Tuesday 2nd Jun 2020 - Logistics Manager Magazine

Xpediator tackling COVID-19 challenge ‘head on’

Xpediator is tackling sudden spikes in demand for key products, created by measures to curb the spread of CVOID-19,  “head-on” and is working in close collaboration with customers and suppliers to ensure it operates efficiently.

Dave Gladen, group marketing manager at international freight and logistics management specialist Xpediator, told Logistics Manager: “The wellbeing and safety of our people, customers and suppliers is Xpediator’s first priority. From the beginning of the pandemic, we have followed the operational guidelines provided by the respective governments in each market we operate, changing working practices to incorporate social distancing across our offices, depots and warehouses.

“We have not taken on any additional staff or agency workers, so we are using our current workforce and timetabling shifts to help facilitate and overcome peaks in customer orders and deliveries,” he said. “Of course, we also have to manage our service level agreements with customers, but I think they realise that these are unprecedented times and what was normal a month ago just isn’t the case now.”

Gladen said that the team at Xpediator had “quickly” adapted to new working practices, such as not sharing handhelds and computers, regularly cleaning equipment and workstations and staying 2m apart – but he said that providing support was crucial.

“People in this industry have been classed as key workers, so staff engagement is pivotal to our operations. Everyone is different, so we need to identify this and act accordingly. We have an employee assistance programme for staff if they need it or they have growing concerns about COVID-19.

“With the significant effort of all our people, we are continuing to operate effectively while also taking the appropriate actions to limit the spread of this virus.”

Close collaboration

Supply chains depend on close collaboration between customers and suppliers and Rob Hodgson, WMS specialist at The Access Group, said that current events only underlined the importance of close collaboration and having systems in place to be responsive.

“While nobody could have predicted how disruptive COVID-19 would be, forward-thinking companies like Xpediator had already made great strides in streamlining their processes and removing manual intervention.

“Since we began working with them three years ago, they have taken on lots more customers, increased their volumes massively, acquired new businesses and have the flexibility to react to changes. One of their ambitions was to move even further into the e-commerce market with integrated customer and automated courier systems, which they have executed very well with platforms like Shopify plus others.”

Longer-term, Gladen agreed that retailers would invest more in online operations: “Retailers will be looking closely at supply chain performance and the sector’s ability to be agile and responsive to unplanned events.”