GEORGE NEWS - The Parmalat SA (PSA) distribution centre in the Tamsui industrial area of George is closing down - just one of many Parmalat operations countrywide getting the chop.
Responding to an inquiry from the George Herald, the Parmalat head-office in Stellenbosch did not provide a definite date or divulge how many employees are affected. It did state, though, that "consultations with affected employees as prescribed by legislation" have been completed.
Other sites affected are the cross-docks at Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Polokwane, and Upington, the distribution centres in Cape Town, Durban, East London, Gauteng, and Port Elizabeth, as well as the production plant in East London.
The closures are part of changes to PSA's distribution model and are aimed at improving the company's efficiency and service levels, according to general manager Eugene Swarts.
He said PSA business reviews showed that changes in the retail distribution landscape rendered some of the company's distribution networks under-utilised and inefficient.
"Some of our major customers have implemented centralised distribution models (CDCs), which means that PSA needs to deliver its products to CDCs rather than to the shops throughout the distribution region.
"This causes downstream distribution networks to smaller and remote delivery points to be under-utilised and inefficient. We will become less competitive and our business will suffer if we do not adjust our operating model accordingly."
To mitigate adverse effects on impacted employees, the company is trying to find alternative employment for them where possible.
"The changes started earlier in May and will be implemented nationally in a staggered approach over a five-week period," said Swarts.
Parmalat SA's parent company is the French international dairy company Lactalis. Parmalat brands include Bonnita, Galbani, Aylesbury, Steri Stumpie, Président, Melrose, Simonsberg and Fabulite.
The company has been active in the South African dairy industry since 1998.
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