African supply chains need rethink

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Wayne Whiffler, Executive Director at EY, says an entire rethink of the integrated supply chain operating model is needed when doing business in Africa.

“Upon entering African markets, the complexities of the supply chain increase exponentially,” he says. “The surge in cross-border flows, local regulations, tax implications, and the lack of infrastructure all add to the challenge of growth in developing markets.”

The risk, he explains, is a ‘collection’ of independent markets and operating units with duplicated functions and limited alignment. “In these cases, point improvements do not deliver overall supply chain benefit. Transformational changes to supply chain operating models are required to improve customer service levels, reduce costs and working capital.”

Although infrastructure in Africa is improving and the number of airports is growing, ports remain the gateways to African trade. However, ports face two competitive challenges – the large volume of increase and the need for greater efficiency.

“This means loading and unloading vessels faster, reducing turnaround time and increasing the performance of the operators of both vessels and port operations,” says African Centre for Supply Chain Director-General and Multimix Academy CEO, Obiora Madu.

“Ports must transform into logistics hubs, in addition to being more determined to have better connectivity with other modes and better accessibility to their hinterlands. Inter-modalism will be a critical factor in the success of supply chains while the development of inland container depots and private container terminals form part of the chain.”

Transport World Africa

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