Hala Supply Chain Solutions (Hala SCS) is not content with resting on its laurels; in just over a decade, the company has certainly accrued an enviable list of local and international clients. With the Saudi Government’s Vision 2030 gathering pace, Hala SCS is keen to make a meaningful contribution while expanding its offering to customers big and small. As its brand new warehouse in Jeddah nears completion, we speak to Pieter Spaarwater, the company’s CEO, to discover how the company is achieving this.
He says: “Hala’s strategy and immediate five year plan is to provide world-class supply chain solutions to the Saudi vision 2030 industry diversification objective and as such further contributing towards the economy and creating jobs.”
With the lofty aim of becoming the go-to supply chain company for the entire Kingdom, Hala SCS also wants to do so while retaining the strictest sustainability standards. All told, the company’s footprint covers around 125,000 square metres of warehouse space, spread across facilities in Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah, among others.
One of the Kingdom’s fastest growing companies, Hala SCS has 100 percent private Saudi ownership, divided equally between Arabian Hala Co. and Basamh Group. The company ship and clear around 350,000 tons of cargo per year, and it employs around 600 permanent workers.
“Our transport solution include a combination of in-house fleet as well as contractually manage sub contracted transport vendors,” Spaarwater adds. “We carry about 7,000 to 8,500 loads per month. Our external relationships are extended by having contacts with logistics providers and direct relationships with shipping lines. We are FIATA and IATA accredited so we can custom clear products for landing on any land or sea border throughout the Kingdom. To ensure effective and efficient utilisation of our fleet of trucks we make use of route planning tools and measure this plan against actual movement of the truck.
From a customer perspective, Hala SCS offers clients a comprehensive transport solution, covering everything from sub-contractor management, transport brokerage, and optimally-loaded, fully tracked route management capabilities. Deploying the latest technology, the company is able to monitor and streamline driver behaviour and track shipments in real time.
Hala’s abilities to provide a comprehensive one-stop supply chain solution include warehousing, freight forwarding and customs, records solutions, asset optimisation, and contract logistics. The business has worked with a wide range of leading companies across various industries, including FMCGs, pharmaceuticals, automotive, and industrial equipment, as well as energy, oil & gas, and mining companies. Hala differentiator has been its ability to provide value to its clients, recognising the need for customised solutions and value added services additional to the core functions listed.
“Our technology and tools provide visibility across the supply chain,” Spaarwater explains. “We have been the leader in providing distribution technology applications and solutions in Saudi since our inception. Technology is an integral part of our internal solution to our clients that also involves process and people.
“We have a transport management system as well as a clearing system, which is integrated so a client can have visibility on where the product is in the supply chain, whether it’s in the warehouse, on a truck, or the port.”
With a market-backed plan to enhance its customer offering over the next five years, Hala SCS is poised to capitalise on the diversification of the Saudi economy while doing so sustainably. Over the past decade, the Saudi economy has grown by an average of four percent annually – it is now the 17th largest economy in the world according to recent GDP figures. Spearheading Hala’s growth trajectory is its new, state of the art warehouse in Jeddah. The 36,000 square metre facility houses a number of value added services, including re-works, quality assurance and control, as well as dangerous goods handling capabilities.
“The warehouse is part of our expansion plan and is an element of our integrated supply chain solution that we offer to the trade,” Spaarwater explains. “It’s temperature controlled and has state-of-the-art material handling and equipment to better serve our clients in the surrounding areas of Jeddah, Makkah and Jizan, as well as the industries in Jeddah industrial areas 2 and 3.
“It’s not just an expansion drive - we already have warehouses in Jeddah and Riyadh. It’s really more to improve the quality of our warehousing service from both a cost effectiveness point of view as well as service ability. It is part expansion and part improved quality,” he adds.
In support of both operational excellence and streamlined working, Hala SCS has a sustainable approach to people management that extends from its staff through to its partners. “In our supplier relationships, we try to incorporate collaboration, and that’s been our success story to a large extent, as well as being transparent. The reason for the relationships is to further extend the skills and capacity of the company,” Spaarwater explains.
He adds that Halas’s strategy for talent development begins on day one: “It starts with recruitment, making sure we appoint the right people for the right job, which requires quite an extensive process. It starts with a proper job description and profile.
“In some cases we headhunt, and in others it’s just general employment. We have career paths for staff that perform well. We offer a lot of on-the-job and classroom training - we believe in empowering our people,” he adds. “We have a very strong performance management programme with objective targets that we review on a regular basis in one-on-ones and performance reviews.”
For its efforts to develop local talent, Hala SCS has been endowed with platinum accreditation for Saudisation, an award that not only recognises the depth of its HR policies, but also makes the company well-placed to handle government contracts. With a Saudi workface now exceeding 30 percent, the Hala SCS represents a top performer in the market. “Coming from South Africa I was sensitised to what the old system did wrong,” Spaarwater recounts. “Being aware that local empowerment is important, we are fully committed to the Saudisation programme. We have strong career and succession plans in place.”
With a winning combination of talent, investment, and strategy, Hala SCS is offering a service package to the Saudi market like no other. Committed to full support of the Kingdom’s 2030 vision, the company is going from strength to strength and is likely to continue along its upwards growth trajectory for years to come.