Like everyone in this difficult period, at Boughey Distribution Ltd we are experiencing a vastly different working and social environment than we are used to. As part of the vital supply chain that is restocking many of the key supermarkets, we are having to deal with significant challenges in the day-to-day running of the business and the strain that is being place upon it, by extremely high customer demand.
Boughey has updated all its customers during what has become a national
crisis, with people instructed to work from home and schools being closed. This
has led to a degree of panic buying and placed severe pressures on all links of
the supply chain, with such items as toilet rolls and fresh essentials like
bread and milk seeing demand far outstrip supply.
This period is unprecedented in our history. Outbound demand for last week was the highest we have ever experienced – 27,800 pallets were planned for delivery, while the previous high was 23,100. The rise is 48% above our average despatches for the period, prior to virus-driven demand setting in. We are working hard to meet the demands, but we are facing challenges including a shortfall in warehouse labour, insufficient material handling equipment, a shortage of subcontractor resource, significant delays at retailer’s depots and problems booking in orders, as depots are unable to offer slots within the promised lead time.
In an eminently sensible move, Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco have increased order
lead times, and hopefully other retailers will follow suit. This would help us
clear order backlogs and be more realistic in terms of what can be
Safely and securely
To deal with the increased demand, we are currently working very high levels of overtime with all our delivery fleet and material handling equipment fully deployed. We are taking measures to access additional staff and equipment.
We are also working together with our customers and the retailers to
mitigate against any further delays and providing the best service possible
with the resources we have available. Whilst doing this, we aim to keep our colleagues
safe and to deliver on time. We have taken every precaution in keeping our staff
informed of the virus – its symptoms and treatment – and to safeguard our
entire workforce with extensive safety and hygiene measures in place. These
include segregating facilities and home working where possible. There is a strain
on supply lines, but we want to assure you that we will remain a safe pair of
hands at this testing time for the economy.