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Sun 1 Apr 2007 05:48 PM

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Time counts for Toshiba

Notebook vendor claims it can halve lead times following relocation of MEA inventory from Germany to Jebel Ali.

Notebook vendor Toshiba will now be able to stock product locally after opening a logistics and distribution hub in Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone.

The facility will serve 21 countries across the MEA region, including Saudi, Kuwait, Egypt and Lebanon. Toshiba also claims that the opening of the hub will allow it to provide notebooks with Arabised software and keyboards.

"Prior to the opening of this hub we were shipping goods from our factory in China and it used to go all the way to our factory in Germany," explained Santosh Varghese, regional general manager at Toshiba Computer Systems Middle East and Africa. "From there it used to ship to various destinations across the Middle East and Africa, and that was costing us a lot of money. Now what we're doing is shipping it directly to the factory through this new logistics hub in Jebel Ali, and from Jebel Ali it goes to different markets within the Middle East and Africa."

The logistics operations of the new hub will be outsourced to the Panalpina Group and RHS Logistics and the vendor is convinced the move will prove to be hugely beneficial to its partners. "We've just shortened the lead time from four weeks to two weeks, so the route-to-market is not so delayed," claimed Varghese. "Therefore, whenever we introduce a new product, it doesn't have to wait an entire month to reach the market."

The vendor claims that Jebel Ali was an obvious choice as a central hub for distribution to the Middle East, citing Dubai's highly developed infrastructure and continued investment in the Jebel Ali Free Zone as factors that make it one of the "major distribution points" in the GCC region.

"Almost 80% of our business is done in the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and the new hub will significantly improve our route to market in terms of speed and flexibility," concluded Varghese.

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