Crossroads leadership gears up for a new era

In March, 2011, Crossroads came to the strategic realisation that the market was not being served well by traditional logistics offerings. Increasing rates of change, and difficult to forecast demand patterns had meant that speed and reactivity needed to play a more central role in the planning of supply chain solutions.

Crossroads have since repositioned themselves as a logistics solution provider, with the DNA of their courier business, SkyNet, being central to their ability to deliver anywhere in South Africa within 24 hrs. This level of reactivity, combined with a remarkable cost consciousness has seen Crossroads win some impressive business over the last 6 months.

Of course, as they say in the business classics, structure must follow strategy. And Crossroads have true to form, announced far-reaching changes to their structure to ensure that the organisation is enabled to deliver on its promises.

Abe Uys, formerly Executive Director of the Crossroads Distribution business assumes responsibility as Chief Operating Officer of the group, including its courier and Express Parcel business SkyNet. Ken Light, who was the Executive Head of SkyNet, has been appointed Chief Business Development Officer for the group, with responsibility for new business development, logistics solutions development as well as sales and marketing. In addition, Eugene Swanepoel, who previously held the position of Gauteng Regional Manager at SkyNet, has now been appointed SkyNet's General Manager.

“In an information age of consumerism and globalisation, product life cycles are getting shorter,” says Uys. “Demand cycles are up and down, and goods need to go from research to the shelf in much shorter time spans. Inventories need to be managed at leaner levels, and will need to be distributed faster. The goal posts are continually shifting.”

Uys has been in the transport industry for over three decades and is one of Crossroads' founding members. As a member and former chairman of the Road Freight Association, Uys has the skills, experience and insight needed to ensure that the Crossroads operations perform at high levels of reactivity and reliability.

According to the independent Supply Chain Intelligence Report, “planning and forecasting” is regarded by South African logistics managers as the single biggest challenge in efficient supply chain management. This challenge can only be properly addressed through increased visibility, better flexibility and improved reactivity along the supply chain.

“Optimising the supply chain positively impacts cash-to-cash cycles, customer service, loyalty, and ultimately sales,” says Ken Light. “While cutting the cost of logistics is important, the ability to react quickly to demand is fast becoming the Holy Grail of logistics practice.”

Ken Light, who has over 24 years in third-party logistics counts himself fortunate to have garnered his experience at two of the country's most influential parcel delivery businesses.

Together with SkyNet, Crossroads has one of South Africa's most impressive invested distribution networks, with over 35 hubs countrywide and 800 vehicles delivering to over 450 towns on a daily basis.

“We have combined our capabilities, qualities, skills and technology to facilitate high-quality, rapid and cost-effective solutions – repositioning ourselves in the marketplace as a collaborative supply chain solutions provider, as well as being a first rate transport provider and an express parcel courier,” says Gerhard van der Horst, Crossroads CEO.