Gossip Is Good For You: Current Events and the Logistics Industry

As supply chain managers, it is necessary to keep abreast of the happenings in the local news that may have a bearing on how we run our businesses in the coming days, months or even years. To this end, we have kept our ear to the ground in 2014 and so far, the focus has been on the jurisdiction of supply chain managers interacting with freighting goods via road networks, more so in Nairobi. This includes those of us working in firms rooted purely in the provision of logistics services, as well as those in companies outside our industry that still make use of supply chain management via in-house departments.

A key development in the Nairobi road transportation sector thus far has been the proposed increase in parking fees for commercial zones within the city. The present rate of KES.140 has seen a sharp increase to KES.300, inconveniencing a great many motorist, many of who are opting for public transport as opposed to the nightmare of finding parking space then paying through the nose for it.

Areas affected include the Central Business District, Westlands, Upperhill, Ngara, Gigiri and many more. The implication for companies or firm departments dealing in freighting logistics is obvious: a 115% increase in parking costs, which will likely be transferred to consumers in product and service pricing. Though the new fees are presently being contested by the public service vehicles operators, it would be wise for supply chain managers to begin to strategize on how best to spread these costs and reduce the need to review product prices upwards in the interest of profit.

The Public Sector vehicles (PSVs) team is, however, preoccupied with separate issues regarding the issuing of licenses to operate. Transport principal secretary Nduva Muli explained that starting April this year, a key focus of the county leadership will be to reduce congestion within the city by implementing and enforcing stringent rules regarding where and how long vehicles can stop to pick up or drop off passengers. PSV vehicle routes will also be released, detailing roads that PSVs will be restricted to using, also in a bid to clear up the roads.

For the supply chain manager dealing with freighting, whether in-house or on a client to client basis, this is news to be welcomed. Less congested roads, digital speed governors keeping tabs on PSVs and automated parking billing all combine to help increase efficiency in using Nairobi roads. In this way, cargo will be more easily delivered to destinations, both due to reduced traffic jams and ease in selecting routes for logistics planning.

In other news of government commitment, the relaunch of the alcoblow initiative- testing drivers’ blood alcohol content on the road, with punitive action taken against those found to be, for all intents and purposes, too drunk to be operating a vehicle – towards the end of the year was met with the typical Kenyan cynicism. Many assumed that arrested drivers would fall between the cracks in our system, escaping to drive another day.

Photo Credit: mayianfm.co.ke

Photo Credit: mayianfm.co.ke

This national pessimism was tempered quite dramatically last month: 27 drivers who had failed to appear in courts to answer for their drunken shenanigans had their names plastered across national publications in a name and shame move lauded by many. That one of the names thusly shouted from the mountains was none other than a popular actor on a hit local TV series featuring a fictitious high school and a smart mouthed custodian was the icing on the cake for most Kenyans, a guarantee that not even prominent personalities would be spared.

Such a bold move has helped demonstrate the government’s commitment to upholding road safety, to the joy of supply chain managers in charge of freighting, as this increases the likelihood of cargo getting to the final destination without being derailed by drunk drivers, or by misbehaving company drivers that may have had one too many.

Current events in your county of residence do have an immense impact on your duties as a supply chain manager or logistics industry participant, with the implications being far reaching and often very interesting to study and predict. What juicy bit of industry gossip or influential news trend have you spotted so far?

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