Lubricants manufacturer FUCHS Lubricants South Africa reports that almost 1 000 different products moved through its Durban, KwaZulu-Natal branch last year.
The Durban branch, the largest in the FUCHS group, spans more than 1 450 m2 and has 15 staff members comprising permanent and contract workers.
“As our client base grows in the region, so will our product range and throughput,” said FUCHS Lubricants New Germany branch manager Hayley Arnesen.
She adds that this includes clients in the automotive; industrial and manufacturing; agriculture, and food and beverage sectors.
Further, while the branch focuses predominantly on Durban, the area it services is substantially larger.
“Our branch’s territory covers all of KwaZulu-Natal and extends south to Umtata, in the Eastern Cape, north to Villiers, in the Free State, and west to Ladybrand, near the Lesotho border,” Arnesen enthuses.
The branch has a substantial stockholding, which is replenished regularly from the FUCHS Isando facility, in Gauteng, through superlink truck deliveries, with access to an overnight courier service, should the need arise.
These two factors enable FUCHS to respond to any changes in demand that deviate from the plan.
Arnesen points out that the facility is controlled using an enterprise resource planning system that takes into account historical, seasonal and forecast information to assist in planning stockholding.
“When stocking and supplying so many different products, it is always a challenge to get your stockholding as accurate as possible.”
Arnesen adds that the company has garnered insight into its client’s requirements in the event of a breakdown, driving the company to maintain stock of these products for emergencies.
“With such a large variety of products, we often need to cater for special storage conditions, which, fortunately, our facility can accommodate.
“On-time customer deliveries are a key element in creating excellent customer experiences,” she adds.
The Durban branch works closely with a team of logistics professionals to constantly improve its efficiency in this critical area.
Although not always possible, the branch prides itself on getting a significant number of orders out in under 48 hours to all the outer-lying areas in its portfolio.
“The range of products we need to stock to cater for such a diverse customer base is quite extensive,” says Arnesen.
However, with a full portfolio of 10 000 products and a reputation as the largest independent lubricants manufacturer globally, FUCHS continues to gain traction in different markets and sectors.
The Durban branch also employs permanent sales representatives, in Richards Bay and Ladysmith, to tend to key customers.
“The Durban team is extremely hands-on and prides itself on being highly active in the field, including regularly visiting customers, conducting lubricant surveys and maintaining close contact with customers,” adds Arnesen.
This enables the team to better understand customer-specific requirements and challenges.
Arnesen remains optimistic about opportunities for continued growth and expansion.
“We have had a few challenges in the province that everyone knows about, namely the looting and the recent flooding, which have been difficult for our clients and most definitely impacted on us.
However, there has already been a marked turnaround in business appetite,” she concludes.