Inospace launches a Proptech solution to give logistics and industrial tenants more than space
24 October, Johannesburg – Inospace, South Africa’s leading owner and operator of serviced logistics parks, is casting off its industrial overalls and leaping into the new tech space with its own technology platform, Inocircle.
“The Inocircle online platform aims to resolve business pain points and add material value to small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” says Jodi Sher, chief marketing & product officer at Inospace.
Already the biggest owner of serviced logistics parks in South Africa, Inospace is positioning itself to be a proptech provider with a war chest aimed at finding solutions to its customer’s logistics pain points.
Months after the announcement of its R1,25 billion deal with Fortress REIT, Sher said the company was aiming to set the gold standard of African CRE management with the adoption of technology and a laser focus on what its customers need.
“Inospace’s tenants are not being kept up at night by what they pay in rent. For every Rand our clients spend on rent, they spend R5 on electricity and R10 on transportation, so our focus has been on creating technology solutions around those areas,” explained Sher.
While it pioneered the development of service logistics parks, Inospace made a quiet entry to the proptech space in 2020, creating its own property management system which initially focused on innovative concepts to manage a large multi-let real estate platform that has short leases and offers flexible terms.
These proptech systems align with Inospace’s increased focus on streamlined efficiencies, cost-reduction and improved decision-making. And now, having grown to 50 logistics parks, the business has the ability to scale up its technology offerings through Inocircle.
The Development of Inocircle
The Inocircle propriety technology platform took time to develop, but now serves as a space-as-a-service by offering useful business tools that go way beyond cost savings and efficiencies.
“We don’t want to be a fast follower, and one of the things we’ve spent a lot of time on is looking for inspiration outside our industry, and then translating it for real estate —making us a first mover in our industry,” says Sher.
Online retail has transformed consumer expectations on service levels and put immense pressure on the logistics sector to figure out how to change the supply chain to meet those expectations. As a warehouse owner and manager, Inospace has been able to leverage its position by looking at problems from its customer’s viewpoint.
“When you take a step back and think about it, there’s no other business in the world where you spend three months negotiating a contract with someone and then ignore them for the next five years – that’s a real constraint on our industry. Which is why, if we can add value using new ways to leverage technology, we are going to change the industry,” says Sher.
“It’s a self-imposed constraint that many property owners put on themselves. As a traditional landlord it’s great having a passive income, but tenants want more than just space these days, and it starts with how we create customer centricity and change the relationship using technology.”
The Inocircle offering
The value of a property is no longer defined solely by the space and its location, but by the blend of technology-enabled service and a superior tenant experience. The Inocircle technology platform is a realisation of that, delivering solutions to some of the most critical challenges facing property managers and tenants.
Today’s property managers are tasked with everything from community relations to rental collections and vendor management. Inocircle helps in this regard, offering property rental tools which manages deals, properties, and lease expirations. It also offers real estate analytics and data which make it possible to assess future risks and opportunities.
On the consumer end, Inocircle incorporates facility management, and offers customised customer-support services. A subscription service will help tenants manage their supply and procurement demands, and access industrial and logistics-related goods and services offered by various vendors at preferential rates.
In addition, clients will create business profiles on Inocircle, allowing them to request maintenance support, and manage their accounts with real-time access to a business directory.
For its launch, Inocircle is partnering with vendors including MiWay Insurance and 2Ship, a fully integrated client facing transport management system. Through MiWay, Inocircle will provide new and existing clients with discounted non-life insurance and a range of business insurance products.
The partnership with 2Ship will offer tenants access to an integrated online transport platform. This will allow them to find the most affordable and fastest courier and delivery solutions for any shipment. The logistics service also provides a seamless integration layer between all the major e-commerce stores and most South African local and international courier companies.
“Inocircle users will be able to track deliveries, receive e-mail updates and pay using an e-wallet, without having to open accounts with various courier companies,” says Sher.
Additionally, through exclusive offers, Inocircle will give its clients access to various support services, ideal for SMEs, including an IT help desk, tender notifications, marketing services, and legal and labour advice.
“By streamlining how we work with our clients through this platform, we are improving efficiencies for our clients and enabling them to focus on the operations and growth of their businesses.” says Sher.
