Thanks to their inherent ability to reinvent storage solutions for any industry, Universal Storage Systems continues to gain ground in the Western Cape where it has an established footprint of more than 30 years. “Supply Chain Today” caught up with branch manager, Dean Jackson, to talk about current and future plans.
Having recently moved into new premises, the branch now boasts warehouse space of more than 1 500 square metres with the ability to grow their footprint if, and when required.
“We have come a long way if I compare our set-up to a few years back,” says Dean. “What started off as just a sales office has progressed to a fully-fledged branch.”
Formerly based in the Epping area where they operated from a 600 square metre warehouse, the move was long overdue to the new premises in Blackheath. “The business really has grown tremendously in the past eight years. Bursting at the seams, we were in dire need of more square metrage,” he explains.
With a two-fold business plan in the Western Cape, the ability to hold more stock locally was becoming an increasingly important element to ensure continued success. “The first business stream is distribution in the province. We move product directly to end-users from our warehouse. Secondly, we also supply to a large network of traders and distributors who in turn supply the end-user,” Dean adds.
The move to Blackheath doubled the company’s capacity to service the Western Cape and it now holds far more stock than ever before. Customers are obviously on board with the move as demand is increasing and the extra space is filling up at a rapid pace.
The reasons for the company’s growth are various. Dean cites, “Consistent hard work, understanding our market and then delivering exactly to these very needs has paid off. We are, however, also renowned for going beyond what is required. It’s not just about supplying racking and storage, but really building a relationship with a client and delivering an innovative solution that adds value to their business immediately and in the long run.”
To this end, much effort goes into getting products to customers’ sites as quickly as possible. “With a manufacturing hub in Johannesburg, we are able to provide a very efficient logistics service which is only improved by our ability to hold more stock locally to meet our clients’ needs immediately”
Service, service, service
While the company’s pride in manufacturing quality products remains top of mind, it’s in the areas of delivering a better service where they have really flourished.
“Larger premises bring the benefit of efficiency as we can now supply directly within 24 hours of just about any order we receive which makes a vast difference to a region like the Western Cape where there is major investment into infrastructure taking place.”
It is a region that the company continues to hold in high esteem thanks to the large number of small to medium companies that call it home. These have been joined by several of the big retail players, among others. Having a firm footing in this market, makes a lot of sense.
The province has continued to perform relatively well despite the current depressed economic state of the country which has been good for Universal. Says Dean. “We are able to service companies regardless of their size so whether they want to store one pallet or thousands, we can supply the system.”
Trends and tribulations
While the market is price sensitive, demand for quality continues to remain high. Manufacturing locally in Randburg, this truly South African company prides itself on supplying to the highest standards, meeting world-class health and safety regulations.
“Delivering the highest consistent quality is non-negotiable to us, but at the same time it has to be cost-effective.” With plans in place to increase the size of its sales team, the team is working hard to stay ahead of the trend in the Western Cape, delivering innovative solutions faster than ever before. There is little doubt that the integrated approach is paying off. “We don’t believe in short cuts and we don’t compromise on quality,” Dean asserts.
Underpinned by its larger facility, the company has also been able to increase its maintenance and back-up services. “Being able to address local problems from a local perspective quickly and immediately adds tremendous value, which is a key factor in the modern-day supply chain,” he concludes.
Universal Storage Systems, Dean Jackson
Tel: (021) 905 0680