BCR’s partnership with ActronAir delivers business growth with innovative freight forwarding solutions.
As a leading Australian business known for energy-efficient and market-leading products, ActronAir approached BCR for a freight forwarding solution that would support the expansion of their customer base while complimenting the company’s focus on sustainability and competitiveness.
Since 1984 ActronAir has been inventing, manufacturing and supplying state-of-the-art air conditioning products for commercial and residential applications. Innovation has always been at the heart of its approach including the development of advanced air flow technology, energy smart zoning, sound reduction and temperature control technologies.
Founded by Garry Mundy and his two sons, Robert and Kevin, it is still a family-owned firm three decades later, with a nation-wide customer footprint and a supply chain extending to both European and Asian component manufacturers.
Located in Sydney, the company’s head office and world class manufacturing plant covers more than two hectares and includes a state of the art Psychometric Calorimeter testing room. The working knowledge vested in the company’s principles, combined with 30 years of research and development, has resulted in one of the quietest, most energy efficient air conditioning systems in the world.
ActronAir’s products are used in both the residential and commercial sectors including Food Services, Supermarkets and Retail outlets, Commercial Office properties and the Construction Sector.
BCR freight forwarding and 3PL services match the company’s growth
ActronAir’s rapid growth since 2006 has required a logistics solution that encompasses ever-larger volumes of product and an even more complex supply chain.
The company’s supply chain is a mix of offshore and onshore elements, requiring international freight forwarding of both air freight and sea freight (FCL and LCL) to Australia from China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and the United States.
ActronAir chose BCR to provide freight forwarding, customs and 3PL warehousing solutions based on BCR’s multi-regional expertise, efficiency and the customer-focused approach the company applies.
A detailed analysis identified the need to develop a freight forwarding and 3PL solution that would meet the highly specific needs of ActronAir’s key customer segments. Often customers have critical deadlines, particularly projects in the construction sector. Builders need just-in-time delivery strategies to minimise the need for secure on-site storage, making the effectiveness of the supply chain a crucial ingredient in growing this particular market segment.
Sustainability in the products and the 3PL solutions
“There has been a consistent increase in awareness amongst consumers of both rising energy costs, and sensitivity to environmentally friendly performance from their product choices,” Jon Maddox, ActronAir Operations Manager said. Mr. Maddox added, “Australia has a very unique and demanding climate, one which in our view requires highly energy efficient, reliable air conditioning products in order to perform, which we believe is not something you can guarantee by simply adapting products for our conditions that were originally designed for other markets”.
A focus on energy efficiency, innovation and sustainability across the entire business has been an advantage for the company, with strong sales results achieved thanks in part to a clear and compelling value proposition to Australian consumers. “Whether its product, improving operational efficiency, or delivering the best service support in the industry, you can be sure ActronAir will be first with market leading innovations,” says Mr. Maddox.
Sustainability is also a consideration in how the supply and logistics process is handled. BCR assists ActronAir to reduce its footprint both through ensuring goods are not damaged, and through facilitating the transport of FCLs by sea freight wherever possible, with around 90% of the international logistics movements involving sea freight.
Looking at the aspect of packaging has also been a focus. The company’s freight is easily damaged and requires significant packaging protection, but this brings with it huge waste. ActronAir ensures all timber, cardboard, foam and plastic is recyclable and minimises transport waste by ensuring full loads are utilised whenever possible.
Common ground, common goals
As Australia family-owned businesses, ActronAir and BCR have much in common. Both businesses take a more personalised approach to business than their competitors and believe in supplier partnerships.
They operate with a strong focus on teamwork, and build relationships around providing service excellence and cultivating mutual trust. Both companies have enjoyed strong growth, driven by a culture of innovation and a deep understanding of their respective markets and the opportunities available to achieve leadership in products and service delivery.
“We work with ActronAir as a partner meaning we are focused on delivering freight forwarding, 3PL warehousing and customs clearance and consulting solutions for the long term,” states Robert Hunter, Director with BCR.
“There is an alignment of core values which makes cooperation between our BCR team and ActronAir seamless.”
Navigating growth and change as a team
ActronAir’s supply chain requires a 3PL solution that can swiftly and smoothly match its shifts. As an expert in global trade, BCR navigates these changes easily due to its long standing global network and reach. Tasks such as consolidating small shipments to save on costs and increase efficiency, particularly out of China, have also been facilitated by BCR’s own strong supplier relationships.