Conference Highlights Opportunities for the Air Cargo Industry on the Continent
The air cargo industry has a key role to play in helping drive economic growth in Africa. There are also tremendous opportunities that it can leverage, through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). These opportunities were explored at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s Air Cargo Conference, held at the Air Cargo Africa expo and conference at Emperors Palace, Gauteng, on 23 February 2023.
The Programme included:
- Increasing connectivity and the movement of air cargo across the region by Dr Joachim Vermooten – Owner: Vermooten and Associates
- What is needed for AfCFA to work and what is the impact of AfCFTA on the supply chain? by Devlyn Naidoo – Executive: SARS and Other Government Agencies (OGAs): the SA Association of Freight Forwarders
- Potential and possibilities on the Continent: Airlink Cargo’s perspective by Hardus Kuschke – Executive Manager, Cargo: Airlink Cargo
- Data Driven Decisions Enabled by Digital Transformation by Munya Husvu, CEO: ISB Optimus
- The role technology will be playing within the African cargo space in the next decade vs. the African unemployment challenge by Gerhard van Zyl – AsimoTech
- Video telematics and the use of Artificial Intelligence by Divan Delport – Sales Director – MiX Telematics East Africa
- Trade opportunities in Africa for South African business by Thina Nodada – Director: Waymaker Trade Solutions
- Changes to Dangerous Goods Regulations for Air Cargo by Elliot Molemi – General Manager, Compliance: Professional Aviation Services
Key takeaways from the event
Increasing connectivity and the movement of air cargo across the region by Dr Joachim Vermooten – Owner: Vermooten and Associates
“AfCTA creates a new basis on which African air transport liberalisation can be based, with the objective of creating an internal integrated air transport market, instead of a small step “piecemeal” approach based on arrangements between individual States.”
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) provides a new opportunity to re-start African air transport liberalisation with the objective to actually achieve a truly internal single African air transport market. This is in contrast to the current Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which only seeks to implement the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988 (35 years ago) still based on Bi-lateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) between States, of which the implementation is inadequate.”
Potential and possibilities on the Continent: Airlink Cargo’s perspective by Hardus Kuschke – Executive Manager, Cargo: Airlink Cargo
“There is endless potential for growth in Africa – due to the increase in demand. Aviation traffic is predicted to more than double by 2037. The boom in the movement of cargo will accelerate development. Cargo yields are declining at the moment, but are still higher than pre-Covid levels.”
“There is endless potential for growth in Africa:
- There are freighter operations to main hubs, but there is a need for connectivity to smaller hubs.
- E-commerce is underdeveloped.
- Africa’s annual economic growth remains strong.
- The need for bonded transport continues to grow.”
“There are however some limitations:
- Frustrations: Support functions from an airline’s perspective, like reliable port and rail infrastructure for jet fuel.
- Challenges: Inconsistent authorities, border control processes, corruption and competitiveness. Some IT systems are incapable of integration.
- Security: Security standards are poor in some countries.”
What is needed for AfCFA to work and what is the impact of AfCFTA on the supply chain? by Devlyn Naidoo – Executive: SARS and Other Government Agencies (OGAs): the SA Association of Freight Forwarders
“What is required for AfCFTA to work and how do we make it work?
- Overcoming supply-side constraints to boost African trade.
- Closing the infrastructure deficit to boost AfCFTA’s development impact.
- Eliminating non-tariff barriers to increase cross-border trade.
- Establish inter-governmental international trade department support.”
“Equally important to the elimination of tariff barriers (Free Trade Area) is the elimination of non-tariff barriers and the creation of an intact continental logistics network to support the growth of intra-Africa trade.”
“Supply chains are dependent on an efficient logistics network. This includes, inter alia, efficient port infrastructure, road and rail networks, a secure and safe trading environment and efficient customs and other government agency compliance processes and procedures.”
“Skills development and capacity building for a young supply chain are key.”
Data Driven Decisions Enabled by Digital Transformation by Munya Husvu, CEO: ISB Optimus
“We see a world where every employee will work side by side with digital workers. When human and digital workers work side by side, amazing things happen! It creates a world of endless possibilities!”
