East Africa has seen an increase in demand for modern warehousing facilities due to increased business opportunities in the East Africa region and due to the change of behaviour of consumers, during Covid-19, to online shopping. This has brought about an increase in eCommerce businesses and as a result, in the need for warehousing in East Africa.
In October Africa Logistics Properties opened a warehousing facility for SMEs in Kenya. This is the start of their intention to build modern A Grade warehousing in Africa.
The first warehouse project covers 50,000 square metres and is already 75% full.
The second project is massive at 92,000 square metres. It covers more than 19 hectares of land and is made up of seven phases. Phase 1 is intended for SMEs looking for warehousing that is a minimum of 490 square metres. The rest of the phases will be for bigger companies, both local and international, who are looking to run their logistics according to international standards.
The focus is on industrial and retail warehousing, commodity warehousing, cold storage and e-Commerce.
Africa Logistics Properties is also offering its services to companies owning land in the Eastern part of the African region. These companies either have existing warehouses in need of upgrading or are needing to build new state-of-the-art warehousing facilities.
Their vision for 10 years down the line, is to develop Small and Medium Enterprise parks, Industrial and Technology parks and Industrial Manufacturing Clusters.
It is excellent to see this type of activity and growth in Africa in 2020.
The Benefits of Wearable Devices in Logistics
The worldwide logistics industry is worth approximately 5.5. trillion euros. With a 1.44% average shrinkage rate occurring, the losses and inefficiencies add up to billions.
The need for accuracy in identifying, handling, and processing packages is extremely important and one of the solutions to these issues is in wearables.
They eliminate time-wasting, improve the efficiency of staff and reduce stress in a fast-paced work environment. The computer/wearable is always on them, allowing them to do hands-free barcode scanning, input data, look up information, find parts, receive immediate alerts, receive new information and free their hands to operate more efficiently.
The pandemic has brought about a need for companies to keep their staff safe while effectively maintaining operations. These wearables have meant that social distancing can be implemented with more ease and effectiveness. Workers are able to keep their distance and be effective and efficient at their jobs at the same time. One of the features of these wearables is they are able to give the worker an alert when breaching the 1-metre social distancing requirement.
- Smartwatches which can be combined with augmented reality (AR) capabilities that expand their possibilities even further. Applications are developed that take advantage of the high-quality cameras on consumer smartphones for use in barcodes and product scanning. When the information is received, the app can instantly display information about a product. Through artificial intelligence, these apps can identify text on printing labels and even recognise products themselves without a barcode.
- Truck drivers wear smartwatches that vibrate when it is time for them to take a break, or when they are changing lanes, and there is a car in their blind spot. They also wear glasses that through LED monitoring of the user’s eyes are able to alert them when they are nodding off to sleep.
- Smart glasses are used in the warehouse to scan barcodes, record video, and process information without having to lift a finger.
- These devices also create a safer employee work experience by alerting workers when their posture is unsafe and providing real-time feedback when the wearer is in motion. These functionalities prevent potential injuries before they have a chance to occur.
- Finger-trigger and ring scanners allow workers to do more with lighter, portable technology. Workers are handling a large number of packages all day long. Whilst the chances of contracting the virus, via packaging, is low but it is still important to reduce any potential possibility of contact.
Ensuring that workers know how to properly use and maintain their wearable devices is the first step in seeing a wider, more beneficial adoption. The increased safety, improved efficiency, and heightened worker confidence are major benefits in implementing wearables in the logistics industry.
How Does Just-in-Time Inventory Improve Supply Chain Efficiency
In the past manufacturers would produce stock and store it in warehouses to have enough stock to absorb maximum market demand i.e. it was called a just-in-case strategy.
This would mean costs were incurred for warehousing, security, staff and lighting.
The just-in-time strategy means that stock is only produced when orders are received. Raw materials are ordered in and the stock is manufactured. This system minimises the need for storing production supplies or finished stock.
A by-product of the JIT system is cost savings but at the same time nothing is fool-proof. It is necessary to be ahead of the game, to eliminate problems that will halt production. Problems like forecasting incorrectly, suppliers not carrying enough raw materials and hiccups with the transport of raw materials.
However, this does not take away the fact that a JIT system helps improve the inventory and manufacturing process, and in doing so improves supply chain efficiency.
Warehousing & Distribution in the Ivory Coast
Maersk has launched its 5,000m² warehouse and distribution facility in Abidjan. The warehouse has a capacity of ~3,900 pallet locations and this non-bonded warehouse is able to hold non-hazardous products. This new storage, deconsolidation, and distribution multipurpose facility in Abidjan is strategically located outside the city, around the industrial zone, with easy access to the port and has the ability to bypass the city’s traffic congestion.
The facility is equipped to support various industries including; Retail, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Technology and is on par with facilities within Europe and North America.
Read the full article here https://www.maersk.com/news/articles/2020/08/18/maersk-expands-warehousing-and-distribution-in-ivory-coast