Outsourcing Transportation in Africa – checklist

Below is a list of issues to consider when outsourcing transportation:

  1. Capability – Assess the capability of the provider. Does the transporter own the fleet or is he acting as an agent? It normally warrants a visit to assess assets, procedures, systems and skills.
  2. Reliability & reputation – Determine the reliability of the transport providers. It is often necessary to speak to other customers.
  3. Experience – Review if the transporter has any experience working with your product category.
  4. Capacity – Assess the capacity of the 3rd party logistics (3PL) operator. Assess the number of vehicles and whether they will be able to handle the desired volume on the selected routes.
  5. Transport network – Determine where the 3PL operates in the country.  3PLs often cover the major roads well. However, in emerging markets they normally have a limited footprint in rural areas.
  6. Less than truck load – Review if any other items will be distributed with your load. It is important that the provider is given clear information on the full range of items.
  7. Fleet configuration – Assess if the fleet configuration will be suitable for your product category and packaging. If not, are they willing to make changes to the fleet configuration?
  8. Material handling – Determine the material handling and palletization requirements. Finding palletized vehicles in emerging markets can be a challenging undertaking.
  9. Cost – Assess the cost implication to the organization. Road conditions will have a major impact on transportation cost, which escalate the rougher the road, as transporters need to factor in additional truck maintenance.
  10. Maintenance – Assess the state of their fleet and review maintenance practices. Also assess whether they employ qualified technicians.
  11. Security – Assess their security procedures. It is critical to consider load security for items of high value.
  12. Legal issues – Review if there are any legal issues with transporting your product category. Also understand if there are any regional regulations impacting transportation.
  13. Collaboration & sharing knowledge – Assess how they share Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and conduct performance tracking.
  14. Technology – Analyze their technology infrastructure and determine if there are any integration issues.

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