While FleetWatch concentrates its efforts on trucks and the many issues surrounding them, it is good to occasionally go ‘back-stage’ from the road and give credit to the many support services and enablers that make up the other links in the total supply chain. In this case, we pay tribute to leading warehouse equipment supplier, Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC), on being named SPAR’s 2015 Equipment Supplier of the Year.
We also do so because many in the trucking industry will recognise the similarities between the Goscor-SPAR relationship and what truck suppliers and truck operators are trying to achieve in their relationships. This is an example to follow for it goes way beyond the initial price tag. Read on…
According to GLTC managing director, Darryl Shafto, this has to be the most important accolade ever received by his company. “SPAR has many suppliers with many of them being much bigger than we are. It is therefore a monumental privilege for us to have been singled out in this manner,” he says.
SPAR Group logistics executive, Trevor Currie, says the award is well deserved. “It’s not just the quality of the product or of the after-sales support that makes the difference with Goscor, it’s the complete package. They are prepared to go the extra mile not only to help ensure excellence in our logistics division but also its cost effectiveness in the long-term. They are a partner in our business in the truest sense of the word,” he says.
Now here’s something truckers will recognise. On the question of value, Currie says although the capital price on Goscor’ equipment is usually higher than their competitors, Goscor has consistently delivered on the promise of achieving the lowest total cost of ownership over the equipment life.
“In SPAR’s business, this boils down to the cost of moving a pallet over the life-time of an individual materials handling machine and, in this regard, the SPAR-Goscor partnership has managed to create an enviable level of efficiency in the warehouse through constant and consistent operational cost reduction,” he says.
GLTC sales director Patrick Barber says that from the outset, GLTC’s relationship with SPAR was unique. “The capital investment for SPAR was certainly higher with us than it would have been with most of our competitors. But we learnt very quickly that they completely understood the lifetime-cost concept,” Barber says.
He adds that operational cost reduction has been achieved through focusing on a cluster of activities like driver assessment, intrinsic fleet management and, of course, the highest levels of service and maintenance. Hey, that’s truck talk!
Currie adds that one of the most impressive characteristics of the Goscor team is its willingness to listen. “We have a protocol whereby we measure the performance of our suppliers on a quarterly basis. Goscor has consistently achieved the highest ratings for these service/quality assessments. One of the reasons for this is that they are prepared to listen when things aren’t going one hundred per cent and to make the necessary changes immediately. This is a trait that makes all the difference,” says Currie.
SPAR is experimenting with outsourcing the entire materials handling equipment (MHE) workshop management in various Distribution Centres to Goscor – a function that has traditionally been handled in-house.
“We started in Nelspruit and on comparing costs, found that Goscor did it in an efficient and cost effective manner while still achieving the high levels of productivity required. Based on this, Goscor has now taken over in KZN and things are going well there too.
Shafto says the bottom line is that there is a mutual respect between SPAR and Goscor. “We’ve been true to our promise in delivering the lowest cost of ownership across the fleet of our MHE and they have, in turn, allowed us to do what has to be done to achieve this.
“Often nit-picking micro-management can destroy potential and fortunately this type of management is just not part of the visionary company that is SPAR. It is a thoroughly professional organisation and this award is hugely meaningful for each and every one of us at Goscor Lift Truck Company,” concludes Shafto.