Al Futtaim Logistics, a leading regional provider of supply chain solutions, is hoping to achieve more than 40 per cent growth this year, according to one of its senior officials.
The company, which is part of the Al Futtaim Group, is looking to leverage the projected 6.1 per cent growth of the UAE for 2008 and an increasing demand for goods in the region, to boost its growth.
“Dubai is undergoing a major trade boom and the demand for goods is not likely to slow down.
This situation is likely to remain for the next five years and it gives confidence to our logistics business,” said Dilip Krishna, Al Futtaim Logistics General Manager for Operations.
He added that over the past three years, Al Futtaim Logistics’ operations have grown more than 400 per cent. Its range of supply chain solutions includes warehousing and distribution, road transportation, and sea and airfreight forwarding.
The organisation aims to maintain its position in the region as a leading 3PL (third-party logistics provider) logistics firm and increase its market share in the regional logistics industry.
Krishna said Al Futtaim Logistics currently commands more than 50 per cent of the automotive logistics in the GCC, moving thousands of vehicles of all sizes and types every year to locations throughout the GCC.
With the demand for vehicles in the GCC reaching an all-time high of 6.5 per cent, Al Futtaim Logistics is looking to capitalise on the situation to expand its market share in automotive logistics.
Besides transportation of motor vehicles, the company also does long and short-term vehicle storage at its facilities to minimise inventory at retailers’ outlets. It also conducts delivery inspection as well as parts and spares inventory management.
Service reliability, short turnaround times and value-added services such as pre-delivery inspection, give automotive clients a competitive service edge at reduced costs, thus providing them with unrivalled market leverage, said Krishna.
With good business prospects, the company is streamlining its existing services in order to meet competition, with many global players entering the logistics business in the region.
“We are investing heavily in information technology and staff training since these form the backbone of the business, especially now as it is getting very competitive,” said Krishna.
As part of its expansion programme, the company is investing more than Dh100m in new warehousing facilities across the UAE and the latest trucks with tracking devices.
Al Futtaim Logistics is looking to add 200,000 square metres of new facilities across the UAE to cope with increasing volumes of goods. The new facilities will be both inside and outside free zones to cater for all types of clients.
The company is also planning to invest in a robotic technology system for all its new warehousing facilities in an effort to have fully automated warehousing systems, similar to those used in major warehouses in Europe.
Currently, Al Futtaim Logistics warehouses are semi-automated, using the SAP R/3 IT warehouse management system, which provides customised on-line and off-line reports to give customers real time inventory information.
The company’s distribution centre at Jebel Ali Free Zone is equipped with state-of-the-art material handling equipment, height adjustable dock levelers, a flexible storage racking system and a cold storage with a capacity of 5,000 pallets for storing food products, pharmaceuticals and other temperature and humidity sensitive products.
Other warehouses are located in Rashidiya, Al Quoz, Al Ramool in Dubai and Port Zayed as well as Mussafah industrial areas in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, with more than a quarter of a million line items warehoused and redistributed.
A dedicated valuables warehouse is located at the Dubai Cargo Village, where luxury consumer goods and other high-value items are stocked.
Krishna also revealed the company is in advanced discussions with Dubai Logistics City (DLC), where it is considering acquiring land for the development of a new warehousing facility.
“We are in discussions with DLC but also looking at other areas where we are weighing the options of buying or leasing land. In four weeks we will have a definite position on what action to take,” said Krishna.
Al Futtaim Logistics’ current fleet of 200 vehicles is also set to expand to meet the growing demand for transport solutions.
For “less than full” truck loads, Al Futtaim Logistics operates “scheduled groupage” services, which consolidates shipments to various locations in the UAE and GCC.
To meet specific requirements of clients, Al Futtaim Logistics operates refrigerated trucks for frozen and chilled loads, livestock carriers, side loaders and container tipping trailers plus curtain-side trucks.
Krishna believes the group’s name plays a big role in promoting the company, given its achievements in various businesses over the past three decades. The Al Futtaim Group is one of the oldest and most respected corporations in the Gulf with businesses interests ranging from automotive, electronics, insurance and construction industries to retailing.
“The group has achieved notable success in all areas it has ventured into. The Al Futtaim name is a recognised trademark globally due to quality and reliability that comes with it. In fact, the name itself gives us a competitive advantage over any new comers in the market,” said Krishna.
He added that Al Futtaim Logistics is working with world-class freight forwarders, shipping lines and airlines, utilising state-of-the-art material handling facilities to offer a wide variety of global freight solutions.
Its sea freight operations at Jebel Ali Port include scheduled import and export Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL) consolidation services, as well as project cargo. An additional office at Port Rashid, close to Dubai’s business centre, aims to provide a nearer contact point for all its customers.
Krishna said the company was streamlining its online services to offer clients seamless and shorter lead times in clearance, import delivery and export dispatch through the internet-based e-mirsal Dubai customs module.
50%: Al Futtaim Logistics currently commands more than 50 per cent of the overall automotive logistics in the GCC
400%: Al Futtaim Logistics operations have grown more than 400 per cent in the past three years
PROFILE: Dilip Krishna, General Manager for Operations, Al Futtaim Logistics
Dilip Krishna was appointed General Manager for Operations at Al Futtaim Logistics earlier this month.Krishna has been with the Al Futtaim Group for 10 years.
His rapid rise within the group commenced with the setting up of the Plug-Ins ElectroniX brand in 1998. Moving to the group’s logistics operations in 2000, Krishna was involved in key account development and the creation of joint venture operations.
Krishna has been instrumental in the group’s strategic growth and is now keen to expand and leverage opportunities as its general manager.
He is known in the group for his ability to bridge the gap between commercial, customer relations and operations and for the successful development of blue-chip clients.
He is a chartered accountant, with 20 years’ experience in manufacturing, distribution, retail and logistics. Earlier Krishna was with KPMG in Saudi Arabia and later with the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum, as well as with Hewlett Packard Division of Modern Electronics.