Linfox points to ‘pop-up’ DCs as pandemic shifts demand

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  • Plant & Equipment

Huge uplift in grocery transport but BevChain and Armaguard in downturn

Linfox
Mark Mazurek

The changing nature of consumer behaviour during the Covid-19 crisis sees Linfox report a surge in grocery demand but downturns in fuel, cash and other industrial services.

Not long after reporting volume increases of 20 per cent in its Queensland services with partner Aurizon, Linfox notes all of its Australian, New Zealand and Asian operations have seen increased demand for grocery products as a result of the pandemic.

Thus it has had to utilise several pop-up distribution centres "to address customer challenges and ensure our operations and people function efficiently during these unprecedented times".

However, sharp declines have followed in fuel and industrial operations, as well as a drop in BevChain keg deliveries due to the closure of hotels and hospitality venues, the company notes.

The Fox Group more broadly has experienced "significant reductions" in activity in its Essendon and Avalon airport properties, Armaguard cash-in-transit services and event properties including the Phillip Island Circuit and Luna Park in Victoria.

Despite this, Linfox Logistics Australia and New Zealand CEO Mark Mazurek remains upbeat and says Linfox continues to play a crucial role delivering essential goods, including food, medicine and fuel.

"We have a strong track record of supporting the community and the government through challenging circumstances, like the recent bushfires and past flooding events," Mazurek says.

"Linfox is partnering with various state and federal authorities to ensure essential equipment reaches front-line workers."

As a result of the pandemic Linfox has also created a range of new roles, from operations managers to pickers and drivers.

"It’s ‘all hands-on deck’ in our busiest operations and we are focusing on seconding talent and fleet from parts of the business that are experiencing downturns," Mazurek says.

"We thank employees for their flexibility as we create ways to keep them in jobs.

"Linfox Logistics has also recruited and inducted new team members into our Australian business to ensure continuity of service while the demand is there.

"It is critically important that Linfox’s warehousing, road and rail networks continue to function safely and efficiently and that we can work collaboratively to deploy our people into new roles."

Like many of its contemporaries, the company says it has been following the advice of relevant federal, state and territory governments as well as taking additional precautions to minimise the risk of infection and ensure the safety of its people and the community.

"The Fox family group of companies have a long history of stepping up and designing instantaneous supply chain solutions for our customers," Mazurek says.

"We are drawing on that deep experience again, but we recognise that these are uncertain and challenging times.

 "We are actively reminding our people of the free counselling support services available for them and their family members through our Healthy Fox program."

Linfox’s Covid-19 precautions include: 

  • closely monitoring and adopting the advice of Australian and New Zealand governments 
  • educating our people on how to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection including recommended social distancing, good hygiene practices and reminding drivers to wear gloves while refuelling
  • practising routine environmental cleaning at operational sites and head offices
  • providing additional risk minimisation items to operational sites including hand sanitiser and gloves
  • ensuring our people comply with travel and quarantine requirements as determined by state and federal governments
  • risk assessment and mitigation for at-risk employees 
  • limiting all non-essential site visits and screening visitors for signs of infection
  • identifying, recording and monitoring employees who display symptoms consistent with Covid-19 infection
  • supporting team members to work remotely
  • increasing site, vehicle and employee security measures
  • enacting business continuity plans across each site
  • coordinating a Covid-19 crisis response team to regularly meet and review the Linfox response.

 

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