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Case Study I Cue The BBQ

The Client - Cue the BBQ

Cue the BBQ is a charcoal and firewood manufacturer based in Durban, South Africa. Run by Jody Cleworth, the BBQ ships 8-12 containers a week to London Gateway, United Kingdom. Cue BBQ supplies its customers on a DAP or DDP incoterm basis. This makes Cue BBQ responsible for the delivery schedule, customs clearance, regulatory documentation, and VAT payments at the UK border.

The Problem

In a nutshell, Cue the BBQ consistently experiences last-minute delays in preparing paperwork. Transit times can take up to 30 days or more, so there is ample time for Cue the BBQ to ensure that documentation is always to the correct requirements to clear and deliver containers in the UK. Though, as most in the logistics industry know, this is hardly the case. With vessels departing from South Africa to arrive at London Gateway over the weekend, Friday evenings have become challenging - namely, meeting the demands of clearing agents and the subsequent delivery schedules for container deliveries to the final destination warehouse in the UK.

While Cue the BBQ has up to 30 days to plan and prepare documents, there are always clarifications required last minute on the shipment’s arrival.

Jody said: “We can sometimes lose up to 3 days of free time for containers on the quay at London Gateway when containers discharge early on a Saturday morning, deliveries then slip to a Tuesday, and when a certain warehouse can only accept only one container a day, we end up delivering containers outside of free time, this final route of the journey can then become an expensive exercise.”

After running the supply chain as close to perfect as possible, from plantation to final product loaded into a container, in South Africa, efforts were being thwarted by escalating charges in the UK. For an SME that’s quite a sour pill to swallow. Particularly when all the data and documents have been prepared before departure from South Africa, almost 30 days beforehand. The Benefits Now

Demurrage and detention no longer eat into Cue the BBQ’s bottom line - and when shipping commodities like wood and charcoal, every cent counts. By leveraging Azarc's automated platform solution, Rune, our client's gross profit margins have successfully increased.

This enables staff to shift their focus towards revenue generation and enjoy a stress-free Friday evening after a challenging week of navigating the complexities of the export market.

Real-Time Tracking at Jody’s Fingertips

Jody gained complete visibility into shipment statuses, improving on-time delivery rates by 15%.

Response time to client enquiries improved by 50%.

Compliance, Assured

Compliance accuracy increased by 50%, with Rune ensuring import regulations were followed via a comprehensive audit trail.

Operational Efficiency Achieved

By automating tasks and eliminating reliance on manual processes, Rune has decreased processing time for import documentation by 80%.

Saving Costs

Penalties were minimized due to Rune's supply chain visibility improvements, saving up to 18% in shipping costs.

The Solution

Cue the BBQ completes all of its shipping, supply chain processes and data generation before export in South Africa. Having to wait the entire transit time of the voyage from Durban to London Gateway to find out if there are missing documents or data is an unnecessary and cumbersome extension of the existing business process. With all the company and supply chain data under Cue the BBQ’s control at the point of export, combining their export data sets and commercial invoices to gain pre-validation using Rune made sense.

This shift of process allows Jody and his team to deliver containers in the UK from the next day or the next business day after the vessel arrives rather than waiting until later in the week. The longer the wait in clearing the shipment, the higher the risk in running the gauntlet on possible demurrage and detention charges.

Rune not only creates an internal operational benefit for Cue the BBQ, it assures compliance and viability of the customs clearance process. There are no shortcuts in the clearance activities in the United Kingdom and that assurance is key to longevity of trading with its UK customers.

While Rune mitigates the process of customs clearance, it also gives confidence to Cue the BBQ to load more containers to a specific client on a single vessel, extending the efficiency of Cue the BBQ’s supply chain, a process in South Africa, all the way through to the final destination warehouse in the United Kingdom.

The Conclusion The implementation of Rune transformed Jody's import process, overcoming the challenges associated with manual operations.

The automated platform provided measurable improvements in real-time visibility, compliance accuracy, and cost savings, without the need for jody to change or upgrade his current systems.

By adopting Rune, Jody’s business achieved tangible results, ensuring smoother and more successful import operations. Rune’s seamless extensibility and commitment to operational efficiency have simplified Jody’s life, enabling him to focus on strategic growth and customer satisfaction.

What They Said | Jody Cleworth, Director of Cue the BBQ

Integrating Rune into Cue the BBQ’s current processes has been extremely easy. We send a CSV file, generated from our accounting software Xero, to an automated email from Rune, which is triggered by an event from Ship Shape (shipping software), every time we load a container. The interaction, which the Cue the BBQ export team needs to have with Rune, and the training they need to master it, is so minimal, it’s simply a file upload. The product has been quite surprising in its capabilities too.

“There are quite a few documents that we normally have to furnish for customs clearance, but Rune can sort that all out with a simple data feed. I am also sure that Rune can help us developing FSC or Defra compliance for exporting to certain SKUs.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Rune to other businesses importing into the UK or looking to do so. Importing goods can be quite mystifying when it comes to customs, similarly, associated charges can hit you quite hard when you don't have much of an idea of how much they should actually cost and what the actual process is to clear customs.

“Rune provides ease and visibility across the transaction. With a ‘fire and forget’ policy, once Rune has your data, the process is as good as done. You can move on to the next shipment and focus on earning revenue for your business rather than chasing documents and doing other people's jobs for them.

“Being an SME, time is very valuable to myself and our employees, so knowing that all our UK customs processes are automatically and compliantly completed gives me time back. Having an extra few hours in the 24/7 goods manufacturing cycle means time to plan better for the following week or more importantly getting to spend a few more hours with family, which is priceless.”


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