Not Just Another 3PL Logistics Provider

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-By D. Barratt

Hoepners Supply Chain Solutions is not just another third party logistics provider. The company is a full service “one stop shop”, as CEO Lance Hampton puts it, able to cater to a variety of customer needs. Hoepners stands above the competition in its ability to adapt quickly to changing customer concerns, the services it offers, and the personal relationships the team builds with its clients and employees.

Although Hoepners began life as a general transport company, and has more recently been known for its third party logistics solutions, it defies this simple categorisation due to the wealth of services it provides. Lance describes the company as a “one stop shop”, and this is a fair description of a company that is able to provide freight forwarding, warehousing, inventory management, transport and a great deal of other services vital to the success and daily operation of its clients. Hoepners has truly come into its own as a global supply chain solutions provider, and now collects shipments internationally as well as domestically, and can provide entire supply chain solutions for its clients, which include Monster Energy Drinks, Twining Tea, and many other major world-class businesses. Hoepners is able to oversee the global movement of products and provide support to clients at each stage of movement.

The company, founded in 1926, began as a general freight service operating between Ipswich and Brisbane, but in the nearly ninety years since its inception has grown into a true full service logistics solution for its clients throughout Australia. This longevity and growth is due not only to the firm’s guiding principles, but also the personal relationships the company has developed with its staff and clients.

One of Hoepners’ greatest strengths is its people, the employees who become a part of the family as they grow their careers within the company, and whose dedication to service and quality keeps clients coming back for more. Lance identifies the employees as one of the many reasons the company has seen such amazing growth. It is standard company policy to promote from within and to mentor employees to work their way up to senior management positions. They are provided career guidance and professional development strategies to help them fulfill their greatest potential. Hoepners also has a history of maintaining high quality employees who are attracted by the rewarding work environment and the competitive pay the company offers.

Speaking with Lance, it is obvious that he not only knows, but cares for and supports his employees, guiding their career paths and developing their potential within the company. He is able to name many employees who began their careers on the shop floor and now hold upper management positions. “It is important to us that we promote from within the company,” he says.
Lance also identifies Hoepners’ light company structure as a factor in its success. “There is only one level of separation between the shop floor and the directors,” he says enthusiastically, a model which enables a level of quick adaptation and decisive decision making that many other companies simply cannot provide. Hoepners is able to react expediently to a client’s changing needs: “We don’t have to wait for the monthly board review to make a decision; when something needs to be done, we have the ability to do it,” says Lance, who is a partner in the company with Mark Hoepner, grandson of the original founder.

This type of support is possible because of Hoepners’ massive investment in information technology and the development of excellent web based services for clients. State of the art Warehouse Management and Transport Systems were developed by Australian company Wise Distribution Systems and enhanced between Wise and Hoepners to meet the specific requirements of Hoepners. This allows clients to remotely manage inventory, monitor the movement of products and be involved in each step of process. Clients can monitor the importation status of products as well as their delivery status. The client web portal allows for seamless interaction between Hoepners and its clients, who remain engaged and informed as to the status of their goods throughout.

Lance sees an exciting future for the company as the team continues to grow and offer new and exciting services to its customers. While much of the business world faces hardship in the face of poor global economic growth, Hoepners is investing in itself and growing its infrastructure and services by 200 per cent. The company is currently doubling in size as it expands its operation in Melbourne, adding a new state of the art facility with over one million dollars in new infrastructure, including wireless and radio frequency capabilities. This growth will also be accompanied by an increase in the company’s labour force. Lance expects this development to “not only serve our existing customers, but also to attract new customers.” Although massive in scale, Hoepners’ current growth is only the first stage of a larger expansion, land for which has already been purchased at Ipswich.

Lance identifies web based vendors as an area of significant future growth. With its new facilities and tip-to-tail services, Lance believes that the company is perfectly positioned to offer one-stop services to new internet vendors who can rely on Hoepners to provide solutions for the often complicated supply and delivery chain. “They receive one invoice and the rest is taken care of for them,” said Lance of the company’s ability to meets the varied needs of its e-commerce clients. Not only can Hoepners manage the international movement of products, but it can also handle strategic relationships with Australian service providers to manage even the minutest detail of home deliveries. “From the client’s end, it is a seamless process.”

Lance also recognises the importance of having a strong pick, pack and home delivery capability to support the growing internet presence in today’s markets and this ‘Route to Market’ capability is attracting strong customer growth for the company. Not only do existing clients communicate with the firm via the web portal, but Lance also expects to see new clients who find their way to Hoepners based upon the company’s online presence, which continues to be a major area of focus and growth for the company.

“One of the major issues,” identified by Lance within the industry, “is the lack of collaboration between trading partners.” With its new sophisticated information technology solutions, Hoepners is able to fill the gap in this area, facilitating the exchange of data between clients and the service providers in efficient new ways. “Our FTP system makes it easy for clients to manage their data and be aware of the status of their products.”

It is obvious why Hoepners is doubling in size and continues to grow in Australia’s logistics industry. The company’s strong foundation, dating back more than eighty years, has imbued the company with a strong ethical core based on valuing people, both internally and within the broader industry. Hoepners may be an outlier among many of today’s companies that make decisions based upon board reviews, but its ability to act quickly and decisively is one of its greatest strengths and most valuable assets as it continues to expand within the industry. Truly, Hoepners cannot be called a third party logistics provider only, for what it provides is a richer, full service experience that cannot be matched.

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December 19, 2018, 5:30 PM AEDT