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Redefining Keyworkers

Posted on 1st May, 2020 Redefining Keyworkers

These very unusual times are redefining how we carry out our daily lives. Our shopping habits are an area that has seen some of the greatest impact, with many shoppers moving online with their ordering for home delivery. In the same breath, it has been noted that many consumers have returned to one big weekly shop, rather than multiple smaller ones.

Changing habits

For some shoppers, this ritual has never gone away, with a large weekly supermarket shop part of their routine. But many more consumers must visit superstores more than once a week, to stock up in small doses. Perhaps they do not have a car and use public transport to convey their purchases, or they prefer to shop day-to-day – either for reasons of taste or finance. Managing the demand and logistics of such changes in shopping habits, and in such a short period of time, has been a challenge for both the supermarkets themselves and the wider supply chain network.

When looking at the need for stock to be available on the shelves when it is required, there has been a redefinition of who are keyworkers and their necessity for the continuation of ‘normal’ daily life. We are all coping with a normal that initially felt very alien, but is now beginning to feel more like a routine. Keyworkers were identified as being the ones that would have to keep carrying out their roles, in spite of the presence of the Covid-19 virus. We tend to think of essential workers as members of the NHS, or the emergency services and the police, but a whole array of professions, from care workers to supermarket staff, have been included in the category.

Supplying unprecedented demand

Not least among these is the role logistics firms play in this time of national emergency. At a warehousing and distribution company such as ours, every echelon of the business structure is a vital part of the supply process. At our two Boughey sites in the North West, everyone from our pickers, fork-lift drivers and warehouse operatives – who are preparing our orders for supermarkets and shops – to the senior staff, are making sure the wheels keep turning.

Just as vital are our drivers, who are delivering goods around the clock, often in strenuous, stressful circumstances. As has been reported in the media, demand for many items has far outstripped supply, so it is commendable that we have weathered the storm and things seems to be stabilizing in terms of peoples’ buying habits. The CEO of Sainsbury’s noted recently that their busiest time at the beginning of the lockdown was the equivalent of having peak Christmas shopping periods day after day, for five days straight. Fortunately, this level of intensity has abated now.

Protecting keyworkers

Our admirable efficiency in this exceptional time is partly due to already having the best available technology in place, like our BougheyNET portal, which is ensuring we are keeping the nation’s shelves stocked with the produce the public needs.  All our staff are adapting to using additional equipment such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which has been deployed to safeguard our workers and ensure the health and safety of their colleagues or anyone else they come into contact with.

Boughey is pleased with the ease with which it has been able to adapt to these new working methods, such as social distancing, and recognises the importance of keeping its keyworkers safe. As we work through this crisis together, you can rest assured that Boughey is doing everything it can to keep the country in motion, as normally and efficiently as possible.

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