Part of BCR’s solution includes prevention of unnecessary freight forwarding costs such as detention and demurrage charges. The dedicated BCR Customer Service Team proactively communicates with ActronAir to ensure that containers are picked up from the port on time to avoid detention fees, and empty containers are returned to the port on time to avoid demurrage charges.
BCR has also assisted ActronAir avoid unnecessary duty payments, including strategic advice and recommendations on how to minimise duty on changes in Tariff concessions. These timely notifications have resulted in many revocation applications or objections to the granting of a new Tariff Concessions.
“Over many years ActronAir has benefited from the alerts provided by BCR,” says Robert Mundy, ActronAir Director. “the alerts on new Tariff concession applications provided by BCR Customs Consultants have assisted ActronAir to remain competitive, preventing competitors from reducing the import duty they pay for equipment imported into the Australian market.”
Development of innovative freight forwarding and 3PL warehousing solutions
To assist ActronAir to gain visibility and cost control on international freight forwarding, BCR coordinated with its global network offices to shift their purchase terms from prepaid (CFR) to collect (FOB and EXW). This move increased visibility and control of freight movements.
“ActronAir trusts BCR to make recommendations on the most appropriate and economical service for their import and export sea freight and air freight volumes,” says Mr. Hunter.
Another solution aimed to “ease the pain” of ActronAir running out of space at its main warehousing facility due to growing demand. This made it hard to receive and inventory full container loads, so BCR ensured that containers were unpacked and goods safely and efficiently delivered loose to ease the strain.
BCR was able to maintain storage for them at various locations, from which BCR can then feed items through to ActronAir’s central site as required.
Guaranteed sea freight space during busy times
Another element of the innovative 3PL freight forwarding solution was BCR securing confirmed sea freight space from Asia during busy import times, with forecasts supplied 12 weeks in advance to the selected shipping lines so the space ActronAir needs is secured.
“An increased emphasis on forecasting has had mutual benefits, including reducing unforeseen costs and ensuring their freight arrives on time. This, coupled with the consistency of key decision makers at ActronAir over the past five years, has proven a sound solution,” says Mr. Hunter.
To ensure there is a consistent framework for engagement, a dedicated BCR Account Manager proactively engages with ActronAir to report on performance, make continuous improvement recommendations and stay abreast of the overall logistics strategy. Regular review dates are continuously scheduled to ensure two way communication and trust is built and maintained.
“Communication with ActronAir, both on a strategic and tactical level, ensures we have the most appropriate solution in place for today and for the future,” Mr. Hunter says.
Service levels that develop trust
The sense of trust is bolstered by the freight forwarding and 3PL operational mechanisms BCR puts in place, such as the way invoices and requests for services are developed, and a system of reporting that is tailored to each individual customer.
“BCR is focused on being reliable and responsive to our customers’ needs, and we work with our customers as a partner. We get to know their business and cultivate the relationship so as to develop a customised freight forwarding and 3PL solution,” Bill Urwin, Head of Account Management says.
Risk mitigation and responsiveness
BCR’s thorough knowledge and up-to-date awareness of what may affect ActronAir’s logistics and freight arrangements means most risks can be anticipated, mitigated or managed.
“We do receive regular updates on potential delays due to industrial action or adverse weather. BCR is always very responsive in getting things expedited when emergency situations occur,” ActronAir Operations Manager Jon Maddox says.
“BCR ensures our imported product and material arrives in perfect condition on the date it was planned to arrive. Delays in shipping, damaged or lost cargo would result in lost business for ActronAir and I am happy to report that DIFOT is regularly over 95%.”
The partnership between BCR and ActronAir shows how trust, a team focused approach and innovative solutions can ensure a growing multi-country, multisite supply chain functions smoothly.
|Industry:||Building Materials – HVAC|
|Situation:||Need for 3PL provider for international freight forwarding, customs clearance and customs consulting to support the dynamic global supply chain of a growing Australia-owned business|
|Services provided:||International freight forwarding including air freight and sea freight, domestic transportation, 3PL warehousing, customs brokerage and customs consulting|
|Result:||Delivered in Full on Time (DIFOT) over 95%|
|Key innovation:||Changes in Incoterms improved visibility and control, Tariff Concession advice that assists in staying competitive, 3PL warehousing that supports growth|