“To be a digital enterprise, you need digitized processes – and a digital workforce that complements your human workforce. ‘Complement’ is an important word, because despite concerns about AI, automation, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) eliminating jobs, we believe very strongly that digital workers should complement the strengths of people.”
“Digital workers transcend RPA: Their core attributes are bots that are intelligent, using AI to learn and improve over time; they use analytics to ensure that their work is effective; and finally, they are capable of discovering processes that can benefit from their help.
People’s core attributes feature creativity, connecting dots, building strong relationships, and having empathy and compassion for others. For people, this manifests in driving strong customer engagement, identifying opportunities, whether that be a new sales opportunity or business model. We also strive at problem solving -arguably one of our best skills.”
The role technology will be playing within the African cargo space in the next decade vs. the African unemployment challenge by Gerhard van Zyl – AsimoTech
“On the one hand, we face the African unemployment challenge. The unemployment rate in Africa (estimated) 2022 was estimated at 8%, which means 41,9 million are without work.
On the other hand, we perceive the opportunities available through technology-led productivity. Since we compete with the rest of the world, we need to keep abreast of global developments in areas such as autonomous vehicles (drones), Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality, object and image recognition and other breakthroughs.
Thus, our logistics industry needs to maintain a balance between people skills and automation in the workplace. This calls for a commitment to a spectrum of skills development that fuses traditional methods with innovation and even quantum-leaps.”
“By lowering standards education, we are not doing our youth any favours.”
Video telematics and the use of Artificial Intelligence by Divan Delport – Sales Director – MiX Telematics East Africa
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) in video telematics has transformed the way we manage and monitor vehicle fleets by improving safety, enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, and providing real-time insights. AI-powered systems can monitor driver behaviour, optimise routes, reduce idle time, and improve productivity. This technology provides real-time insights into driver behaviour and vehicle performance, enabling fleet managers to respond quickly to issues as they arise. As the technology advances, we can expect even more benefits and applications in the future.”
Trade opportunities in Africa for South African business by Thina Nodada – Director: Waymaker Trade Solutions
“South Africa could position itself as a brains-trust country for skills development across the rest of the continent as momentum picks up for the realisation of trade under the AfCFTA.”
“What we’ve seen is that there is a strong emphasis on skills and knowledge development from African countries to partner with South Africa in achieving these aims. “If South Africa got its act together, a lot of goodwill could be invested through the transference of goods, services, skills and knowledge needed to achieve AfCFTA’s aim of boosting trade across the Continent by at least 52.3%. It would take a bit of a mind-shift though, as South Africa still sees itself in different terms in relation to the rest of the Continent.”
“We must stop thinking of ourselves as the gateway to the Continent. We aren’t the gateway to Africa, never have been, and never will be. What we can be is an enabler of trade improvement.”
Changes to Dangerous Goods Regulations for Air Cargo by Elliot Molemi – General Manager, Compliance: Professional Aviation Services
“The new dangerous goods regulations have undergone a rigorous Carcom (Civil Aviation Regulations Committee) process and are awaiting the Transport’s Minister signature. The express parcel industry has over the years seen the introduction of drop-off facilities, enabling customers to drop off parcels, with little inconvenience. Examples of these facilities include Aramex’s Drop Box, Courier Guy’s PUDO and DSV’s Locker, which are stationed at shopping complexes and filling stations.
These products of convenience have come with their own problems. Customers are likely to include hazardous items like lithium batteries, corrosives and flammable liquids – out of ignorance. The SACAA has come up with a set of regulations that seeks to minimise such incidents. The regulations when summarised will require a company offering the parcel drop-off facilities to educate their users on the dangerous goods. This will be done by:
- Requiring that the user declares if their package contains dangerous goods or not.
- Providing information about dangerous goods to the user through the website or other electronic forms.
- Displaying dangerous goods prohibition messages and other signages at drop off facilities.
These regulations extend to other courier products at shopping malls like Postnet and Pepkor’s Paxi – if their parcels end up in an aircraft.”
The CILTSA Air Cargo Conference was sponsored by Air Cargo Africa, AsimoTech, ISB Optimus, Messe Munchen, MiX Telematics and Professional Risk.
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport supports the professionals who plan the systems, who bring in the raw materials, who manage the movement of people and goods, who ensure safety standards, maintain mobility, and keep the economy working.
