There to serve by sdsdfqw21


									                                                                                                                                                Vikesh RamsundeR
                                                                                  NUMBER 1

Clicks Group Limited
Corner Searle & Pontac Streets, Cape Town 8001
Telephone: + 27 (21) 460 1345

There to serve
Clicks Group Limited is a specialist retail group focused on health, beauty, entertainment and homeware.
The Group was established by Jack Golding in 1968 and currently operates market-leading retail brands
Clicks, Musica and The Body Shop. The Group has a growing presence in the healthcare market through
the wholesale distributors New United Pharmaceutical Distributor (NUPD) and Clicks Direct Medicines.

The Group has achieved market leadership in retail pharmacy in four years and has a number of market-
leading brands in the core area of its specialisation. The Group also has the most successful and widely
used customer loyalty programme, Clicks Clubcard, with more than 2,5 million registered and active


 38                                                      SOUTH AFRICA’S LEADING MANAGERS 2010/11    39
Top priorities                                           management. ‘There’s no compromise in delivering

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CLiCks GRoup Limited
The Group’s priorities have remained the same for        product to a store and we have created systems
the past three years. These include entrenching          that achieve that for us. In our business it’s “today’s
Clicks as a health and beauty retail specialist, buil-   work today” because you have a new set of stores
ding Clicks’ pre-eminence in healthcare supply and       that need stock tomorrow. So no one goes home
pharmacy management, enhancing its organisational        until the work’s done.’
capacity to deliver sustained performance, and ma-
naging capital and cash efficiently.                     Ramsunder is particularly proud of how his team
                                                         has responded to the challenge of turning the
Logistics plays an important role in achieving these     Group’s distribution centres from loss-making cost
priorities by focusing on making deliveries on time,     centres into profitable entities. ‘The turnaround
in full and ensuring that income exceeds distribution    happened over the six months it took to bring the
expenditure.                                             distribution centres up to a very good standard, and
                                                         two years later we’re achieving international best
Leadership profile                                       practice and benchmarks.’
As a business with 370 stores nationwide, getting
products into stores on time, in the right quantities    ‘There are a couple of things that helped to drive
and at the lowest possible cost requires almost          that change. One is the ability of the leader to take
military precision. The division makes about 1 500       complex things and make them simple and add               In line with this, we put in place a project to create    stuff that the customer never sees. We all take so
deliveries a week to stores that order goods via an      value. Therefore you’ll find that my strategies are       the right processes for people to be successful. I        much for granted and never realise what it actually
automated replenishment system linked directly to        very simple so that employees can respond to              don’t believe that someone wakes up in the mor-           takes to get a product into our hands.’
its three regional distribution centres. The general     them. Employees were party to the development of          ning and says “I want to fail today”.’
who commands the army of 800 workers is Vikesh           that strategy. I didn’t come in and impose it. We put                                                               The Group has received a number of accolades and
Ramsunder, Clicks’ Head of Logistics since 2008.         the challenges on the table and said “how do we           The success of the logistics division has had spinoffs,   awards over the past two years. Among them was
What appears to be a daunting task clearly excites       resolve these?”’                                          not least of which has been to instill a sense of pride   the executive committee’s first position in leadership
the energetic Ramsunder who becomes animated                                                                       and achievement in the staff. Costs, too, have been       excellence award by the CRF Institute in 2009/10.
as he explains the role of the chain’s distribution      ‘I’m very disciplined in my execution. A key thing        reduced through efficiencies. These savings have          Clicks was also rated the best-managed retail
network in entrenching Clicks as a health and            was to bring back discipline across the network –         funded the introduction of new, state-of-the-art          company and was recognised for its best practice
beauty retail specialist and building the Group’s        from the most senior guy to the person on the             technology and paid for improvements in the work-         for innovation by the CRF Institute in 2008/09.
pre-eminence in healthcare supply and pharmacy           ground to ensure that there’s discipline in execution.    place such as a heavily subsidised canteen (‘An
                                                                                                                   army marches on its stomach,’ says Ramsunder)             Another feather in its cap was its inclusion in the
                                                                                                                   and other hygiene factors.                                JSE’s Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index
                                                                                                                                                                             in 2009. Furthermore, the Carbon Disclosure
                                                                                                                   Ramsunder is fascinated by the science behind             Leadership Index (CDLI) rated the Clicks Group
                                                                                                                   logistics so much so that he enrolled for a B.Com in      14th overall in South Africa in 2009. The CDLI was
   Ramsunder is particularly proud of how his team has responded                                                   Logistics while working as an operations manager          developed to identify companies with outstanding
   to the challenge of turning the Group’s distribution centres from                                               at Clicks’ distribution centre in Midrand. ‘Logistics     disclosure practices. The company was also a
           loss-making cost centres into profitable entities.                                                      gave me an end-to-end view that, when I was just          finalist in the Ernst and Young Excellence in
                                                                                                                   based in stores, I didn’t have,’ he reveals. ‘What        Corporate Reporting in 2009 in recognition of its
                                                                                                                   excited me about logistics was the back-end – the         quality in financial reporting.                          »

