CAT-WWL Logistics works hard to provide its clients in the finished vehicles logistics business with a seamless, tailored solution to suit every possible need.
Having worked with some of the biggest and prestigious automotive brands in the industry, like Volkswagen, Toyota, Mercedes Benz, General Motors and Renault, the company draws on a rich global history of logistics expertise to provide the highest possible service in every situation.
CAT-WWL Logistics is a joint venture between two international powerhouses within the finished vehicles logistics space, France’s Groupe CAT and Norway’s Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, or WWL. Established in 2004, the company specialises in providing expert finished vehicles logistics services to Vehicle OEM’s and Importers in Southern Africa. CAT-WWL delivers an integrated range of factory-to-dealer logistics solutions for both locally produced and imported vehicles for the domestic market as well as for the growing number of South African produced export vehicles.
In 2006, the company secured its first contract and only had one operating site, but growth since then has been explosive. CAT-WWL now manages 12 fully operational sites across South Africa, all of which are contracted to major OEMs. The company is proactive in its expansion and has worked hard to gain well-established hubs in all major strategic automotive locations within the country.
CAT-WWL offers a customised solution for each client in order to ensure all the customer’s needs are met every time. In fact, it is this dedication to helping the customer find a process that suits them that makes CAT-WWL stand out in its industry.
This tailored approach to logistics results in many benefits for the customers, including factors like enabling them to focus more on their core business while CAT-WWL takes care of the logistics side as well as the benefit of cost savings and lead time reduction that comes from working with industry experts. At the end of the day this all adds up to an improvement in dealer satisfaction, which is what every business owner strives for.
CAT-WWL is able to offer its clients these helpful benefits because of its logistics expertise, global networks and understanding the local environment. However, beyond its vast knowledge and insights, CAT-WWL focuses on quality to stay distinguished in the sector. It is proud of the quality in service offered to all of its clients and boasts certifications in quality (ISO 9001:2008), environmental standards (ISO 14001:2004), as well as health and safety (OHSAS 18001:2007).
“We do believe we are one of the very few players in the outbound vehicle logistics arena with all three certifications,” says Karen Radford, Managing Director of CAT-WWL.
Another aspect of the drive for high quality services is the company’s dedication to green initiatives. In pursuit of more sustainable operations the company is currently working on reducing its CO2 emissions as well as establishing a paperless workplace. Radford says that the drive for a green business comes all the way from the top, with the environment being a high priority for shareholders.
The automotive industry is a significant contributor to South Africa’s GDP, as well as contributing greatly to job creation within the country, says Radford.
Recognising how important this vital sector is, the government has been launching new initiatives in hopes of encouraging even greater growth.
The result of these initiatives has been OEMs securing a number of new export contracts for overseas markets. The increase into this global market has signified vast change for South African OEMs. In order to remain competitive, the companies have become more cost sensitive and focused on increasing and maintaining quality, while decreasing lead time.
“We now see competition not only among the brands in South Africa, but among their sister plants in other countries,” says Radford.
Other factors that have been changing the market are the availability of skilled labour and an increase in competition. The automotive industry faces a similar problem to the rest of South Africa – and Africa at large – in terms of skills shortage, which adds to the challenge to remain competitive. Many companies have trouble finding sufficiently skilled workers to fill positions. Beyond this, industry growth has meant an increase in competition in the vehicle logistics arena.
However, healthy competition is welcomed as it just means that CAT-WWL’s superior quality becomes all the more visible.
Other changes in the industry have resulted from the recent “tsunami” of labour disputes that have washed through South Africa and its various labour sectors, mainly mining, agriculture and manufacturing. The CAT-WWL approach to handling these situations is one of transparency and open communication.
“As an organisation, it is important for us to facilitate and encourage clear, open lines of communication among staff, unions and employer bodies,” says Radford. This philosophy of open communication has resulted in a better understanding of the needs of the workforce as well as better management of everyone’s expectations.
Services and Projects
CAT-WWL offers a large variety of services that make up the fully-fledged, tailored solution. When approaching yard management for example, the company has a very different methodology to help optimise the entire system.
“We take a ‘scientific’ approach to managing yard operations for FBU’s (Finished Built up Units) focusing on optimising and sometimes even re-engineering processes and the flow of vehicles through the facility in order to increase productivity and maximise available yard space, while adhering to international quality standards,” says Radford.
Other areas where services are offered include storage of FBUs, supply chain management, fitments (which include decals and anti-theft technology), damage management, on-wheels driving, and rail operations. The company also offers more in depth services in terms of technical and carrier needs. Through sophisticated IT Intellect and software, CAT-WWL supports and manages multi-carrier co-ordination, which means a company uses a wide selection of multi-modal transport providers to optimise the efficiency of the supply chain. The technical services involve system managed maintenance programmes with acitvities carried out in accordance with OEM global quality standards.
“We work closely with our customers by developing an exceptionally deep understanding of their needs and challenges, to enable us to develop a tailor-made flexible solution capable of not only meeting but exceeding their FBU supply chain and logistics requirements,” says Radford.
Radford goes on to explain that the company’s competitive edge stems not only from this tailored solutions, but also from its wealth of land and ocean logistics expertise through its international shareholders as well as its solid local know how.
“With the forecasted volume growth expected for South Africa, the opportunities for tapping into new and innovative ventures are vast. We are currently hard at work developing new, exciting service offerings for building even more value into the outbound supply chain,” says Radford.
CAT-WWL already has a robust list of clients that includes big names like, Toyota, Volkswagon, Renault , Mercedes Benz and Transnet, however the company has plans to begin tapping into new markets that will allow it to expand its product offerings.
The company is going to use the South African operation as a starting point for rapid expansion throughout Africa. CAT-WWL wants to establish itself as the leading provider for vehicle logistics in South Africa as well as across the continent. The company will accomplish these goals by diversifying its service offerings, and continuing to uphold its standards of excellence and quality.
She adds: “We consider ourselves architects of the future of vehicle logistics in Southern Africa.”