Delivering simplicity



“Supply Chain Today” joined the
Ceva team in Johannesburg recently to catch up on their news. Ceva in
South Africa is a 4PL supply chain service provider offering multi-modal solutions.

With a presence internationally in over 160 countries, SVP Corporate Development, David Urbach, flew in from Switzerland to take us through a short history of the company.
Starting life in 1899, it is one of the oldest logistics providers in the world and currently ranks in the top ten globally while occupying fifth place in the contract logistics space. Key to maintaining and growing their position internationally is a Centre of Excellence which was established in 2013 in the UK, followed by another in Singapore.
Cohesive team
Says David, “Our staff weighs in from the ground up as we focus more and more on integrated supply chain solutions. With approximately 50:50 in freight management and contract logistics, we offer a balanced view. This was instrumental in our being awarded a contract recently from a large British aerospace concern, after they had used another provider for over twenty years.
“Together with the client, we not only looked at ‘what was’ but more importantly at ‘what could be’. It’s not good enough just to talk price, delivery etc, customers are looking for integrated solutions going forward. In this instance, we’ve reduced their lead time from four to two hours.
“Another differentiator is our ability to connect with the client. For example, all the usual culprits were asked to tender for an E-commerce concern in Turkey to take over the job of separating sortable and non-sortable items.
“When it came down to two of us, we were asked to present to their HR people. Our energy, openness and ability to work as a team both internally and externally landed us this contract.”
With wholly-owned companies on every continent, Ceva also has a large presence in China. In May this year, French shipping line CMA CGM acquired a stake of nearly 25 percent in Ceva Logistics. Both companies are looking to expand into countries where they do not have a presence and to leverage their strengths beyond just maritime transport.
Exponential growth
In South Africa, the company is headed up by Clinton White. Having cut his teeth across several large companies in the supply chain industry, Clinton tells us that his focus is on growing the business exponentially.
“In freight forwarding, nothing much has changed. It’s very transactional and a small reduction here and there does not add value to the customer. We are not visiting customers to have a cup of tea and cake and a chat, we are there to talk about simplifying life for the client in a collaborative fashion which can reduce costs, free up cash flow and improve productivity/turnover.
“Money is tight and cash flow is key. After unlocking cash flow for the client, the next pain point is to deliver visibility across the supply chain with exception management. Clients want to know where their goods are and to be alerted timeously to any problems. A global footprint helps with communication, visibility and economies of scale which means we can pass the benefit onto the customers.”
Each morning at their offices in Kempton Park, the Ceva team meets to drive improvements. Lean and Kaizen are not just nice buzzwords. Clinton adds, “My message to staff is clear. The customer pays our salaries. In fact, I’d call us insanely customer-centric.”
With much more than freight forwarding and clearing on offer, the team is happy to spend up to six weeks with a potential customer, interviewing staff and mapping the supply chain in order to arrive at a business case centred on driving efficiencies and savings. And there’s no charge whether the customer decides to go with Ceva or not.
This Supply Chain Value Assessment process is a key differentiator for Ceva who acts as the consultant and deploys when the project implementation starts. ”We are passionate about our customers and must be showing them continuous improvement in their supply chain.”
A fully-fledged control tower, staffed by five people keeps the wheels turning while Clinton has put a 20-strong sales team in place to grow the business. He is aiming at a five-fold increase in turnover by 2020. Three managers head up ground transportation, freight management and contract logistics with another four in each branch with HR, Finance, Procurement and Product making up his Manco of 13 managers.
Attractive employer
“We added 6 000sqm to our CL facilities in Johannesburg in July to complement our existing 8 000sqm and we’ve focused on improving our BEE status from Level 4 to Level 2. Being an attractive employer is important to achieve our goals in a good vibe and collaborative culture. We like to see our staff smiling and wanting to come to work.
“Given a good business case, we waste no time as an energetic bunch of people who I take care to develop from within. Committed, passionate, forward-thinking staff has seen us increase our turnover dramatically to date and we have no intention of stopping there,” Clinton concludes.
Ceva Logistics, Tel: (011) 396-9400 JHB,
(031) 569-7450 DBN, (041) 486-2658 PE,
(021) 001-8229 CT.

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