Logistics is an essential services industry sector, vitally important to the US and world economy and touching every aspect. The global pandemic is affecting various segments differently, but tens of millions of essential workers carry on in the US, responding to the urgent needs of other essential businesses, services and infrastructure entities and to consumer demands for ‘vital’ provisions.
Jere Van Puffelen shared his perspective on the immediate crisis and potential longer-term impacts, from the perspective of a thriving third party logistics company owner with consecutive years of double digit growth, now operating at full capacity.
PRISM Logistics serves customers shipping the foods, beverages, cleaning supplies and medicines we’re seeing on the shelves at our favorite grocery stores, as well as equipment to hospitals and packaged goods and cleaning supplies throughout the western US. Definitive essential.
On essential workers, Jere points out that ‘I’ve always said that every member of the team is important. The janitor is as important as the owner. Every one of us has a job to do on the team, and our success and our customers’, depends on every one of us doing our job well.” He noted that while his company has always prioritized safety and cleanliness, given the nature of products they handle and customers they serve, they’ve amped up the intensity aligned to government directives and their own commitment to ‘stay ahead of this thing,’ with dedicated personnel cleaning, disinfecting facilities and beginning again immediately on completion. All day. Every day.
Longer term, Jere suggests that the impacts of ‘great toilet paper shortage’ of March 2020 may well dictate adjustments to this industry’s definition of ‘optimal’ inventory levels. This sector, which has prized cost-cutting efficiency as the watchword, with just-in-time deliveries direct to production and minimal inventory in constant movement, is now grappling with the rippling shockwaves of product outages and inventory stockouts.