PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

PLC Direct outsources logistics

March 2000 PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

PLC Direct has outsourced logistics to a Gauteng based company thus allowing them to concentrate on core business, which is the sales, and marketing of automation products to the industrial marketplace. The company will be more focussed and streamlined, according to Managing Director, John Mentz. “We are a customer driven, service focused operation and simply want to strengthen our core competencies. One of the many elements of our strategic plan has been to outsource the total management of our stock, which will leave us with a significant additional capacity for growth.

'We believe we are the first automation company in South Africa to outsource our logistics, which is already a well-established practice with many corporates and importers. The decision was not easy to take but we are delighted at the progress we have made and know that the improved service levels will vindicate the move.' added Mentz.

The new operation, which came into effect on 1st March 2000, will lay the platform for planned e-commerce, identified as a powerful new driver that will revolutionise the sales of automation products worldwide. The particular economic and geographical conditions in South Africa are perfect for e-commerce trading and it is expected that this, coupled with the ease of use of PLC Direct’s product range, will synergise to form an unbeatable business model.

Growth is expected to accelerate even further with e-commerce, and with central shipping from Johannesburg to all destinations in South Africa, PLC Direct is gearing up for standard 24 hour deliveries from time of order placement on selected items in the product range. This will be in place by June 2000. PLC Direct customers still get the normal 2-year warranty on all hardware purchases with product returns being handled at PLC Direct regional offices.

According to Mentz: 'Everything we are doing and implementing is designed to improve our responsiveness in the market, to move our service effectiveness closer to the heartland of industry, and to improve our customer satisfaction levels. Although we pride ourselves on service, we know that there is always room for improvement and our logistics outsourcing will accelerate the process.'

E-commerce is expected to avalanche all markets and PLC Direct have recognised that the future of purchasing lies on the Internet. However, while it is easy to order and pay electronically, getting the product to the consumer is the headache which faces most e-commerce vendors and the only way to provide the expected service levels is to gear up logistically. Outsourcing to the professionals will allow the company to focus on its core business, and not worry about the basics of distribution.

PLC Direct, now known as Automation Direct was the first industrial automation company to embrace e-commerce and their web presence has revolutionised the way industrial products are being sold in the USA. The model will be introduced in South Africa in due course.

Johannesburg was chosen as the location for the central warehouse due to the volume of business there. The logistics company is a totally independent operation and is retained on a professional outsourced basis.

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