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The Key to Great Logistics By Chris Farnell

Cargo Carriers International Hauliers is a Zimbabwe based transport and logistics company operating extensively in the Southern and Central African region.



THEY SUBCONTRACT THEIR FLEET TO REGIONAL TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS BROKERING COMPANY, THE SABOT GROUP, THROUGH A STRATEGIC BUSINESS ALLIANCE. “The alliance ensures CCIH delivers a high quality transport and logistics service within the Central and Southern African region and in return this allows CCIH to extend its business opportunities beyond the borders of Zimbabwe positioning itself as a leading service provider,” explains company CEO Rory McWade. “The strategic alliance also enables CCIH to interact with companies in the region which facilitate loading, offloading, clearance documentation and minor maintenance of the fleet outside of Zimbabwean borders.” CCIH’s fleet is well equipped, with over 600 horses available across the region and, another 1,320 trailers with varied configurations that enable the transportation of wide variety of cargo ranging from concentrates, processed metals, fertilizer, tobacco, coal, steel, food aid, project steel work to other general cargo. The company also has access to major workshop facilities in Harare through their sister company Menwood Trading I ISSUE 39 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P55


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(Private) Limited. McWade says, “The workshops are run under agreement with Volvo and maintain and repair the CCIH Volvo fleet as well as offering services to other Volvo truck operators in the region.” PILLARS OF QUALITY The company’s success is built on four pillars of quality. The first of these is reliability. This is thanks to their skilled and trained work force and extensive in-house capabilities, including their own workshops and IT management. CCIH’s reputation for reliability is also aided by their excellent depot infrastructure across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and the DRC, as well as goods monitoring that takes advantage of state of the art satellite tracking technology. The company is able to be this reliable because it appreciates the importance of security. They use convoy security for loads that are highly valuable or high risk, taking every necessary precaution. “We have a manage to measure philosophy,” McWade explains. “If you

can’t measure it you can’t manage it therefore it could be a hidden cost.” Being a relatively small company that’s part of a larger group means CCIH has the best of both worlds, being a stable company that is still flexible enough to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. “We pride ourselves in our systems, procedures and ability to manage to measure,” McWade says. The second pillar of the company’s success is that they are simply the best cost provider. CCIH offers value for money and speedy deliveries. The third pillar is the company’s massive capacity, with a huge horse fleet, a variety of trailers and the ability to choose from a flexible selection of routes and loading/offloading points. CCIH has one of the largest geographical footprints in Africa, and with planned expansion into Tanzania, Angola and Uganda over the next three to four years, that’s only going to improve. The final pillar of CCIH’s success, however, is simply the wealth of experience their team has accrued. Through hard work they’ve learned a number of crucial lessons, and McWade is happy to share them with me. I ISSUE 39 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P57




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“Intellectual capacity is a powerful asset within any company,” McWade advises. “Nurture and save it like it was about to go extinct. There lies the success of any company.” The company has learned that a standardised fleet and size leads to more opportunities, that staff tenure and a very low turnover mean you can preserve your business’ pool of experience and draw on regional expertise and knowledge wherever you’re operating. “Consolidated years of staff tenure equals vast experience in all fields from technical, operations, ICT, logistics, finance, administration, cross border haulage and more,” McWade tells us. By implementing preventative strategies across all departments, depots and regions and continuously pushing an improvement drive McWade believe that Cargo Carriers can make sure that “yesterday’s successes can be improved today and tomorrow”. The latest manifestation of this improvement drive can be seen in the fact that as of the first of April this year, Cargo Carriers International Hauliers boasts certification under ISO 9001:2008. This certification testifies that CCIH can demonstrate its ability to consistent provide products that meet customer expectations and all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, while enhancing customer satisfaction through the effective application of the ISO 9001:2008 system. CCIH can proudly claim to be the very first Zimbabwean based company that has attained

this internationally recognised quality assurance within the transport industry.

NEW CHALLENGES Of course it hasn’t all been plain sailing. CCIH has faced numerous challenges from inside and outside the business. The company has had to deal with overhead costs, capital requirements, an aging fleet with rising repair and maintenance costs, document delays, congestion at loading points and depots and an ever changing marketing environment. Meanwhile they know they’re always at risk from price wars among the competition, political instability, and deteriorating infrastructure in various places around Africa. CCIH must address these challenges while running to keep up with legislative changes in a high regulated industry, which often change as import/export rules vary from country to country. Meeting this array of challenges is no easy task, but CCIH is up to it. “I’ll let you in on the CCIH secret,” McWade confides. “Have the right people, in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, for the right reason, to get the right result!” “Cargo Carriers International Hauliers remain determined at all times, despite the challenges we face,” he continues. “Client relations are of utmost importance and we strive to be flexible and adaptable when presented with new or changing circumstances to offer the best possible service.” Once again McWade credits the company’s ability to do this down to the vast amount of experience the group enjoys. It enables the business to be more preventative in its management of a decidedly unstable and unpredictable business environment. The key, McWade insists, is not to I ISSUE 39 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P59


