COVID Focus: The Logistics Sector

The COVID-19 pandemic has been undoubtably challenging for businesses everywhere. The logistics sector was faced with a vast range of new and unexpected challenges and businesses within this sector were forced to adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic. The challenges, though still difficult, were somewhat different to those faced by businesses in other sectors. Where many sectors found themselves out of demand and with staff furloughed, businesses working in the logistics and haulage sectors saw a huge surge in demand, particularly at the start of the lockdown period.  At the beginning of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, supermarket shelves became empty and shop supplies became limited. With this, logistics businesses became more in demand than ever, with a pressure to ensure that medicines, food and essential supplies were still available. Not to mention, all of this had to be achieved while simultaneously maintaining social distancing and safeguarding measures.   

An Industry Insight from Evospeed Ltd 

We spoke with Mike Everett of Evospeed at the beginning of lockdown about the effects that Coronavirus had on his business and how they managed the changes.

The ongoing pandemic and its pressures on the food services industry resulted in an increased pressure on the haulage and transport businesses, especially those working with UK supermarkets. Evospeed Transport, a transport services business based in Essex, has experienced these changes first-hand.  Due to its partnership with major supermarket store, Aldi, the business experienced an influx of orders at the start of lockdown, resulting in a major increase in deliveries to the supermarket. When panic buying was at its peak, Evospeed experienced a major surge in turnover, increasing from a weekly turnover of £26k to £50k. In order to manage this sudden increase, the business took on a number of extra drivers, of which a small number have been kept on as a precaution for if a peak was to re-emerge. 

Mike Everett, Managing Director at Evospeed tells us of his experience of running a haulage business during the current pandemic:

“We are really grateful that we are actually still able to work as a business at a time like this,”

“Following the peak which came with the panic buying, we have seen everything go back to a fairly normal volume and, although I expect it to remain that way, we are prepared for the possibility that it won’t.” He added.  

Putting in place the necessary precautions  

The business has maintained the necessary precautions both for the safety of their drivers and to manage the potential recurrence of a surge in orders. 

“We have kept some extra drivers on but have altered our shift patterns to a four-on four-off basis which gives us the manpower necessary for any sudden increases if we were to experience them and, of course, if we were to find that some of our drivers were unable to work.” Mr Everett added. As with many transport businesses across the country, Evospeed is now at a place where the volume of work has levelled out to normal.

Positive attitude towards key working

With those working in the transport and food delivery services being key workers, the drivers working at Evospeed have been taking the extra precautions to keep themselves protected against the virus. Every driver has been supplied with hand sanitiser inside their vehicles as well as masks to wear when necessary. As with Aldi, Evospeed have put social distancing protocols in place for drivers when they make deliveries.  Mr Everett mentioned how being key workers did not negatively altered the attitudes of the staff:

“Our drivers don’t dwell on the fact that they are having to go into work and everyone in the business is getting their heads down and getting the work done.”

“We have seen that our drivers want to work more now than ever as many are thankful that we are still able to work.” 

Extra support from an Invoice Finance facilityEvospeed have had an Invoice Factoring facility with Skipton Business Finance since November 2018 which helped to support the business during the sudden spike in output experienced at the beginning of lockdown.

“The Invoice Finance facility initially enabled us to start and build our business but without the facility I’m not sure we could have dealt with the spike that we experienced,” Mr Everett added.

“We are just really thankful that we are able to keep doing what we are doing and as any business, we are hoping to see some positive progress with regards to the virus over the coming weeks.”  

Although this has proved a difficult time for everybody, it has shown how businesses can come together to meet unexpected changes in demand and has proven that UK logistics businesses can overcome these challenges and come out stronger at the other side. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank businesses, like Evospeed, who are working tirelessly to meet the new demands brought on by COVID-19 in this time of need.   

You can find out more about what Skipton Business Finance is doing to protect our clients and employees against Coronavirus on our Coronavirus Business Support Hub.