On-site partnerships ensure DACHSER serves medical logistics needs
From specialised Stiegelmeyer hospital beds, to Dr. Reddy’s pharmaceuticals to carefully calibrated medical equipment for Welch Allyn, DACHSER South Africa is delivering essential medical supplies throughout South Africa for a number of medical clients – ensuring that medical providers have the equipment they need in this challenging time.
“The Dachser team has considerable experience in medical and pharmaceutical delivery, which has stringent health and safety compliance requirements,” says DACHSER SA managing director Detlev Duve. “We must also be able to support our clients in responding rapidly and effectively to growing needs during COVID-19. DACHSER has continued to operate effectively during lockdown with a dedicated team of home-based office staff and skeleton staff at all of our depots and local delivery centres. The entire supply chain is fully operational and on track for essential items.”
Duve says on-site partnerships and effective communications have been a key element of success in the specialist field of medical logistics. DACHSER is able to offer clients specialised warehousing and office space at the company’s Pomona head-office and five clients currently benefit from on-site offices.
When specialised hospital bed supplier Stiegelmeyer contracted with Dachser four years ago, the German manufacturer was importing beds to South Africa. They soon moved from their original Centurion premises and to the DACHSER premises in Kempton Park, facilitating a strong partnership and seamless logistics that has grown with the business as they expanded to exporting into Africa. Besides a full range of hospital beds supplied to largely private sector hospitals in South Africa, Stiegelmeyer has been exporting refugee beds across borders. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking hold, the need for these beds may increase locally as well, and the DACHSER team is ready to handle increased volumes.
Theuns Burger of Stiegelmeyer says, “Interventions in response to the Coronavirus are currently impacting life at all levels. As a supplier to the medical field, we’re committed to doing whatever necessary to remain true to our healthcare mandate and to be able to react to special demands for supplies and services, even at very short notice. We have implemented extensive measures in our production and supply chain and DACHSER is an critical partner in ensuring that we are able to deliver across Southern Africa.”
Burger says the company chose DACHSER as the team was able to offer a well-priced, full solution for importing, exporting, warehousing and distribution. “With an office on site, we have full access to our stock at all times. Working on-site has resulted in considerable efficiencies and cost-savings for our business. The Dachser team has a strong understanding of our business and we have been very happy with their service levels as a longterm supply chain fulfilment partner.”
Stiegelmeyer has a dedicated pick and pack area and space for display models, with beds built to client specifications at the DACHSER warehouse. DACHSER move up to 40 beds at time, many of which are high value items. The service includes unpacking and installing the beds in hospitals, and at times removing the older beds that the new stock will replace. This process requires health and safety preparation work and liason with the hospitals. Dachser co-ordinate with the Stiegelmeyer team to ensure that their sales executives are always there to sign off once beds have been installed.
Welch Allyn, a supplier of medical equipment, requires rigorous logistics management to ensure that their products reach medical rooms, hospitals and clinics in the perfect condition, and at the right time, in both urban centres and rural areas. Their range includes products from basic syringes to specialist cardiopulmonary equipment and patient monitoring systems.
Welch Allyn staff are also located at the DACHSER warehouse, working closely with logistics teams to take care of medical product calibration and other specialist requirements while these products are in storage and transit. When products include high-cost, sophisticated technological equipment, error-free picking and packing is critical. In the company’s decade-long relationship with the client, stock has never once had to be written off, which is a massive achievement given that Dachser has moved millions of units of stock for the business over the years.
Duve says DACHSER's picking and packing service forms part of a continuous process that only concludes once products reaches its final destination. “Medical products are picked and packed to particular specifications that include temperature control and movement reduction. We make sure this remains consistent in transit, until the product has been handed over at the final point. Our picking and packing is further supported by a sophisticated IT system which enables the transparent coordination of complex activities and real-time information for clients on their stock.”
Duve concludes, “Clients entrust us with an important part of their business at critical times, and our service levels must remain consistent whatever the challenges may be. As a logistics company, our business is to understand this trust and to grow it into a successful logistics partnership.”
