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Article by Nampak 9 July 2012

Nampak Flexible is top of the supply chain

Supply chains are the lifeblood of businesses big and small, so it should come as no surprise that Africa’s flexible packaging leader, Nampak Flexible, has made managing supply chains the heart and soul of its business offering.

Following a comprehensive strategic review, which saw the company radically change the way it operates and improve the ability to manage supply chains from beginning to end, Nampak Flexible emerged with a competitive advantage, particularly in the FMCG space, where there are a number of complexities in terms of forecasting and planning demand. According to Grant Page, Nampak Flexible’s Supply Chain and Operations Director, in order to achieve this a number of process changes were made.

To move beyond the basics and really up the game, Nampak Flexible engaged the world leaders in supply chain benchmarking, Oliver Wight. A comprehensive audit identified a number of key focus areas and a series of action plans were developed to deliver critical performance objectives. Once achieved, Nampak Flexible was awarded the latest Class A Oliver Wight Capable Integrated Business Planning Standard.

As a result of the initiatives that have been put in place, Nampak Flexible has doubled productivity and improved efficiency, with lead-times at a third of their previous levels. The business has also experienced real volume growth without incurring the cost of major capital expenditure programmes. At the same time, operating costs have been reduced. For example, the number of sites has gone down from 20 to four and there are only seven directors where there were 57 previously. To complement the Oliver Wight journey, the company defined a customer-centric vision, which infuses everything it does. A six-point recovery plan was also put in place to drive positive change.

Oliver Wight’s approach to Integrated Business Planning streamlines business processes and breaks down silos. “Everything is aligned and people are empowered to engage constructively across all levels. A pipeline ensures we have a long-term view of our customers’ needs in the future, enabling effective decision-making that embraces today and tomorrow. For example, when buying a new piece of equipment, we know what it needs to do immediately and what it’s going to need to do in 12 or 18 months’ time. This capability is a massive advantage, especially in the area of flexible packaging, which is advancing so rapidly,” says Page.

As a result of the work done by Nampak Flexible, the company has won many awards, such as a gold award at the 2011 SA Logistics Achiever Awards as well as Nampak Group Business of the Year. “In 2004, our business was in trouble and it seemed like we were in a big, black hole. However, a new leadership team was put in place and we’ve managed to change tack. In line with our commitment to customer centricity, we’re very disciplined regarding the type of work we do, namely high quality, premium flexible packaging. We’ve picked a niche and we’re sticking with it. And the approach is reaping rewards for everyone concerned, especially our customers, who are enjoying better quality and service, as well as the streamlined planning of active dialogue and involvement.”
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