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[ CARGO CARRIERS INTERNATIONAL HAULIERS LTD ] simply sit there and wait for things to go wrong but to get out there with solutions to problems that haven’t happened yet. “We are proactive not reactive!” he says. “We like to have a solution before a problem arises. We analyse and monitor operations on a daily basis using past and current trends to predict and counteract any possible issues. Processes and measures are implemented immediately, no delays are accepted, to create sustainable growth through operating efficiencies and continuous improvement.” AN UNBEATABLE TEAM But that experience and problem solving comes from a long established team, and that team can’t last forever. For CCIH to continue to do what it does the company needs a regular influx of new blood, but McWade emphasises the importance of making sure the people they hire are the right people. “We have a dedicated HR department,” he points out. “Rather than invest in people only to have them leave for greener pastures we take a holistic approach to our staff.” The company looks into every aspect of their staff’s lives, business and personal. Central to their beliefs is that the community has an important place within the families that work for the company. McWade says it’s important not to take good talent for granted. “First and foremost, we need to have an understanding of the fierce

competition for talent and qualified employees that results from a number of regional and workplace trends,” he says. Those trends include changes in organisation - more often now people accept that change is the normal way of life and the only way to succeed in the future. Another factor is the difficult and robust economy. McWade insists CCIH needs to understand the challenges and have a number of game plans to deal with the changing economic situation. More broadly, there’s been a shift in how people view their careers. Succession planning, job security through work ownership, responsibility and accountability are all things employers need to take into account if they don’t want to see their people go to green pastures at the first opportunity. “There have been changes in the unspoken contract between employer and employee,” McWade says. “There is work ethic, function, agreement and work execution that goes beyond contractual obligation. This needs understanding through working with tribal, cultural, ethnic, religious beliefs and differences. We are taking all this and driving it towards a common goal and purpose to sustain business growth and a happy and healthy working environment.” McWade says that a new generation of workers is entering the workplace through internships, apprenticeship programmes and succession plans. These give staff the security of longevity with the company and the knowledge of succession, allowing CCIH to invest in people for the future sustainability of the company. This is particularly I ISSUE 39 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P61

[ BUSINESS FOCUS_CARGO CARRIERS INTERNATIONAL HAULIERS LTD ] relevant at a time when baby boomers are retiring or going into business on their own after hitting the corporate ceiling, so employers need to work to balance matured experience with youthful passion. “We keep our experience as long as we possibly can until it is deeply entrenched into others,” McWade says. He also points the importance of understanding changes in social values, particularly the challenges of balancing home life and work to reach a happy medium. Today the values McWade believes employees place a high priority on, especially in Africa, are family orientation, a sense of community, quality-of-life issues, volunteerism, autonomy, flexibility and non-conformity. “To hold onto your people, you have to work counter to prevailing trends that are causing the job churning that’s far too common these days,” McWade says. “If we employ people to do a job, they have been employed because of their skills, talents, abilities, qualifications and possibly a reference by another person or company. It would therefore seem logical to adopt the adage that smart employers understand what their people want and need -- then give it to them.” This goes further than simple financial rewards and benefits. For McWade its about meeting employers where they are at so that they can concentrate on the job they have to do for the business. It takes on a personal family value with the company that goes beyond a job title or employment number. “Intellectual capacity is a powerful asset within any company,” McWade advises. “Nurture and save it like it was about to go extinct. There lies the success of any company.” CCIH gathers its talent anywhere it can, from recognised recruitment agencies through to personal recommendations, even going so far as to headhunt those that show outstanding performance in the industry. But wherever they find the talent it is subject to extensive background checks for qualifications, experience and previous employment. But the process doesn’t end there. CCIH’s staff are continually working to improve themselves through training programmes and annual performance reviews where people can set objectives and measure their performance. That’s how CCIH invests in its people. THE FUTURE OF LOGISTICS It’s an exciting time for the industry. Although there are issues affecting the market sector as whole, ranging from an over-dependence on the mining industry, to a lack of railway infrastructure, to price wars and political issues such as the Kasumbalesa border shooting and dollarisation in Zimbabwe, McWade is looking forward to some enticing future prospects. CCIH is looking into new possibilities ranging from entry into new geographic regions with either the Sabot Group or with other localised, strategic business partners, as well as new strategic P62 I BUSINESS FOCUS I ISSUE 39 I


[ BUSINESS FOCUS_CARGO CARRIERS INTERNATIONAL HAULIERS LTD ] partnerships with suppliers, distributors, and customers, creating communication channels for critical information and operational improvements. As the infrastructure is improved at various locations across Africa CCIH is looking at integration with future railway networks, taking advantage of the fact that road transport can provide point to point transport that railway cannot. Cost/benefit analysis is soon going to be underway for new routes between existing markets, while McWade is also looking into better ways to allocate the company’s fleet between countries. The firm is also venturing into new horizons, diversifying the business to help ship fuel in Zambia, start up a Volvo service franchise in Zimbabwe and moving into clearing and forwarding in South Africa. And that’s just for starters. We can’t wait to see what Cargo Carriers International Hauliers are going to be doing next.




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