ID Logistics introduces double-decker trailers to improve efficiencies

Johannesburg – The recent logistics survey conducted by KPMG concluded that South Africa’s supply chains have moved beyond ‘survival’ mode to ‘optimised’ mode, where costs, inventories and lead times have been minimised within individual supply chain functions. End-to-end integration of supply chain functions is the next major shift required in South Africa to make business more customer centric and competitive. Affecting this requires radical changes in how supply chain partners collaborate and how information technology is leveraged to provide end-to-end visibility and real-time decision making.

Etienne Juillard, managing director at ID Logistics, echoes this sentiment. “There is a need to become a lot more agile in order to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. Imagine handling dairy products like yoghurt – these are fragile and cannot be stacked to a height of more than 1.5m to minimise the risk of product damage to the sensitive lower boxes during transit. Furthermore, stacking palletised perishable goods on top of each other is impractical, considering their fragile nature,” says Juillard.

“In order to meet with customer needs, and improve load efficiencies, we approached Serco, specialists in design and manufacturing of insulated and dry freight fibreglass truck bodies and trailers, as a partner of choice to assist in realising the optimisation of trailer volumetric loading capacity,” adds Juillard.

In its current network set-up, ID Logistics only has four stockholding points, and the picking is conducted at the various distribution centres, which often results in low truck utilisation rates. The company required a solution to distribute heavy pallets, and improve vehicle utilisation (especially during peak seasons).

In line with global standards and best practices, ID Logistics decided that a double decker solution would increase efficiency in the transportation of fragile foods, as it has been tried and tested globally.

According to Serco, ID Logistics needed a user friendly and flexible system which would allow for the double stacking of refrigerated goods, so that inter-depot trips could be minimised. “We offered a trailer designed to accommodate a double level of pallets using a specialist aluminium double stacking system sourced in Europe to meet the requirements of ID Logistics. The aluminium bars can be adjusted to the required height to allow flexibility for different height pallets. The top level is fully self-supporting and able to carry up to 1000kgs across the span of each beam,” says Tyrone Deyes, Operations Manager at Serco.

ID Logistics took delivery of two Serco trailers through Aspen Logistics in November. The trailers are fitted with the durable system that can be used in both refrigerated and dry freight trailers. The system adds just 640kg in weight to a vehicle, giving a 60 pallet load capacity, and through this innovation there has been a substantial increase in loading efficiencies, and reduction of inter-depot long haul deliveries from six loads a day to three. These trucks operate from Johannesburg to Polokwane.

Another key challenge ID Logistics had to overcome was the efficient loading and offloading of the double level system where their normal equipment was more suited to the standard floor level pallets. “We are investing in a pallet jack equipment that is suited for the multi-tier levels. The savings achieved with the system have been significant,” says Juillard.

Tyrone Deyes adds that with increasing fuel costs, this innovative solution enables transporters to optimise load fill and thereby reduce carbon emissions and running costs.

Juillard states that for this project to be successful close collaborations with hauliers and manufacturers and appropriate training and commitment of the operations staff played a key role.