Advantis 3PL Plus – Transforming Sri Lanka’s Logistics Landscape

Advantis 3PL Plus has revolutionised the Sri Lankan supply chain industry, and the journey continues.

Advantis 3PL Plus is a fully owned subsidiary of Hayleys Advantis, the transportation and logistics arm of the blue-chip, multi-national conglomerate Hayleys PLC, one of the largest listed conglomerates in Sri Lanka. Operating in the third-party logistics sector, Advantis 3PL Plus’s offering includes storage, distribution, value-added services, consultancy etc.

“Being a part of one of the largest logistics houses in Sri Lanka, we form an integral part of its Integrated Logistics cluster, which also includes international, express and cross border freight; warehousing and document archiving; free port activities; and last-mile delivery,” says Sheran Abeyesundere, Director and CEO of Advantis 3PL Plus. “All the duties in logistics and supply chain management are represented through our functions in Sri Lanka.”

The Advantage of Nimbleness

Across diverse client verticals, Advantis 3PL Plus maintains a competitive edge thanks to its ability to react quickly to customer needs and new situations.

“Our unique selling point is our nimbleness,” Abeyesundere says. “We can provide services for complex operations because we offer a level of service that suits everyone from multinationals to SMEs. We handle all types of cargo from fast-moving consumer goods to apparel, fast-moving consumer durables, industrial inputs, lubricants, and pharmaceuticals. These can be complex jobs and our nimbleness allows us to handle them across borders and through any challenges.”

The company has been recognised at an industry level, winning the “Best in Diversity and Impact Management Award” at the Asian HR Leadership Awards, and was also listed among the 100 Best Small-Medium Companies to Work for in Asia for the year 2021 from Great Place to Work®”.

The company’s adaptability can be seen in how it has dealt with the growing challenges of the changing logistics landscape.

“One of the biggest advantages our clients can get by working with Advantis 3PL Plus is the access to purpose-built warehousing infrastructure in Sri Lanka, which enables a smooth flow in supply chains,” Abeyesundere says. “Being a part of Hayleys Group, one of the largest conglomerates in Sri Lanka gives us access to real estate, which has enabled us to set up two flagship locations, including the largest distribution centre in Sri Lanka.”

In addition to this, Advantis 3PL Plus is driving a long-term strategic plan focusing on technology, to ensure the company delivers optimal solutions to its clientele.

“On the digital and technology side, we are working on a technology roadmap, with identified partners to create technology-driven advantages to our clients in addition to the expertise our team provides,” Abeyesundere explains.

Credit Where It’s Due

Advantis 3PL Plus has already had a huge impact on Sri Lanka’s logistics industry and the country’s business sector as a whole.

“We have changed the landscape of the logistics industry in this country,” Abeyesundere says. “If you go back to when we started, very basic warehousing was the only thing available in Sri Lanka. We were the game changers in getting purpose-built state-of-the-art warehousing, using technology never before seen in this country.”

Along with its business growth, Advantis 3PL Plus has been building up a collection of accreditations that will stand it in good stead as the company expands internationally.

“We saw the need for very basic processes to be implemented which we initially steered ourselves. From there we first obtained the ISO 9001: 2015 quality management system certification by introducing a new management system,” Abeyesundere says. “Being in logistics, we are constantly exposed to safety risks, which led to us obtaining the ISO 45001:2018 occupational health and safety management system certification, followed by ISO 22000:2018 food safety management system certification. By virtue of the fact that we handle cargo related to pharmaceuticals and clinical trials, and with the demand for vaccination storage increasing due to the pandemic, Advantis 3PL Plus also obtained the Good Distribution Practices (GDP) certification. The team is at present working on obtaining the ISO 14001:2015 environmental management systems certification.”

While these accreditations are recognised internationally, they are also helpful in Sri Lanka’s rapidly evolving market.

“The majority of supermarkets in Sri Lanka are serviced by our distribution centres, with products from our customers. We have acquired expertise in price marking, kitting, bundling etc. through our value-added services,” Abeyesundere says. “We provide logistics services to clients supplying to both the international and local markets for which we have obtained the necessary certifications to meet customer criterion.”

Local Talent

These accreditations and accolades are the result of the hard-working team behind Advantis 3PL Plus, consisting of home-grown Sri Lankan talent.

“We focus on recruiting our staff locally. Once they come in we will provide in-house training,” Abeyesundere says. “We also recruit from local universities and have influenced these universities to start degree programmes accepted by the logistics industry. We also have a cross-section of professionals and academics of diverse backgrounds, who handle the infrastructure side of the business. We source our talent from best-in-class universities and professional bodies locally.”

Recently Hayleys Advantis, launched the Advantis Campus, for training and growing in-house talent. The Advantis Campus enables the staff to take advantage of the entire gamut of logistics expertise available under Hayleys Advantis, such as Integrated Logistics, Marine & Energy, Projects & Engineering, International Freight Management and Aviation.

“Every other year we run a programme called Grand Master which is a knowledge competition,” Abeyesundere says. “We give an opportunity to staff to read up regarding the logistics industry and run a quiz programme. It’s a competition to emphasise the knowledge and expertise we need to run the business”.

“Further, Hayleys Advantis runs a programme called Advantis Ideastorm, which encourages employees to come up with new ideas to enrich existing business lines whilst also looking at introducing new business verticals adjacent to the core businesses for future growth of the Group. This programme has boosted innovative thinking across all levels of staff from entry-level to senior leadership, enabling the Group to better serve our clients.”

In addition to recruiting locally and developing its people through rigorous training, Advantis 3PL Plus also empowers its people to help grow the business.

“In our third-tier, we have decentralised operations and I have two Chief Business Officers who each have their own operations, engineering and marketing teams,” Abeyesundere explains. “They’re being groomed for succession. Several of my teammates have taken higher positions within Hayleys Advantis, and we have a well-planned redeployment strategy within the Group. We give staff exposure across our Group, including overseas locations.”

“Our Group Company Hayleys Advantis is structured to better serve our clients with our end-to-end service portfolio. With this Advantis 3PL Plus fits into the Integrated Logistics service cluster, which can take care of a client’s cargo from the time it leaves the client’s facility till it reaches the end consumer,” Abeyesundere says. “Our next step will be fulfilment in the e-commerce sphere and the temperature-controlled business, and we see a lot of growth potential in the cold chain sector. More of the population is shopping in supermarkets now and the cold chain is a potential niche that currently has only a handful of players. We also have a consultancy arm leveraging our knowledge and experience. We have undertaken consultancy projects in design and logistics in Sri Lanka, Australia, Honk Kong, Myanmar, India and Dubai.”

It is going to be interesting to see how Advantis 3PL Plus prospers in these new sectors.

Advantis 3PL Plus is a subsidiary of Hayleys Advantis, the transportation and logistics arm of blue-chip, multi-national conglomerate Hayleys PLC. As the 3PL leader in Sri Lanka for close to two decades, Advantis 3PL Plus has been providing its clients, in South and East Asia a full gamut of 3PL services. The services offered by Advantis 3PL Plus complements the integrated end-to-end logistics service offering of Hayleys Advantis, which includes freight, free zone, warehousing, transportation, distribution, express and last-mile delivery solutions. The strength of this seamless service offering has won Advantis many accolades from clients and industries across the region.

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