This year was one of smooth sailing regarding our operations, says our Chief Operations Officer Thinus Ferreira.
This is because we have learnt to manage the inevitable constraints of an import-export business over the years and have finetuned our own production process.
Weather delays, port congestions and other difficulties continued to affect shipping, but Dolphin Bay has increasingly put mitigation measures in place, to the extent that the hurdles no longer affected our operations.
This adaptation required maintaining high stock levels but came with the enormous benefit of enabling us to produce chemicals without the threat of interruptions.
Our clients, too, are addressing the hurdles by planning further in advance, engaging more with their clearing agents and tracking their cargo.
“Any business will have its constraints, but Dolphin Bay has shown that with the right planning, growth is still possible.”
In another positive development, we have seen an upswing in the number of vessels serving our export route, and cargo is being loaded more quickly. Despite some days in which shipments were wind-bound, service overall has improved. We believe this is a positive outcome of the pressure the industry has placed on the shipping line, and we are hopeful that the trend will continue.
For Dolphin Bay, another notable development of 2019 was that we increased the output at our Mossel Bay factory, enabling us to reach higher production levels with the same resources, by making relatively small adjustments to streamline our operations.
We are also redesigning the floor space of the Mossel Bay factory and increasing its size in three phases, the first of which will be completed at the end of this year. Phase two will begin early in 2020, and by the end of next year, the factory will be entirely redesigned and modernised.
This is an exciting process for us all, and one that will make production much easier.
Any business faces constraints, but Dolphin Bay has taken the bull by the horns and shown that with the right planning, we can grow, nonetheless.
We appointed new clearing agents and warehousing partners in Coega, who sourced a brand-new, much larger warehousing space for us, with a new stock control system that gives us greater control over where our cargo is.
Our turnaround times have improved significantly, as we instituted a ‘just-in-time’ system with much less stock being warehoused at our factories.
Broadly speaking, consumer and business sentiment has become increasingly negative this year. In our industry, this sentiment turned out to be unreasonably pessimistic as, in the long run, the industry saw growth in key sectors.
I have grown accustomed to seeing growth and positive changes every year at Dolphin Bay, for the eight years I have been with the company. The past two years have been exceptional – a testament to all the work and care in addressing all the small aspects, which add up to the bigger picture of how our company operates.
Our team has done tremendous work throughout the year, putting in the hard hours required, and our factory teams have outdone all previous efforts. Looking ahead to 2020, I see Dolphin Bay upping our capacity even further, and continuing to build our company in phases.
I’m looking forward to seeing the new products that we’ll produce in future, and the machinery and infrastructure we’ll need to produce it.
Our aim, as always, is to be proactive, putting measures in place before they’re needed, to provide our customers with the best possible services and products, which will secure both our futures.