Integration key to successful distribution

A successful distribution strategy is based on the successful integration of systems, technology, people, processes and innovation. An effective system, along with proper training of staff and educating the client on the process and timelines will ensure on-time delivery. This is the view of Juliette Fourie, CEO of specialist training company Metro Minds, which offers the National Certificate: Supply Chain Management NQF Level 5 with a specialisation in distribution and logistics.

What is necessary, she says, is a vision from a company’s leadership to understand the holistic picture in order to align the business strategy with the distribution strategy. Fourie believes technology is “extremely important” in ensuring a successful distribution model, along with the knowledge and understanding of how to properly deploy it to improve business processes. “Technology does not start and stop with the internet or IT systems. It is about how technology has contributed to customer satisfaction, effective processes, automation, time-saving, cost reduction at input level and value-adding activities at the output level,” she comments, pointing out that technology is not discussed and explored enough at secondary and tertiary education levels.

Metro Minds has placed in the finals twice in a row in the Da Vinci Top Technology 100 (TT100) Business Innovation Awards Programme for what Fourie describes as the company’s ability to bring innovation in technology in the way it provides its training. The workplace simulators implemented by Metro Minds last year – providing real-life work experiences via simulation – focus on logistics and distribution as an area of specialisation.

“Workplace simulators are recommended for first-time industry and job entrants but could also form part of the related logistics learnerships, using the existing education successes and integrating workplace simulation into the programmes,” explains Fourie. She adds that the simulation is also used in Metro Minds’ skills programmes for employed staff to upskill, refresh and evaluate their skills levels.

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