Economy Turning

“Transport accounts for 9% of South Africa’s GDP,” concludes Letsoalo. “It is the lifeblood of our economy and is essential for the development of our nation. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is critical to all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and pharmaceuticals. Without effective transport, we cannot be competitive in the future. To build an industry and a thriving economy requires that we build key skills and competencies in this sector.”

Commenting on the importance of this ground-breaking initiative, Letsoalo said: “This project will assist in developing women to grow within transport and to take ownership and lead transformation within Africa, with the ultimate goal of achieving economic and social improvement and sustainability in areas relating to transport. It will encourage them to take up their rightful presence in the leadership of supply chain.”


New DHL Global Forwarding Investment Into Johannesburg Facility

Bernita Marais



While it is much to early to fully grasp the economic impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic DHL has invested R127-million in a new 13 000 m2 facility.  Twice the size of its current set-up and located next to the OR Tambo International Airport aimed at cementing its position within South Africa.

This new facility will consist of a 10 000 m2 warehouse that enables DHL Forwarding consolidation on all customer warehousing requirements. It will also boast will an exclusive and specialized cold chain facility that consists of three adjustable temperature-controlled refrigerators geared to handle life science and healthcare products in and out of South Africa.

The warehouse is also able to support other value-added services including cross-docking, storage for air, ocean, and road freight services, as well as a platform for breakbulk cargo.  The customised built on the world-class specification with the location only a short distance from the airport and arterial thoroughfares and upcoming industrial parks, will make this new facility a complete game changer for DHL within the country.

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When Times are Tough, Focus on the Core (Competencies).

SCN Africa



The economic crisis unleashed by the outbreak of COVID-19 has hurt economies around the world. When times are tough, shedding non-core business processes is one of the most prudent and effective ways to cut costs while improving performance.

Know your Core from your Context  

There is more pressure than ever for companies to provide superior customer service. In his book, ‘Dealing with Darwin’, Geoffrey Moore argued for the distinction between Core and Context, an approach that separates the few activities a company does that create true differentiation in customers’ eyes (Core), from everything else that a company needs to do to stay in business (Context). A focus on core competencies increases the sustainable competitive advantage of a company by creating value for customers.

The core competency of any business is the strategic, competitive advantage it holds over its competitors. This can include equipment, processes or intellectual property, as well as know-how or specific abilities that a company performs especially well. It’s about establishing what you are really good at doing and then concentrating on that.

The importance of innovation

One of the key competencies of service organisations is innovation. Outsourcing business tasks like supply chain management to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider frees up employees’ time, creating an environment in which ideas are more easily able to flow and be further developed into innovations. This in turn drives improvement of the business model and the delivery of better products or services.

Access to infrastructure and expertise

Working with a 3PL provider gives your business access to experts who not only understand your supply chain, but also have insight into a range of logistics problems and how to solve them.

Leading 3PL providers offer state-of-the-art warehousing, the latest technology systems, increased speed to customer and improved flexibility and visibility across the supply chain, enabling your business to meet customer demands more effectively.

The research proves it

In the Gartner 2019 Logistics Outsourcing Strategy Survey, approximately 70% of respondents stated that functional, end-to-end (E2E) supply chain and overall business objectives have been met or exceeded with the help of supply chain outsourcing counterparts.


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Five Key Strategies for a Resilient and Agile Supply Chain

Helen Colam



The first wave of the coronavirus hit everyone unexpectedly. While some businesses were awake and had planned for such an event, others were caught sleeping. With China, the global centre of manufacturing shutting down, companies were left in a state of crisis. Even though logistics worldwide had previously seemed to be robust and well-established, the global lockdowns have exposed the real state of it.

We are now in the midst of the second wave and businesses need to adjust in order to overcome this crisis effectively.

It is not only about the ability to produce goods it is also about the ability to meet the demand for them. Consumer buying behaviour changed over the pandemic period. The needs and wants of people changed and there was an increase in demand for products, that up until that point, had not been considered popular.

For companies to survive these new realities they had to optimise their response by adopting new supply chain resilience and agility capabilities.

The five most effective strategies are:

Stop the delay of information along the supply chain

Communication between the parties in the supply chain is paramount to meeting demand timeously. Any change in the process of supply needs to be reacted to as quickly as possible to eliminate any losses.

Companies needed to adopt a real-time communication system sooner rather than later. An effective system is a hotline or a what-app group. All members of the supply chain need to be on board with the system for it to work.

All routine processes or down-to-earth tasks should be automated

Customers will continue to want to pay low prices or feel like they are getting value for money for products and services. As a result, businesses will need to ensure they operate efficiently and frugally when it comes to using capital and when it comes to manufacturing capacity.

It is important to automate routine processes and free up the time of professionals, in the supply chain, so that they are able to address more important problems like developing a new sales strategy and customer relationship management.

Down-to-earth tasks can be managed by machinery and software. By adopting machinery and software, to manage these routine tasks, you improve the agility of the supply chain and lower the costs of the business’ logistics.

The supply chain operates more efficiently and cost-effectively. Products/services will have maximum added value and consumers will view them as worth the price they pay.

Data should be visible immediately / in real-time for all suppliers along the supply chain

All data along the supply chain should be visible immediately. There should be no delay in the passing on of data and information. This eliminates wasting the time of staff and delaying processes.

It assists with meeting demand timeously, effectively and cost-efficiently.

A database of all interactions that gives access to relevant, up-to-date information about the current processes and status of different shipments, in real-time, is a powerful tool on the way to combatting post-pandemic supply chain disruptions.

Unity of the Workflow

One platform should be used by everyone so that no data is lost. It is imperative to eliminate the possibility of errors for the system to be successful.

Help desk and training

All staff or professionals along the supply chain should have access to training on the system. Training videos and a help desk should be available for immediate assistance should anything not be functioning properly.

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