THE need for importers to view their supply chain processes as real assets, rather than just a means to an end, is now more important than ever; and with a slowing economy and weakening fiscus, businesses that import require greater visibility, if they are to unlock value in their supply chains.
It’s about transparency and control. Knowing the fastest or most viable route to market or having insights into pockets of information about suppliers, possible trade route delays and container loads, could go a long way to mitigating operational and consumer risks.
Under this pretext, it is imperative that Namibian companies in the import and export business begin to address this need and obtain a full view of their transactions, through the use of smart information systems.
The systems that are already available in markets, such as South Africa, allow businesses to optimise their inbound supply chains, from booking foreign exchange, controlling inventory in transit, reducing shipping times, pre-clearing goods, managing cartage from port to warehouse and scheduling the delivery of goods – all while ensuring supplier and end-customer payment terms are matched for each shipment.
As businesses continue to tighten their belts, they need to understand the real costs of their imports, and how to mine the process and information that technology is making available to them, to their advantage.
Experience, growth partners and technology are proving to be the enablers which are changing the import game.
Not only do they reduce costs, but also to provide for the better monitoring and control of the state of the business strategy.
Having access to innovative technology provides importers with improved management of their supplier relationships, costs and product availability. Thanks to having detailed information, right down to container level, importers are able to manage their inventory, even while goods are in transit. This goes a long way to not only ensuring processes are streamlined, but that focus can be placed on the business, rather than worrying about logistics.
It also imperative to note that the Far East trade route to Walvis Bay has experienced significant port congestion, due to reduced vessel capacity, rolling backlogs and higher freight rates.
Carriers are reporting up to six-week delays in cargo booked out of ports from other countries to Namibia, due to weak import volumes and the need to consolidate containers, among other issues, and this calls industry players to be highly visible.
It’s difficult to determine where the industry is moving to, but one thing is certain: getting the import value chain right will be critical and the only way to do that is to ensure that importers have greater visibility, to make the right decisions; not only for their businesses, but for the growth of the economy as a whole.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015