African 3PL Providers (6 Misconceptions about them)
Third-party logistics (3PL) providers are companies that offer outsourced logistics and supply chain management services to other businesses. These services can include transportation, warehousing, inventory management, order fulfilment, and other logistics-related activities.
Undoubtedly, African countries have not fared well with Global logistics performance expectations. The reason for this lag in performance can be attributed to a combination of factors like poor infrastructure, regulatory bottlenecks, shortage of highly skilled and knowledgeable manpower, corruption and many other limitations that are not peculiar to Africa but really do exist in different shapes, sizes, and magnitude across the globe. Though the African logistics space is unquestionably fraught with its own painful challenges, human, material, financial and technological resource capacities have also been built to surmount or, at least, get around the challenges.
While some of the challenges mentioned are both systemic and physical, there is a psychological challenge of misconception among many multinational stakeholders about 3PL providers in Africa. They view the average indigenous freight forwarder as largely incompetent, non-compliant and bereft of adequate knowledge to manage the complexities of international freight forwarding.
While this might be prevalent, let’s also bear in mind that there are a good number of indigenous companies, that have an excellent record of compliance; the requisite structures, processes, expertise and experienced professionals to engage in all kind of freight forwarding services across the globe. That is why it is even more agonizing to classify these organized few along with the non-compliant ones who have little or no regard for structures and processes.
The following are the 6 major areas of misconception and they are key global Logistics Performance Indicators:
- Customs Clearance: While there are incidences of poor documentation, compliance, document control and recording system in Nigeria (for instance), a reliable freight forwarder can provide precise and efficient end-to-end document related services and help you save time and money in your interface with the Nigerian Customs Service. Forwarder with firm grasps of regulatory requirements; team of highly experienced professionals as well as a pedigree of excellence are able to distinguish themselves from a sea of unregulated and self-serving freight forwarders.
- Lack of Global reach: The inadequate global representation or coverage inhibits the average freight forwarder in this part of the world to pick freight from anywhere in the world, a good freight forwarder must have a comprehensive global network of structured partnerships to relieve clients of the moving freight to and from Africa. This also provides Clients/manufacturers with the opportunity to expand their business far across nations without breaking a sweat.
- Poor Customer Service: Many logistics providers have cited most delivery deficiencies to poor communication. Service providers stand out by adding value, and customer service is a substantial part of the equation. The use of the proper communication/customer service techniques and tools goes a long way. Excellent Customer Service is now the Standard, Not the Exception.
A good and experienced forwarder will have a proactive customer service unit that runs regular checks and ensures customers’ needs are met, keep the customer/shipper engaged during the time taken to fulfill quote requests. Also, ensure customers rest assured they know their goals and are aligned to meeting them.
- Poor IT infrastructures: Most processes are not automated and there is a poor information management due to the lack of proper IT tools. The most crucial tool available to successful 3pl’s is IT. A reliable 3PL company must possess an all-inclusive IT System that embodies a web portal that presents their portfolio and provides real-time updates regarding shipments which could be easily assessed by clients on whatever device of their choice. A system that integrates transaction management, business intelligence, workflow, collaboration, and forecasting. A proper enterprise integration tool that links the supply chain internally and externally to resolve customer-centric issues.
- Lack of skilled personnel: The effect of skilled personnel on logistics cost, logistics time, reliability, flexibility, and safety of a logistics system cannot be overemphasized. This is a case of not having the right person that understands the technicalities and intricacies of the business. This is a threat to general professionalism in the industry.
- Corruption and Non-compliance: The issue of corruption and non-compliance are consistently touted as Africa’s major challenges in freight forwarding and international trade. The commonest manifestation of these challenges is the demand and payment of “facilitation fees” which many would refer to as bribery, appreciation, and settlement, depending on the language givers and receivers chose to adopt at the time of their unpleasant exchange. While many stakeholders have argued for and against this misnomer, one only thing that remains constant is the truth. The truth is that there is no moral justification for engaging in acts that compromise compliance or making facilitation payments to tweak lawfully established requirements, procedures, and systems.
Fortune Global Shipping and Logistics Limited is an experienced Nigerian owned, TRACE Certified International freight forwarder that is backed by global offices in Houston, Belgium, Ghana, Mozambique, China, Nigeria and a strong global network of agents in over 120 countries.
We pride ourselves on superior price offering, transit times, services, and reliability.
We have developed a combination of experience, expertise and know-how in resolving complex and intricate custom related issues/challenges. Our systems/processes and structure support our ability to seamlessly manage the intricacies of documentation from origin to destination.
We have a robust IT System that enables us to offer our clients the following services with the requisite level of professionalism, expertise, and consistency.
The superior benefits of using a company with such wealth of experience, resources, and large network has made it easy for our customers to make us as their forwarder of first choice in Africa.
Fortune Global’s pedigree of high performance includes but not limited to the following:
- Air Freight.
- Sea Freight.
- Value added service/personalized services to any destination.
- Timely distribution.
- Worldwide delivery.
- Door-to-Door, Port to Port and Airport to Airport service with excellent transit times.
- Full Container Load (FCL) & Less than Container Load (LCL) cargo service.
- Project Logistics.
- Heavy Lift transportation/Chartering service.
- Customs services.
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