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South Africa is in the middle of a strike which has entered into its second week and is turning pretty violent at the moment.
Seabourne has had 4 trucks badly damaged and two drivers that have been seriously manhandled . We have had as of today a 65% turnout on labour and fortunately holding out for the time being .
Fuel shortages are unfortunately going to be our next problem with many Petrol stations not having Diesel at the moment .The frequency of violence is expected to increase as the unions press on harder on their demands .
Government has fortunately finally started to try to mediate .
Many main areas have become "no go" zones due to the violence they are as follows.
* East London -no deliveries taking place
* Johannesburg -central ,East Rand ,South Rand and Olifantsfontein
* Cape town - violence around airport and Epping
* Durban -Pinetown ,Westmead
* Port Elizabeth -sporadic outburst
* Pietersburg (Polokwane )-no deliveries for two days
We would ask you to inform your customers on possible delays due to the situation.
Seabourne not just a courier company
I was aware of Seabourne’s existence as a result of using their services in the early 1980s; I knew what they did: they were a courier company. Joining Seabourne when I did was very timely; within two weeks I attended the annual strategy meeting, which proved I was blissfully ignorant.
At some point in the meeting, someone did mention vans and another person mentioned flying, but that was only part of the story. As the meeting unfolded I was bombarded with phrases like “the largest carrier of live seafood in the UK”, “two year project managing multimodal distribution for a client”, “storage and distribution for Vista Print”; I didn’t have much to say, not after two weeks.
So it turns out that Seabourne Group isn’t a courier company, it’s a group consisting of third party logistics providers, supporting every part of the supply chain for a large portfolio of clients.
The division I joined is Wisden & Franklin (Solutions) with a large proportion of storage and order fulfilment (Supply Chain). W&F is a traditional, very well established and respected provider of rework and refurbishment services. It has a long history working for some of the biggest names in UK retail, as well as global manufacturing brands. The division has been very stable in a frugal marketplace but needed to strengthen its position for future growth, so I was very aware of the challenges to be faced.
The tradition that has helped keep stability within W&F has not kept up with developments in the market place. Eastern European workforces have skill sets at much lower pay rates which, in some cases, make it more cost effective to ship product there and back rather than pay western European rates. Our competitors are finding innovative ways to win and retain clients such as “free” transport for rework projects. Clients are far more demanding; just getting the job done well and on time is no longer good enough; we must manage information, expectations and customer interaction. Predicting outcomes from rework, opportunities to enhance the final delivery of finished product and presenting results in a modern and professional manner are all essential ways of developing client relationships and therefore growth.
W&F are still winning good contracts and increasing the work we do for existing clients. Recently we have converted the axles for 36k scooters to a European specification. This took a big team over several weeks to complete with very strict controls. Another very recent and challenging project was to inspect and finish 138k CDs which involved the development and introduction of new technology and processes. A manufacturer needed to convert 4000 garden power tools from European to UK specification; they chose W&F because we have a lot of experience in this area. Not wanting to be viewed as simply a local supplier we have very recently completed a large inspection and rework project in Sweden.
So from initially considering Seabourne Group as just a courier company, it has been an exciting and enlightening start with some very exciting times ahead.
The directors of Seabourne Group Limited are delighted to be able to announce the Group’s third acquisition in as many years.
Following the purchases of the Air Action Group in 2008 and a majority stake in Seabourne Inxpress PTY Ltd in South Africa in 2009, we have now completed the purchase of the entire share capital of the Gazelle Holdings Group.
Gazelle is a UK based business, operating out of Basingstoke in Hampshire. Its operations divide into 2 revenue streams; same day courier services and the provision of 3PL services. The Group’s MD and majority shareholder, Stuart Gordon, has accepted the offer of employment within the Seabourne Group and we are delighted to welcome him to our Group. We are sure he will be a huge asset to us as we establish a significant presence in the 3PL market.
We see this acquisition as critical to the Group’s objectives of providing a broader range of services to the pure freight and courier distribution that we currently offer.
During tough economic times, it is hoped that this continued aggressive acquisitive approach will strengthen the Group’s position and help us maintain our profitability as we approach our 50th Anniversary in 2012.
Seabourne Express Courier has opened up new frontiers in international express delivery services thanks to web software from NetDespatch.
The Velocity International software as a service (SaaS) provides a user friendly method for customers to book and track shipments online from any country to anywhere in the world. Used by Seabourne offices worldwide, including their recently acquired Air Action business, the intuitive browser-based system is helping the company to compete globally for new business.
“Velocity International has become an effective sales tool for Seabourne. The sales team use it to show how easy it is to use our services and that even the most complicated booking to any destination in the world can be made in less than a minute. That is the beauty of this system; it has been built using the latest web technology and designed with the user in mind,” says Colette Roeder, Seabourne’s Group IT Manager.
The system uses intelligent web technology to automatically produce all appropriate documentation required for domestic, EU and non EU destinations. This includes airway bills, international manifests, customs documents and export invoices. NetDespatch ensures that the system constantly evolves and is able to deal with different country rules and customs requirements as they change.
Other key elements of the system are its security and stability. Colette Roeder says that NetDespatch’s reputation in these areas is well known. “With Velocity International, customers simply need a web browser and an internet connection to be able to make a booking or to track a parcel. It is tried and tested and has proven to be stable, safe and reliable 24×7. It provides a very secure system, with NetDespatch hosting the data on its servers within a purpose built data centre” she says.
Velocity International integrates seamlessly with Seabourne’s business system, which means that there is no re-keying or duplicated information. Very little training is required to use the unified solution and many of Seabourne’s clients are able to master it in minutes.
“The system centralises our administration, which saves us a lot of time, and the customer can be up and running in a very short time. Many of them set up the browser interface for themselves, which also helps boost their own confidence in using the system,” concludes Colette Roeder.