We are the leading professional body for everyone who works in supply chain, logistics and transport. We are a global family, representing professionals at all levels across all sectors, with a mission to give individuals and organisations access to the tools, the knowledge and the connections vital to success in the logistics and transport industry.
Founded in 1919 with a mission to improve industry practices and nurture talent, our Institute supports over 35,000 members in 35 countries. Through our educational suite, our strong community and our commitment to high standards, we help professionals at all levels to develop their careers and access better jobs. Visit www.ciltsa.org.za and https://ciltinternational.org/ for more information
Contact Persons: Catherine Larkin – CVLC Communication
Telephone: 087 822 2858 / 083 300 0331
E-mail: [email protected]
Postal Address: P O Box 44945, Linden, 2104, South Africa
Comment on transport aspects addressed by the Minister of Finance
The Minister of Finance has noted that they will use “higher than anticipated revenues” – which were generated through taxes, levies and all other manner of government revenue generation – to rescue a number of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) that are failing, bleeding capital, or are just not doing what they need to be doing.
Whilst we welcome the move to give Transnet badly-needed funding to repair, re-design or re-build vital pieces of infrastructure and equipment (ports, railways and related equipment for efficient operations), there is concern that the “usual suspects” have once again received “bailouts”.
However – “the funding impasse” of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan (GFIP) (commonly referred to as ‘e-tolls’) has had an interesting twist. The Gauteng Provincial Government has agreed to contribute 30% to settling SANRAL’s debt and interest obligations, while national government will cover the remaining 70 %.
Does that mean it’s paid off now? There is no debt? Zip? Nothing? No need for the e-toll system then?
Ahh – but wait! Evidently, “Gauteng will also cover the costs of maintaining the 201 kilometres and associated interchanges of the roads and any additional investment in road will be funded through either the existing electronic toll infrastructure or new toll plazas, or any other revenue source within their area of responsibility.”
There we have it: e-tolls are not going. In fact, there may even be more gantries – or higher vehicle licence fees (in Gauteng only), or some other smart/ingenious way to charge for the “costs of maintaining” – the reference to “any other revenue source within their area of responsibility” being the key statement here.
However, the reality is that those who have not paid and refuse to pay will not suddenly pay now for maintenance. How will government ensure that they pay now? They still owe and government hasn’t tried to collect the default. Why would it suddenly work now (with the possibility of “new toll plazas”)?
Scrap the system ! It’s being “paid off” now anyway. Any new developments get paid cash through the fuel levy system. Stop using the fuel levy for other things saving other SOEs comes to mind.
Whilst we ponder this one – some good news! It seems like the Minister is beginning to listen to endless comments, lobbying and interaction from the road freight sector:
- The Economic Regulation of Transport Bill was passed. This should establish an independent transport regulator which will pave the way for greater competition and enable regulated access to the network – as long as private businesses are not punished for being efficient and competitive.
- We need to understand what the Regulator really means for private business. It’s all fine for ensuring decent pricing in monopoly systems (like public transport systems, Eskom, water supply, etc, landing or berthing facilities in our government operated facilities, ensuring that there are no huge/unrealistic increases in tariffs by any authority in the transport world). But it doesn’t work for private business where competition, innovation and efficiencies are at play.
- No amount of argument or discussion must ever allow price-fixing/setting within the private (business) sphere.
Then there is better news:
- Third-party access to the freight rail network is being seriously considered – and perhaps there will actually be movement now.
- Private-sector partnerships for the Durban Pier 2 and Ngqura container terminals (which the Road Freight Association has been calling for – for at least the last 10 years), is also now on the cards.
- Allocations to the SAPS to increase capacity to deal with crime.
- Processes and structures in place to deal with white-collar crime and corruption.
- Funding for critical infrastructure
However, there are some glaring omissions:
- Government needs to ensure we can release ourselves from fossil fuel (in this case oil) dependency. Now is the time to support, fund, develop and grow alternative energy systems. Locally developed, manufactured and supported.
- Use of our great coal resources to implement short to medium term energy solutions. There are very clean and green methods around the world that can be implemented. But our largest resource – sun/solar – needs to be developed and expanded as quickly as possible. This requires funding.
