Success Story: Interview with Mario Ghosn, GM of SNS
Two years ago, we featured SNS in Logistics Middle East as one of the leading providers of Supply Chain Solutions in the Middle-East. Since then, SNS has grown geographically adding new logos to its customer list as well as introducing several new services to the market. We sat down with the company’s general manager, Mario Ghosn, to find out about what SNS has been up to.
What are the new services that SNS has added to its portfolio in the recent years?
In the last couple of years, SNS has firmly established itself as a leading provider of supply chain consultancies in the Middle-East. We have provided several renowned consumer goods distributors with full supply chain audits, completed a warehousing network analysis to a Fortune 500 multinational, assessed various DC operations, as well as designed many warehouses and distribution centres for leading food producers, distributors and automotive players. We have a strong team of consultants led by two seniors with over ten years’ experience in the supply chain industry to guarantee the high quality of our deliverables.
We have also added various new items of software to our portfolio of solutions, including demand planning and transportation management systems. With regard to the Demand Planning solution, we firmly believe that large amounts of money are spent on procurement and carrying inventory in the market in such a way that companies are bound to view such solutions as the next logical step in improving their supply chain.
Finally, we have also established a recruiting service for logistics personnel. We help our customers find the right resources to boost their supply chain team. We have successfully filled around 10 different vacant management positions in the gulf.
What distinguishes SNS consulting services from other leading consulting companies?
For starters, we are the only locally based company focused exclusively on supply chain. Our experience in this field stems from more than 15 years of providing various solutions to different players in the market. Whereas other companies still rely on research or western practices in logistics, SNS knows what works and what doesn’t work in the Middle East. Nonetheless, experience is not our only strength; we have established across the years our own community or network of supply chain professionals from around the world and partnered with consultants from Europe and the US, with whom we share knowledge, organise seminars and set up internal training sessions to ensure we are always up-to-speed with advancements in the field.
We have also customised our deliverables in a practical manner to suit the local culture. We provide straight to-thepoint analysis and a clear roadmap to ensure that our customers know what to do and when to do it in order to achieve the desired results.
Another major difference is that SNS is able to implement the recommended solutions. We have specialised consultants and staff that can deliver training, develop and implement operating procedures, complete inventory counts and do stock analysis, and reorganise warehouses as well as support daily operations.
Finally, we employ primarily local consultants that speak Arabic and English and are fully aware of the local culture and constraints.
Why do you believe companies should hire SNS to conduct their warehouse design rather than getting it from racking companies or even architects?
Many companies rely on their racking providers to complete the warehouse design which results in designing the warehouse in two separate phases: an architect does the building planning and the racking company furnishes it. This normally means that the design is not optimised. The warehouse is a building that needs to be designed from the inside out. You have to first assess the situation, study the stock and its movements, then evaluate the required space before proceeding to other phases. The choice of land, the positioning of the warehouse and important auxiliary areas such as battery charging rooms and offices are all elements that the architect does not consider from a logistics perspective. Things like goods flow, security risk, aisle width, direction and so forth are easily overlooked.
From their side, racking companies are, naturally, biased towards their own products and cannot invest the required amount of time - we are talking of four to five weeks - in analysing every customer’s requirement. SNS can provide a global look at the design project and ensure that customers are benefiting from every square meter they are investing in.
Why have you entered the recruiting business? Aren’t there too many players?
Although some recruiting agencies do have the capability of finding resources in logistics, we believe you need a logistician to assess a logistician. Being a leader in the field, SNS has access to hundreds of CVs, knows who is looking for a job, is able to truly assess the qualifications of a candidate, and can easily provide the necessary support to customers. Not only do we provide recruiting but we also are able to host a resource for some time and train him at SNS before he assumes his position at the customer. Besides, as soon as we announced this service we had many of requests.
Have you introduced any new technology to the warehousing recently?
We have just completed the implementation of voice-picking technology at a leading retailer in Dubai. This is a major enhancement to the most costly operation in the warehouse, since pickers account for roughly 40% of the labour costs. With voice technology, pickers have their hands and eyes free to focus on the pick itself and minimise errors. The cost is very close to that of standard handhelds but the efficiency is much higher. We believe this technology will definitely be required by most distributors in the market.
You develop and deliver supply chain training: can you tell us a little more about it?
We have in the last few years developed a list of courses for supply chain to help our customers improve their skills set. Our courses are short, from one to three days, and are offered to different levels, from introductory such as Fundamentals of Supply Chain to advanced such as Demand Planning and Warehouse Slotting. These courses are offered publicly as well as privately. We have also translated two of our best-sellers into Arabic: ‘Warehousing Best Practices’ and ‘Fundamentals of Supply Chain’. These have been great successes in Saudi Arabia as we have already had a couple of hundred attendees. Finally, we are providing many companies with customised training curriculum for their staff. We conduct assessment of resources and develop an appropriate training plan based on their needs.
How did SNS perform in the last few years?
SNS has been constantly growing since it was founded and the last few years were no different. We have increased our staff which now stands at 32 consultants. We have also strengthened our presence in South Africa by adding to our customers list such companies as Barloworld, Parmalat and UTi. We have affirmed our position in the market as the leading provider of supply chain solutions with key go-lives in software services in Saudi Arabia with leading Logistics providers, Pharmaceutical and Consumer Goods distributors. We have now around 70 customers using our software at over 300 sites. We have conducted more than a dozen consultancies in the last couple of years alone and have many
more lined up.
What are some of your latest achievements?
We successfully went live on the WMS solution with ISUZU Motors in Thailand. We have been awarded the implementation of the solution by ISUZU Motors HQ in Japan after seeing our success at their logistics provider in the UAE and we have rolled the first site. We are sure this will be only one of many. We were also awarded the implementation of the WMS by another major automotive distributor, Honda Mexico. The solution is expected to be live in October. SNS has truly become an international player in the implementation of supply chain solutions, thanks mainly to our unique mix of operational and technical skills.