The Complete Supply Chain Solution
Hala Supply Chain Services continues to develop and expand in line with Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision, the aim being to build a truly international logistics hub
Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Thomas Arnold
“How did I land in Saudi Arabia working in the supply chain industry? Wow, what a journey and adventure it has been. Following tenures with multinationals such as SABMiller, Total and Super Group and some other journeys, I was presented with the opportunity to make a mark in a new country, in an emerging market.”
For Pieter Spaarwater, the opportunity to head up Saudi logistics specialist Hala Supply Chain Services (SCS) was too enticing to turn down.
Joining in 2008 when the company had just two clients, the CEO spotted the enormous potential to grow the business into a national and regional supply chain industry leader. Add to that a long-held fascination of the way a product makes its way from A to B, and the perfect match was made.
“I have always had an affinity for how product moves from demand to delivery, and at the time of my studies I was fortunate to secure a bursary with one of the largest beverage companies in the world, sponsoring my studies up to MBA level,” Spaarwater recalls.
“At the time SABMiller was at the forefront of leveraging competitive advantage through their route to market and distribution strategies.”
Today, Hala SCS stands a 400-strong team able to procure and move product to and from any location in and out of Saudi Arabia, a one-stop solution which distinguishes the company from its competitors, which include many multinational heavyweights.
Fast-forward from 2008 and two clients, the firm now serves more than 120 customers, including the likes of SABIC and other large petrochemical companies, pharmaceutical giant Baxter, and more.
“One of our recent larger successes has been the award for distributing pharmaceuticals for the Ministry of Health in the western province of Saudi Arabia, a large operation including scheduled and temperature-controlled medicines,” Spaarwater adds.
“With our integrated solution of procurement, forwarding and clearance, transport and warehousing, we now serve a variety of industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, petrochemical, FMCG, retail and the government.
“Our service offerings and solutions are underpinned and supported by a warehouse infrastructure in excess of 125,000 square metres and access to over 2,500 trucks, with smart technologies supporting our people, processes and information flow, as well as providing visibility to our clients.”
Growing side-by-side with KSA
This sustained growth journey is very much in tandem with the economic development and diversification of Saudi Arabia more widely.
Spaarwater explains how Hala SCS aims to contribute to such an end. “Saudi Arabia is going through a very interesting period of transition,” he says. “Any change is accompanied by uncertainty, resistance and some tough times, but it presents great opportunities and the Kingdom has a very specific plan with its 2030 vision.
“Hala Supply Chain’s strategic plans are fully aligned with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030, both adding value to and benefitting from its macro vision as a regional and international logistics hub – indeed, these are exciting times.”
Spaarwater’s comments also reflect developments internally, with Hala SCS set to open a new logistics park facility in Jubail in early 2021.
Spanning 115,000 square metres, the site will include: warehousing for spare parts, raw materials and finished goods, including handling of dangerous goods, temperature controlled storage; container handling, cleaning and repairs; container stuffing and de-stuffing; silo business; value added services relating to product preparation, packing and repacking; reverse logistics; cross-docking; handling of reefers and ISO tank containers.
The company is also expanding its existing facility in Jeddah, a flagship site which has already been expanded in recent years to cater to increasing client demand. Phase two will see another 15,000 square metres added, the expansion currently in the planning stage and budgeted for completion in 2021.
Hala SCS’s growth over recent years has also encompassed a diversification of services, most notably a venture into the records management solutions space.
“This service entails the safe keeping and management of records and data for our clients, electronically and physically,” Spaarwater says. “Today, our solution offering has made huge inroads, gaining significant market share, serving clients like Bupa, SABIC and Shell.”
Such developments and expansions bode well for the future of the company as it makes its contribution towards Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030.
Spaarwater explains that a very targeted and specific five-year business plan is in place, with near term priorities being to overcome the complexities and challenges presented by COVID-19.
“The pandemic has posed some new challenges, especially with regard to ensuring robustness and resilience of our service offering and how to work, creating a new dimension of continuous improvement with visibility and adaptability as the order of the day,” he adds.
What the COVID-19 outbreak has also shown is the need to embrace digitisation and agility in order to adapt and survive, something which Hala SCS is all too aware of and actively working towards.
This is where the conversation comes to a close, the CEO offering his thoughts on the impact of numerous technologies and how the company is looking to respond.
He concludes: “Whilst we do not have the same luxuries of the larger multinationals to invest in R&D for digitisation, AI and automation of logistical functions, we are not left behind and have ventured into the exciting world of digitisation of the road transport market as a SaaS based offering. We are also evolving our records management solution into a data management solution.
“The supply chain fraternity is living in such an exciting time of transformation with digitisation, AI, robotics and 3D printing all taking place at a rapid pace.
“If you are not prepared to engage and participate you will be left behind and become a dinosaur. Although we would like to engage more, Hala Supply Chain Services is glad to announce that we are part of and will probably soon lead an alliance on the digitisation of the road transport marketplace.”
The message, very much, is ‘watch this space’.