Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Further Along the Supply Chain are the Unsung Heroes Who Play Their Part Against the Virus

There is Another Tier of Unselfish Logistics Workers Behind Those Delivery Drivers
Shipping News Feature

UK – As the lockdown continues, one of the biggest worries for those trapped in their homes is the fear that something may go wrong and there will be no skilled person or company to effect a repair. What if the car breaks down? What if a pipe bursts? And for every incident, we can look along the supply chain and know that, one broken link, and that part will not arrive and the problem will remain.

By now most of the general public are realising what a major factor the logistics industry is in their everyday lives, one moment of panic and the toilet rolls, tinned tomatoes and pasta vanishes from the shelves. What most don’t understand is that this is indeed a chain, and further up it the warehouses and distribution facilities have to keep firing on all cylinders to keep services running relatively smoothly.

Quite rightly the plaudits go to those unselfish souls of the NHS who risk their lives for the general good, some praise trickles down to the delivery staff who carry goods to the door and supplies to the shops. There are however unsung tiers of unseen people who maybe only those in the business know are also important to keeping society on track.

So how are those companies doing upon which the deliverers rely on for their deliveries? We took a look at how one company which provides their own brand of handling equipment is managing to keep the customer satisfied. Tipton-based Narrow Aisle Ltd, manufacturer of the Flexi range of articulated forklift trucks provides a fleet of 350 rental Flexi units to customers across the logistics, retail and food sectors.

All the customers have a need for ongoing service engineering, maintenance and testing of their Flexi equipment and John Maguire, managing director, told us how proud he is of the dedication and commitment of the company’s employees who have continued working throughout the Coronavirus pandemic which for many has proved a busier time than ever as clients try to satisfy essential requirements. He observed:

“Based on the essential nature of our company’s position in the supply chain and the fact that Flexi trucks are used by many companies that play a vital role in sustaining essential medical, food and beverage logistics, it is important that we keep going during the pandemic and meet our obligations to fulfil orders and provide rental equipment and deliver service engineering to our customers.

“Manufacturing is a critical part of the economy and while there is no restriction on manufacturing it would be quite understandable if staff were anxious about continuing to work. But our team has ignored any such fears they may have had and our factory has worked at full capacity throughout the lockdown period. During this time, we have fulfilled a number of important orders, including to a major supplier of healthcare PPE products to the NHS, and many food and grocery retail customers.

Last year Narrow Aisle celebrated the production of the 10,000th Flexi warehouse truck made popular because the iconic articulated design allows the trucks to operate efficiently and safely within the narrowest racking aisles allowing more of a warehouse or distribution centre’s space to be used for valuable storage locations.

Obviously to keep its plant and engineering staff operational Narrow Aisle, like other manufacturers, has taken steps to make being at work as safe as possible. Hand sanitisers and protection have been provided and the company’s offices and factory have been reconfigured to ensure administrative and production staff remain at a safe two metres apart.

Photo: Narrow Aisle managing director, John Maguire on one of the company trucks.