- Water security – along with food security – will (like the solar development) create the millions of job/employment opportunities that our country needs.
There was a greater expectation (perhaps in the form of a very loud bang) to the end of e-tolls. It didn’t happen. Is there a lesson to be learned from this?
Infrastructure that is of common good to the whole country, the economy, the development of society and upliftment of South Africa, needs to be developed at a cost shared by all South Africans – at the cheapest, least expensive and least intrusive means possible.
There is much potential in this speech – yet there is much we as South Africans require from our leaders in terms of direction. In terms of development. In terms of growth.
By Gavin Kelly – CEO of the Road Freight Association
David Mashiane from Imperial Logistics Wins #ThankYouTrucker Competition
David Mashiane, a truck driver at Specialised Freight | Fuel & Gas at Imperial Logistics Africa, has scooped top honours in the 2022 #ThankYouTrucker competition. Luticia Smith from ACT Logistics came second, with Jeffrey Maja from the GEO Group placing third.
“It is our responsibility as drivers to ensure that people are safe on the roads, and competitions such as these inspire us and encourage us to make sure that we do so to the best of our ability,” said Mashiane. “These competitions show us that we are valued. I would like to thank my manager Edward Hoffman, and our HSSE Officer Belinda van der Merwe who nominated me, for their support – it really means a lot. I would also like to thank my colleagues, friends and my community, and especially my supportive wife – I could not do this job without this support system.”
A passionate heavy goods driver who has experience in transporting dangerous goods in a number of countries across Africa, David has maintained an excellent driver’s score card. Since the Drivers score card was introduced at the company a few years ago, David has been receiving above 90% + score every month, with his best score being 98.50%. He has been accident and incident free for the last seven years and serves as a role-model to other drivers. While on the road, David recently saved a little child’s life in Zimbabwe – thanks to his clear thinking, pro-active assessment and defensive driving skills.
Commenting on David’s win, Mark Rylance, Executive Vice President: Road Freight at Imperial’s Logistics Africa business, said: “Warm and heartfelt congratulations to David Mashiane for winning the 2022 #ThankYouTrucker competition! David is a great example to other drivers – his exceptional safety record and his commitment to excellence in serving our clients are a true reflection of everything that Imperial strives to achieve. We are very proud of David and wish him all the best with his career aspirations.”
Luticia Smith from ACT Logistics was delighted with her second place in the competition. This brave lady continues to excel in her work – despite battling with breast cancer, requiring intense chemotherapy and an urgent mastectomy. “Truck driving is not easy work, but I love the work that I do,” she says.
“Nothing stops our Luticia,” says Nicolene Kruger, HR Manager at ACT Logistics. “She is a firecracker of a driver. She evokes smiles and friendliness everywhere she goes. She’s a legend, going the extra mile and doing her work with professionalism and finesse!”
Third-placed Jeffrey Maja from GeoGroup has overcome incredible obstacles to achieve success. Despite coming from a disadvantaged background, Jeffrey worked his way up the company ranks and now holds both a code 10 and code 14 driver’s licence. Delighted at coming in the top three of the competition, Jeffrey said: “My mother and my wife were so excited about the news. I really appreciate GeoGroup and the opportunities they have given me. I am always happy at work: my employer is really supportive”.
Deon Bothma, Marketing Manager for the GeoGroup added: “Jeffrey has been with the Group since 2007 and has proven to be such an asset. He is hard working, dedicated, committed and absolutely reliable. His potential was recognised early on and he continues to grow and thrive in the company.”
“Our country’s drivers have incredible stories to tell – and these heartwarming stories demonstrate this,” commented Leanne Sebastian, Communication and Brand Specialist at IVECO SA. “Truck driving is a profession which is often overlooked, unrecognised and unappreciated. Through the #ThankYouTrucker competition we aim to change this, one story at a time!”
“The RFA congratulates all the winners of this year’s competition,” added Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association. “Our truck drivers keep the wheels of our economy turning: we salute their efforts, particularly in these very challenging and disruptive times!”
An initiative of IVECO SA and the Road Freight Association, #ThankYouTrucker recognises, celebrates and rewards the most extraordinary freight driver, a remarkable individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty. This driver is helpful, trustworthy, dependable, caring and passionate about his/her career in trucking.