15 May 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 across the world has had detrimental effects on many industries, including logistics and manufacturing. And although things may feel difficult for logistics and manufacturing businesses at the moment, they are needed now more than ever.

When we think about our keyworkers, we think of those working tirelessly in our hospitals and other emergency services. What we may forget, is that without those continuing to work in logistics and manufacturing, hospitals would struggle to receive the vital PPE and resources they need, food would not arrive at supermarkets and items ordered online would not arrive at customers’ doors.

During this period, logistics and manufacturing professionals have shown resilience, agility, sheer determination and hard work. So, to commend those working in these industries, we thought we would shine a spotlight on some of the great ways logistics and manufacturing businesses have been adapting.

How logistics and manufacturing companies have adapted

Re-deploying their assets
Many of those companies who have temporarily lost business, or have surplus logistics and manufacturing assets and capabilities, have been stepping in to help those in need by re-deploying their assets.

Coca-cola in North America, for example, have been re-deploying their assets to help those who need it most, by providing logistics and supply chain support to charities in order for them to successfully produce and deliver face shields for front line workers.

Nestlé have also been adapting their services in a similar way, by offering up their logistics capacities to support the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies globally.

Keeping their employees safe

Logistics and manufacturing are essential to keeping the world running. And while many individuals have the option to work from home, those who work in these industries have no choice but to go to work.

Logistics and manufacturing companies might not be able to offer their staff the luxury of working from home, but they have been adapting their workplaces to keep their employees safe.

XPO Logistics, for example, have introduced 2 metre markings on the floor of work areas, created barriers where appropriate to keep people apart and staggered break times. Alongside implementing extra and more thorough cleaning routines, they are also starting every shift with a safety reminder meeting.

Adapting their offer
Many companies have been adapting their offering. In some cases, to survive, but in many, as a gesture of good will to help those who need it most.

Sainsbury’s in the UK have been working hand in hand with logistics companies such as Palletforce and XPO Logistics to move food that is needed most from regional depots to food banks around the country.

Reynolds Logistics, based throughout Ireland, the UK and Continental Europe, have adapted their offering from delivering liquid products from hydrocarbon fuels, lubricants and their derivatives, chemicals and bitumen, to include delivering food to consumers’ homes throughout the UK. While they continue to work to supply hospitals and care homes, they are helping meet consumer demand by delivering direct to their doors.

Scaling up
As demand for certain products has risen across the world, many companies have scaled up their business to help with supply. Many large-scale manufacturers have employed the services of smaller manufacturers or invested in extra space and equipment to ensure the supply and development of essential products is met.

Procter & Gamble, for example, has installed new production lines in five manufacturing sites around the world in order to meet the demand for hand sanitizer. In a similar vein, Johnson & Johnson are signing up a network of manufacturing partners, including Catalent and Emergent BioSolutions, in order to produce a vaccine for COVID-19.

Redirecting skills
Many companies who manufacture products have been using their skills and equipment to make other well needed products.

For example, Beiersdorf who make skincare products, have been focusing their attention on making 500 tonnes of medical-grade disinfectants in its German and Spanish sites and Trimega, a German clothing manufacturer, has been making reusable non-medical nose and mouth coverings.

Facing the challenge collectively
We are proud to be part of the logistics and manufacturing industries who are working hard to keep supply chains flowing. By pulling together, companies in these industries have been able to help those most in need.

COVID-19 has bought about many challenges for many different industries and this article highlights just a handful of those companies who have adapted well. To all those working in these industries, and all other essential workers – thank you.

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