Crossroads aligns itself with the client-centric supply chain

Economic cycles are increasingly unpredictable. Demand cycles are in a constant state of flux. The goal posts are continually shifting as pressure intensifies on supply chains around the world.

Never before have visibility of demand and reactivity been so important. Market sensitivity demands the shortest possible lead times and a flexible distribution model that delivers value.

Supply chain engineers and managers are beginning to understand that what works today probably won’t be the most efficient solution tomorrow. This is driving the trend towards insourced and outsourced partnerships between marketers and those logistics solution providers that are flexible in scope and strategic in nature. Brand owners are fast learning that fixed supply chain assets and distribution systems are liabilities that create rather than mitigate risk.

Re-engineering the supply chain can substantially reduce the amount of capital required to sustain logistics operations. It can positively affect cash-to-cash cycles, costs and customer service, sales levels and organisational profit, flexibility and risk. Operational risk can be considerably reduced, as fixed overheads become variable costs and fixed assets are turned into cash.

So what matters most when choosing a supply chain partner? A modern-day logistics solutions provider must be able to offer you visibility and flexibility, agility and speed. Your partner must have the innovative culture and the balance sheet to continually follow your needs, driving the kind of efficiency and effectiveness in your supply chain that makes you more competitive.

Crossroads’ repositioning in the market place as a collaborative supply chain services provider, rather than a pure transport or express parcel provider, is the culmination of a natural evolution spanning eight decades (in which it has operated as Jowells Transport, Crosscape Express and Stuarts Transport).

Today, the company fuses a mix of capabilities, qualities, skills and technology to facilitate high-quality, rapid and cost-effective logistics solutions. Its six core capabilities are still excellent stand-alone businesses, but together they can be fused to create highly agile solutions that radically shorten lead times for their clients. Making them more reactive to market demand and more competitive.

The key ingredient in Crossroads’ make up has been there all along. Speed. It’s inherent in its express parcel and courier DNA, and will become the key to their ability to outperform other supply chains on behalf of their clients. Crossroads’ core capabilities are: Transportation Management, Dedicated Contract Carriage, Short Haul, Less-than-Truckload Distribution, Courier/Express Parcel, and Shared & Dedicated Warehousing.

Industry-specific solutions
Crossroads combines its capabilities and skill sets to provide custom solutions suited to the unique needs of customers within specific industries. These cost-effective solutions enable greater reactivity, higher service levels and shorter lead times.

An invested infrastructure of 35 regional distribution centres, and daily scheduled line haul between them is complemented by a fleet of 800 last-mile delivery vehicles. This impressive setup allows them to receive, collect, consolidate and deliver freight for distribution across the country, reducing costs and lead times.

The specific needs of clients and industries are analysed, and solutions using this backbone to deliver speed are custom-built. In the mining industry, for instance, Crossroads is way down the road toward adding specialised mining distribution facilities in mining-heavy geography to this network. Mining companies are excited at the prospects of shorter delivery lead times and higher service levels from their inbound suppliers.

Similarly, the cost and time of routing imported freight via Johannesburg can be greatly reduced, as Crossroads can consolidate freight for final destination, pick and pack, price and label goods at its port-based cross-dock/warehouses – improving security while cutting handling and transportation costs as well as lead times (often by as much as two to four weeks).

In healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotech, veterinary or medical equipment deliveries all require custom solutions of their own. Crossroads’ network power and mix of bundled solutions can ideally meet the unique requirements of the industry – from low-cost, low-speed to high-speed, high service.

Network power
Crossroads’ heritage has led to its developing one of the country’s most impressive (and BBBEE Level 3-certified) distribution networks, with close to 3,000 staff and over 35 hubs nationwide. The company has now successfully positioned itself to be able to react quickly and to reach every part of South Africa. This invested distribution network today is a major component in Crossroads’ ability to offer flexibility, speed and cost-effectiveness.

Ongoing innovation
There is a great deal of value in outsourcing part or all of the logistics functions to the right partner. Highly creative supply chain experts can become a virtual extension of your team, with their sole focus being the provision of a constantly improving and optimised supply chain.

In embracing the continuous improvement of your supply chain you elevate integration, flexibility, visibility, cost-effectiveness and higher service levels to a strategic level.

Given that the existence of a flexible and responsive supply chain is becoming an increasingly important determinant of competitive advantage, and that the environment in which companies operate is changing at a faster pace, the potential value created by combining your logistics partner’s core capability with your own becomes a clear advantage.