As Red Bulls’ logistics partner since January 2010, Imperial Retail Logistics has been helping the producer of the world’s most popular energy drink to define and upgrade its supply chain network capacity, to enable future growth strategies.
With more than 35 years’ experience in providing warehousing and distribution services to various customers in the South African FMCG sector, Imperial Retail Logistics is perfectly positioned to undertake this journey with Red Bull, comments operations director Friedel Spies. The scope of Imperial’s contract encompasses warehousing, primary and secondary distribution services on a national basis, he explains. The company is taking Red Bull to both formal retail and wholesale stores across South Africa and into Swaziland and Lesotho, with more than 14 000 product loads delivered annually.
“Imperial acts as a single point of contact, with full operational accountability, as we manage Red Bull’s national distribution network in South Africa, where routes to market include retail, supermarkets, cash and carry, as well as wholesalers,”Spies adds.
Why Red Bull opted for Imperial
Outlining Red Bull’s motivation for partnering with Imperial, Deon Brummer, operations manager at Red Bull South Africa, says: “We needed a world-class 3PL service provider who could further enhance and support our strategic objectives to enable future brand development and growth, specifically with regards to technology integration to increase visibility throughout the distribution and warehousing process.”
Imperial more-than fits the bill
In Imperial Retail Logistics, Red Bull found a logistics partner that exceeded its expectations. A business model and management structure that allows the company to leverage its existing infrastructure, with expansion, enables Imperial Retail Logistics to offer a cost effective solution in the regional areas, which are traditionally “expensive” to service, Spies explains. “We have developed very close relationships with preferred agents and sub-contractors in Polokwane, Mpumalanga and the Cape provinces. This management structure means that Imperial Retail Logistics cannot be classified as a classic 3PL organization, since we have adopted an LLP (Lead Logistics Provider) management structure that enables us to deliver product to over 10 000 customers nationally.”
Red Bull’s long-term strategy incorporates state-of-the-art technologies that are routinely employed by Imperial, and which place the company at the leading edge of technology. These technologies were also among the factors that led Red Bull to partner with us, Spies states.
World-class warehouse management system
Imperial Retail Logistics’ technical ability is reflected in the world-class warehouse management system developed to interface with Red Bull’s enterprise resource planning software, SAP. It provides real time visibility and its functionality includes the management of materials handling and inventory control from receipt to delivery. Further benefits that this system is yielding for Red Bull include real time visibility of inventory at all stages within the operation, as well as workload management of resources, in order to meet deadlines. It is also ensuring the optimum use of operations staff. The use of an internationally recognised warehouse management system is crucial to ensure that Red Bull has the highest level of batch integrity and inventory and order accuracy, Spies stresses.
Both ambient and temperature controlled warehousing and distribution is being provided by Imperial for Red Bull, while value added services include customer services, inventory forecasting and replenishment, as well as various support functions offered via Imperial’s extensive IT resource network.
Through Imperial’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, Red Bull has access to a variety of reports for management reporting purposes. This system enables an accurate view of inventory, batch integrity and order status.
Planning, controlling and managing transport operations
Imperial Retail Logistics’ has also implemented a world-class transport management system for Red Bull, and this provides information on expected time of arrivals and timely proof of deliveries. “One of the key focus areas for Red Bull was the implementation and roll-out of a comprehensive routing and scheduling methodology,” says Spies. “Our transport management system was implemented to plan, control and manage transportation operations in order to improve our service commitment to our clients at an optimal cost. The benefits of this system include reduced vehicles through optimised routing, which results in a fixed cost reduction; reduced kilometres travelled; improved customer service; and reduced returns.”
The renewal of its contract with Red Bull for a further three years is a testament to Imperial’s capability, capacity, experience and suitability to provide Red Bull with a competitive and sustainable logistics service. “Our total solution incorporates all of the services offered by a Lead Logistics Provider,” Spies concludes.