In excess of 60% of the SADC group of countries combined GDP comprises goods that are weighed at some point in their transition to market, whether locally or as exports.
Weighing is therefore profoundly important.
Risks are Higher in Industrial Sectors
Weighing breaks down into basically retail weighing, comprising goods sold through large and small retail outlets, and the much larger component termed industrial weighing. The risks associated with deficient weighing within the retail sector are comparatively low, but the same cannot be said for industrial weighing and these risks have been growing.
Prior to the advent of the digital age, globalization, expanding trade within the SADC region, the introduction of axle weighing overloading regulations throughout SADC, the introduction of SOLAS regulations which has impacted all global containers exports by sea, industrial weighing was a mundane process involving trucks driving over weighbridges with the results being written down, and eventually captured into an accounting system.
In this “mundane age” of industrial weighing risks of deficient weighing were low, and the scale companies providing industrial weighing equipment and services were equally mundane. The business of these participants was essential the installation of scales and the maintenance and repair thereof.
Changing Dynamics are Increasing the Risks
The term “deficient weighing”, includes weighing done on devices that are unapproved, weighing done on devices that are inaccurate, weighing software that is not compliant and weighing software that does not enable real time weighing data to be supplied.
Understanding the significant risks associated with “deficient weighing” in today’s rapidly changing market place requires one to dissect the associated risks that arise from directly from the new trade dynamics, laws and regulations and technologies that impact on and shape our industrial trade flows in today’s global economy.
Each of these dynamics and the associated risks can be summarized as follows:
- Introduction of axle weighing overloading regulation:
In South Africa, the Road Traffic Act 22nd Amendment requires that, for every load, the transporter and or consignor must produce and retain proof that each vehicle in question is loaded to within permissible limits. Government weighing stations both in South Africa and the rest of SADC then weigh vehicles to ensure they are within limits.
Validity of Transporter’s Third Party insurance cover called into question without proof of compliant axle loading and total loading.
Failure to be able to prove full compliance with the Road Traffic Act 22nd amendment will result in large potential fines for non- compliance, potential fines for overloading at government weighing stations, the possible required discharging of cargoes at government weighing stations so as remedy overloading causing resultant delays and added costs and finally the possibility of insurance cover being rendered null and void in the event of an accidents.
- Compliance with SOLAS regulations on containers shipped by sea:
IMO SOLAS regulations require that, for every container to be transported by sea, the owner of that cargo must determine the gross mass of the container on an approved weighing device, and must generate documentary proof thereof in a specified format.
Failure to comply with these regulations will prevent containers being allowed into departure ports risking delays and added costs.
- Controlling in transit stock losses
The volume and value of goods transported around SADC countries by road are vast.
Stock losses in transit can only be controlled and managed if volumes of goods load and the point of loading and the volume of goods discharged at the point of loading are determined with great accuracy.
Weighing is the obvious way of establishing these values, and is highly effective when these values are integrated into an overall ERP system so as to make real time reconciliations possible.
Solutions to Mitigate Weighing Related Risks
Weighing related risks can only be mitigated through management having access to accurate and compete weighing data on a real-time basis. The provision of these types of solutions are therefore key.
While a number of software companies have sought to provide these solutions, they have generally lacked the base weighing knowledge and understanding of weighing devices, which has curtailed their success.
With one notable exception, most of the scale companies that historically focused on the supply, servicing and repair of scales, in the “mundane age” of weighing have continued to focus on service and repair of scales.
The notable exception is Sasco, which traded as during the mundane age” of weighing as the South African Scale Company. Sasco commenced trading in 1910 and was the market leader during both the mechanical age of weighing and in the in subsequent electronic analogue age of weighing.
Sasco transformation into the leading weighing data systems provider has been achieved by securing rights to the most advanced digital weighing technologies, integrating these devices with micro-computer systems capable of providing fully automated weighing solutions and the complete integration of this data to real- time ERP and cloud based solutions.