Imperial bulks up with a stake in KWS Carriers
Supply chain and logistics group Imperial Logistics has acquired a 60 percent stake in bulk transporter KWS Carriers.
The new acquisition slots into the group’s Bulk Commodity Services division, enhancing its capacity to deliver comprehensive supply chain solutions to the mining and industrial sectors, states divisional chief executive officer Thinus Erasmus.
KWS Carriers provides short, medium and long haul bulk logistics services in the mining and large industrial sectors. The company operates its own core fleet and together with its dedicated contractors manages some 300 vehicles.
The company’s commitment to continuous and sustainable improvement through strategic, cost-effective and technological advances makes it a valuable addition to the Imperial Logistics stable, said Erasmus.
He added: “KWS Carriers is a fully accredited RTMS hauler,” he notes. “The company is currently in the process of completing the construction of a transport depot in the Northern Cape, in the vicinity of Kuruman, further strengthening and enhancing its service capabilities”.
The division’s primary focus is on providing dedicated transport services and end-to-end supply chain solutions for large industrial manufacturing plants and the mining sector, including run-of mine; loading and weighbridge management; short haul; stock pile management; rail loading and management; medium and long haul road transport; and 3rd party logistic services.
Erasmus said: “KWS Carriers’ service offering is strategically aligned with the Imperial Logistics Bulk Commodity Services’ road map going forward. The company is also a good cultural fit, which is an important consideration for sustainability and continuity.”
KWS was founded in 2003 by Quintus Venter and later joined by BJ Jansen van Rensburg. It currently operates in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, as well as cross-border into Mozambique.
Venter said: “The acquisition takes KWS into a new and exciting phase and we are thrilled at what Imperial can bring to the table.”
About Imperial Logistics
With operations throughout Europe and Africa, Imperial Logistics positioning itself as an extension of a clients’ business - building a clients’ brands alongside its own. Visit www.imperiallogistics.co.za
About KWS Carriers
KWS Carriers was formed with the idea of creating a bulk logistics solution that uses innovative and fresh thinking and it caters for all bulk loads in Southern Africa. Visit www.kwscarriers.co.za
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.