 40                                                         SOUTH AFRICA’S LEADING MANAGERS 2010/11                                                                                       41
The logistics division continues to play a significant   respond to. I am prescriptive on two things: I’m

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           CLiCks GRoup Limited
role in the Clicks brand’s success in producing          prescriptive on operational performance, which is
strong sales and profit growth. Over the past two        really service, and on cost. The budget’s the bud-
years the division’s ‘on-time delivery’ has improved     get.’ However, Ramsunder still sees room for im-
by 28% and the ‘in full’ metric – which measures         provement and enjoys challenging his staff. ‘Even if
the accuracy and quality of the delivery – has im-       the reason is plausible I find that if I don’t accept it,
proved by 99,2%. ‘We measure everything because          I create creativity. I find that when you are accepting
I think what you measure is basically what you will      of things you rob people of their capability. You stop

                                                         Vikesh Ramsunder
                                                         head of Logistics

                                                         Years of experience: 17
                                                         academic qualifications: B.Com. Masters
                                                         in Business Leadership (Unisa)                              people from thinking. I’m very demanding in that         Among them are the attraction and retention of staff,
                                                         First job: Casual shop assistant/cashier                    way and they always come to the party.’                  a lack of adequate processes that enable respon-
                                                         age: 39                                                                                                              siveness to environmental challenges, coping with
                                                         employment history: Ramsunder joined                        The strategy of the logistics division is to pursue      an aggressive store expansion in the face of
                                                         the Clicks Group as a shop assistant in                     excellence through continued focus on service,           climate-change issues, and driving the transforma-
                                                         1993. Since then he has been a store                        cost and organisational health. The team plans to        tion agenda through tough trading conditions.
                                                         manager, regional manager and general                       implement enabling technologies such as radio
                                                         manager within the Clicks brand. He                         frequency, voice picking and asset tracking in order     Ramsunder and his team have striven to create
                                                         has also been the general manager and                       to further improve efficiencies. Capacity planning in    a tough but supportive working environment. ‘If
                                                         operations manager for distribution centres                 terms of infrastructure is essential in order to         you’re supportive and give the right direction, and if
                                                         for the Musica brand. In 2008 Ramsunder                     support the store growth strategy. It is important for   you improve the tools, it gives people an opportu-
                                                         was appointed as the head of the logistics                  the team to leverage Group assets, in terms of           nity to be successful. And success drives success.
                                                         division for the Clicks brand.                              facilities and transportation, to enable growth while    If you give people positive strokes when they do
                                                         mentor: Mike Harvey (MD: Clicks)                            controlling expenses. Inventory optimisation through     things well and you’re really corrective when you
                                                         time-out activities: Movies, gaming with                    appropriate picking, sourcing and supply chain           need to be, they get to understand what you expect
                                                         the children and travelling abroad.                         optimisation are also being prioritised.                 and they respond accordingly.’

