PAXI supports SMMEs

Published: FY2023

Five years of PAXI –a sustainability success story 

In its over 100-year journey, Pepkor has built the largest retail store footprint in southern Africa, with over 5 000 stores across nine countries.

Getting logistics rights
The logistics involved in ensuring that product ranges from the Pepkor distribution centres are delivered timeously and efficiently across such a large and diverse footprint is a massive undertaking. Managing multiple trucks criss-crossing the country for different brands can be costly, for example, fuel usage and logistics, if not done right.

Pepkor Logistics (PKL), the group’s centralised logistics business, serves as the lifeblood of the group, connecting the Clothing and general merchandise (CGM) stores with distribution centres and hubs.

Over the years, PKL has undertaken a number of initiatives, including route optimisation, improvement of driver behaviour and real-time performance measures, which have contributed to the reduction of direct fuel emissions and fuel savings amounting to millions of rands. For example, fuel and time are saved by optimising the routes with one truck delivering stock to various CGM brands in close proximity to one another.

This improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of Pepkor’s supply chain forms a critical part of the group’s overall sustainability strategy in paving a road to green.

The birth of PAXI
In 2015, PEP assisted customers with submitting academic papers to UNISA from PEP stores by starting an initiative to transfer documents. With customers seeking more, this initiative paved the way for the launch, five years ago, of PAXI as a counter-to-counter parcel service. What makes PAXI so innovative is the smart logistics approach followed to build the counter-to-counter parcel service utilising PEP’s existing store footprint and PKL’s distribution network.

PKL implemented a reverse logistics initiative with PEP stores serving as depots for customers, whether individuals or businesses, to send and receive packages without investing in additional infrastructure. It has since expanded to include PEP HOME, PEP CELL, Shoe City and Tekkie Town stores.

Prior to the establishment of PAXI, trucks would return to the Pepkor distribution centre empty. With PAXI, trucks now return with packages for our customers, reducing the cost associated with empty trucks. It made sense to create a counter-to-counter parcel service using existing resources, namely our trucks already making trips between stores.

PAXI’s growth and evolution
PAXI celebrates its fifth anniversary as the largest counter-to-counter parcel service in South Africa.

The business invested and continues investing in proprietary technology systems that integrate infrastructure and distribution networks. Partnerships with third-party logistics suppliers who provide collection services plus continuous improvements in processes ensure that customers have access to an affordable courier service.

The more efficient PKL has become at managing the logistics in collaboration with Pepkor IT, which is responsible for PAXI’s technology, the greater the savings while adding value to senders, including the SMME sector. Since its inception, thousands of PAXI small business customers have used PAXI to send more than half a million parcels affordably and conveniently. For Zikhona, “PAXI works like other courier services, but it’s cheaper and has allowed me to send parcels anywhere in South Africa, even those deep rural areas.”

All PAXI’s bags are 100% recyclable and made from 45% recycled content. The reduction in virgin plastic has a significant impact, as it has resulted in the diversion of 55 tonnes of plastic from landfills in FY23 and reduced carbon emissions by 14%. The aim is to increase the recycled content over the next few years.

The experience gained, the skills developed, the synergy across the group, and the investment in innovation and technology all ensure that PAXI will continue to provide customers with great value.