Winner of 2023 Innovation Awards announced

Representatives of the automotive aftermarket and related industries converged on the National Exhibition Centre, Nasrec, Johannesburg earlier (September 5) for the announcement of the winner of the Automechanika Johannesburg 2023 Innovation Awards.

The ultimate accolade in the coveted competition went to Strategic Fulfilment Branch Mapping, developed by Motus Aftermarket Parts, in partnership with Swedish-based Syncron. 

Eight products were chosen as finalists by the panel of expert judges that included representatives of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), the Automotive Industry Export Council (AIEC), the Motor Industry Workshop Association and the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA). After an intensive scrutiny process, Strategic Fulfilment Branch Mapping came out on top by scoring the highest points average on aspects such as design, quality, efficiency, functionality, practicality, value for money, environmental friendliness and – of course – innovation. 

Explained Ronelle Kellerman, one of the driving forces behind the concept: “Our initiative revolves around a new way in planning stock demand and managing inventory. Poor stock availability led to customers buying stock from any of our regional branches, instead of their closest branch. This meant that our historic sales by branch did not reflect the actual requirement of the customers in that region, but rather what was sold, regardless of where the customer was located. Stock would then be replenished into the incorrect branch based on the forecast. Simply put, this meant that we stocked the wrong products in the wrong quantities in the wrong branches, all based on historical demand.”

According to the judges, the innovation of Strategic Fulfilment Branch Mapping lies in the manner in which it corrects historical imbalances caused by inefficient stock distribution. Unlike conventional demand planning inputs, the input information now contains geographic proximity, customer preferences, and fulfilment branch capabilities. From there the corrected stock profiles per branch is calculated. This advanced approach ensures that each customer's demand is attributed to their primary fulfilment branch, resulting in a more accurate reflection of regional requirements.

The judges also noted that it tackles a problem which affects parts distribution and stockholding in many different industries. It transforms conventional demand planning, bridging the gap between historical data and real-time customer needs. This sophisticated approach not only optimises operations but also champions economic efficiency, customer loyalty, and sustainability. 

“Product innovation is synonymous with the Automechanika brand and as such, the Innovation Awards have been a highlight of the local event since it was first held in 2009.” said Michael Dehn, Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt South Africa, the organisers of Automechanika Johannesburg at the awards function. 

“The trade fair serves as a gateway for the growing African automotive aftermarket, targeting visitors from sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years the finalists and winner of the Innovation Awards have garnered interest from industry representatives and the public alike. Past winners have been able to successfully harness their achievements in the competition to bolster their marketing programmes and – as a result – have tasted local and international success. Our hearty congratulations to the recipient of this year’s accolade,” Dehn concluded.

The winner and finalists will be showcased on the Innovation Awards stand at Automechanika Johannesburg 2023 until the show closes on September 10.