                                                                                                                     The logistics division’s processes, delivery systems     He is full of praise for his staff. ‘These guys can do
                                                                                                                     and route optimisation networks have contributed to      anything. There’s such an amazing belief. Whatever
                                                                                                                     the Group’s ability to manage its carbon footprint.      challenge arises – it’s resolved.’

                                                                                                                     In spite of the division’s success, challenges abound.   ‘We have a philosophy that we’re here to serve. We       »

 42                                                         SOUTH AFRICA’S LEADING MANAGERS 2010/11                                                                                        43
                                                                                                                  We want to have a culture of performance but at the        ‘If you want to build a world-class business it’s

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      CLiCks GRoup Limited
          ‘if you want to build a world-class business it’s got to be                                             same time warmth.’                                         got to be built on a mindset of continuous improve-
                built on a mindset of continuous improvement.’                                                                                                               ment. Underpinning everything we do is a mindset
                                                                                                                  Technology is set to play a major role in the logistics    of continuous improvement. We try to do better
                                                                                                                  division which has already made great strides even         every year.’
                                                                                                                  before its introduction. ‘I’m a firm believer that you
                                                                                                                  don’t introduce technology into poor processes. If         In the firm belief that logistics forms the backbone
                                                                                                                  you don’t have an inspired workforce and if you don’t      of the Clicks Group’s expansion strategy, the
                                                                                                                  have the appropriate processes, the technology you         logistics division is continuously looking for those
are here to service the stores so that they can           it contributes to the growth of the Clicks brand and    bring in is almost guaranteed to fail because you are      small changes that can improve the economies of
service the customers because ultimately that’s           the Group as a whole; and the fact that 94% of          then trying to adapt the people to the technology          scale and create the necessary conditions for
what we do. Logistics is very service focused             merchandise into stores is distributed via the          and not the other way around.’ The Group will con-         growth. You get the feeling that if there is a smarter
because we have two-hour windows in which the             Group’s internal logistics network.                     tinue to invest in the distribution capability and tech-   way to do things, Ramsunder will inspire his team
trucks must arrive.’                                                                                              nology such as radio frequency and biometrics.             to find it.
                                                          ‘Can we do more?’ asks Ramsunder, before
Ramsunder is proud of his division’s achievements:        answering his own question: ‘Absolutely. Now that
the fact that his division has built world-class logis-   we have the basics in place we are going to work
tics capability to support the business growth; that      very strongly on people’s hearts and minds so they
it operates efficient and cost-effective systems; that    can truly understand the culture of the organisation.

   employee quotes
                                                                                                                                                                             industry sector: Retail
   ‘Vikesh is a firm believer in driving his people to study and to learn to read, as he so rightly says,                                                                    description of business activity:
   “You don’t know what you don’t know.”’                                                                                                                                    Retail and pharmaceutical wholesale
   mark Robinson, Logistics manager                                                                                                                                          and distribution
                                                                                                                                                                             products/services offered: Health, home,
                                                                                                                                                                             beauty and entertainment products
   ‘Vikesh is a visionary and inspirational leader, always setting challenging and stretched targets for                                                                     Jse-listing date: 1996
   himself and his team.’                                                                                                                                                    annual turnover: R12 175 million
   Victor andrews, General manager, Cape town distribution Centre                                                                                                            (2009 financial year)
                                                                                                                                                                             nett profit: R472 million
                                                                                                                                                                             number of staff: 5 079
                                                                                                                                                                             empowerment level: Level 5
                                                                                                                                                                             stakeholders: Staff, unions, clients,
                                                                                                                                                                             suppliers, shareholders and regulators.

 44                                                           SOUTH AFRICA’S LEADING MANAGERS 2010/11                                                                                     45

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