DHL Express Invests More Than R22 Million in Johannesburg Facility Upgrade
DHL Express, the global leader in the express logistics industry, has upgraded its Johannesburg Gateway facility – a fixed base for shipment handling – based at OR Tambo International Airport, after outgrowing its capacity due to rapid volume growth.
The Johannesburg Gateway facility upgrade is the third in a series of developments by DHL Express to cater for the surge in growth experienced in South Africa’s major cities over the past 14 months.
The R22 million upgrade includes an increase in floor space and advancements in the technology and processes utilised and is aimed at meeting the increase in parcel volumes which the company has experienced in the region, as well as ensuring capacity for expected future growth.
Hennie Heymans, Managing Director of DHL Express South Africa, explained that the rapid growth in the Gauteng region has necessitated the expansion of the Johannesburg Gateway to efficiently accommodate the inbound and outbound flow of parcel volumes.
“The expansion will see an increase in the Gateway’s handling capacity from three unit loading devices to ten, thereby allowing the company to accommodate 50,000 kilograms in parcels, up from 15,000 kilograms,” he said
Recent infrastructure upgrades in South Africa include a DHL Express Gateway facility that was opened in September 2013 at Cape Town International Airport, which resulted in the facility doubling its processing capacity after replacing a previous station – a fixed base for receiving, sorting, re-weighing and transporting of parcels to their intended destinations – in Maitland.
The company’s Durban Station facility was also relocated in March 2014, from Berea to Riverhorse Valley, and was equipped with a new system making it DHL’s flagship station in Africa.
Heymans said that the Johannesburg facility will be able to handle 15 times more shipments than the Cape Town facility on a daily basis. “This highlights the growth and potential in the region and why DHL has invested in the facility to ensure that this demand is met effectively.”
Heymans added that the Johannesburg Gateway will not only see an increase in size – from 1,709 square metres to 2,800 square metres – but also the adoption of state-of-the-art equipment and world-class material handling process methodologies.
The new facility will showcase the latest in logistics technology, including a Pick-to-Light System to indicate shipment clearance and an additional X-ray machine which will ensure more efficiency and pace in shipment throughput. In addition, double-handling will be significantly reduced through the introduction of a telescoping conveyor to directly load and offload parcels.
The company has also increased its simultaneous scale weighing capacity from one 10 ton device to five 10 ton devices. This will allow shipments to be processed directly from the Gateway facility to the aircraft 400 percent faster via an in-house ground handler who will verify weight and load control.
“DHL Express’ multiple upgrades in the country allow for effective shipment movement and ensure that the company is able to effectively accommodate the growth in parcel volumes,” concluded Heymans.
“Our ongoing investment in infrastructure in South Africa and across Sub Saharan Africa showcases our commitment to Africa and we have a firm belief and vested interest in Africa delivering on its obvious promise.”
The upgrade of the Johannesburg Gateway facility commenced in August 2014 and is expected to start operations at end of December 2014.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.