Avoiding customs risks with DACHSER South Africa
Customs plays a vital role in protecting society by securing transport chains by ensuring product safety and by combating cross-border crime. However, inefficient customs can be a barrier to trade and a key risk factor for companies already operating in a more challenging environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, the value derived from using an experienced logistics provider can lead to significant cost savings. For clients experiencing cost drainage and time delays when moving goods, it might be time to consider their holistic logistics solution carefully. Read more
Managing Director of DACHSER South Africa, Detlev Duve, says, “Measures undertaken to address the health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, including stringent social distancing regulations and stricter transit requirements, have impacted the movement of goods, border procedures and customs in unprecedented ways. Customs border administrations across the regions, already overloaded, have been further stretched, with an impact on the smooth flow of logistics across the region. The digitisation of transport and trade procedures and the harmonisation of customs regulations must be a strategic imperative during COVID-19, and beyond. However, in many countries across the African continent, we’re not there yet.”
To avoid significant time delays and unforeseen cost implications, Duve says it’s vital that companies involved in international trade understand and comply with changing regulations and requirements. However, getting to grips with regulatory environments be challenging for companies and divert resources away from core business priorities, making a trusted logistics partner an essential part of doing business.
“It has always been a priority Dachser’s teams to be up to speed on customs regulations and procedures, which includes the legal requirements necessary for moving goods into or out of South Africa - and the African continent,” says Duve. “Our Customs team follows streamlined processes and includes specialist personnel who can analyse and assess client requirements.
DACHSER's teams can verify all paperwork for compliance and accuracy, as well as verify and understand International Commercial Terms (known as Incoterms). “Our teams must understand what our clients are importing or exporting, and the requirements around these products. They further consider where costs can be saved or passage expedited. For example, certain processes could entitle an importer or exporter to claim back a percentage of duties paid to Customs.”
Rigorous compliance with Customs requirements includes making sure that the product is correctly classified and declared, that it is accurately valued and that the necessary documentation is on hand at the time of clearance, says Duve. “We have a good working relationship with the local customs’ authorities and have worked closely with them as we moved through the changing regulations of the pandemic, and the transportation of essential goods.”
Many delays occur when importers provide the incorrect tariff headings, or do not have the sales agreement, proof of payment other required information to hand. Delays can also be experienced when the importer does not have the necessary permission to import the product or cannot produce the proper permit or Letter of Authority. Duve says, “We advise our clients thoroughly on the requirements before beginning any process. We then closely monitor our clients’ entries, and if there is a possibility of delay, we act upon it immediately through the various channels. Our teams follow these up frequently, and escalate until goods are released.”
Bonded storage to save costs
DACHSER also offers bonded storage, which enables cargo to be stored for up to 2 years. “Bonded store allows the importer a better cash flow given that they can remove goods only as and when needed. In doing so, the importer is only required to pay the VAT and Customs duties on those items extracted. Additionally, the importer can also transfer ownership of the goods, making the new owner liable for any VAT and duties payable.” Duve says that importers are also able to inspect the goods in the bond store, before paying VAT and duties, to ensure that the correct cargo was shipped and that the quality and quantity is correct.
DACHSER offers another option to clients when a portion of imported goods are going to be directly exported. “If the client does not need to clear the entire shipment, DACHSER South Africa will clear the goods directly into our bond store and no duty or VAT will be paid until the cargo is moved out,” Duve explains. “We keep full control of the stock. Should the client require a portion of stock to be released for local supply we clear the goods, paying the duty and VAT on behalf of the client and billing this back. If a portion of the stock needed to go to an African country, we would move this out with a bonded truck to that country, where the cargo would be cleared. In this way, the client is spared having to pay duty and VAT twice.”
Duve says that DACHSER South Africa continues to seek value-added solutions for their clients as they deal with the pandemic. “Our commitment is to provide our clients with a holistic and seamless solution and we see ourselves as an extension of their businesses. This means that we take care of all aspects of the transportation, including customs, storing, handling and the safe delivery of goods from origin to destination.”
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DACHSER says thank you - over the past few weeks, our customers have informed us in good time about their current transport requirements and included us in their planning. This has enabled us to quickly adjust our capacities to the actual demand. Due to the sharp decline in transport volumes in recent weeks, we have temporarily reduced transport capacities and installed special schedules.
The many measures taken to reduce new infections with the coronavirus have had a positive effect in many European countries in recent days. Initial easing measures, for example a partial reopening of retail outlets, are making everyday life easier for people. Since many industrial companies are also resuming production - albeit mostly at lower output levels - we expect transport volumes to remain volatile, but to increase again in principle.
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