Joy Global Mining has awarded the outsource contract for its distribution service to Imperial Distribution, part of the Imperial Logistics Group. The three-and-a-half year contract, which was won on open tender, represents the company’s first in the mining industry. “We see this as an exciting opportunity to expand into the mining sector,” comments Imperial Distribution Managing Director, Heinrich Strauss. He explains that Joy Global Mining’s distribution network comprises two components. “On the one side, there is an abnormals company, which transports the heavy machines, while the other element – and the contract we have secured – is the distribution network for spares and parts replenishment to the mines, as well as the breakdown service.”Imperial Distribution says it has differentiated itself from its competitors with a full distribution service offering. “As a distribution expert, we do much more than just provide trucks,” Strauss stresses. “We offer planning and transport management systems, proof-of-delivery (POD) management, proof-of-delivery automation (PDA), as well as exceptional responsiveness on the breakdown service.” The latter is critical, he argues, since the breakdown service demands an extremely high level of service and very short turnaround time, in order to minimise the costly repercussions of downtime at a mine. “The breakdown side of the distribution contract is very dynamic and very intense, with 24/7 service.” The spares and parts replenishment distribution runs according to a daily plan, and Imperial Distribution says it is already adding value for the client by optimising routes and planning.A dedicated staff complement of 15 drivers and three management staff have been allocated to Joy Global Mining, and will operate from the company’s Wadeville premises. Up to 10 additional flexi-time employees are on hand to assist when needed, Strauss explains. Imperial Distribution will run a dedicated fleet of seven breakdown vehicles for Joy Global Mining, along with six vehicles for stock replenishment. “One of the advantages that our client will gain – and which we have already been able to leverage – is our ability to call on Imperial Truck Rental to supply excess capacity when more trucks are needed,” he adds.Driving costs down, while maintaining critical service levels – particularly on the breakdown side – is what Strauss sees as Imperial Distribution’s greatest challenge on this new contract. The company is also committed to providing Joy Global Mining with optimal administration services, he concludes. Imperial Distribution is a specialised third party logistics (3PL) service provider with more than 80 customer sites in the FMCG, retail, packaging and construction industries around South Africa.