Wholesale case study

Case Study

When COVID-19 lockdown chaos disrupted global PPE shipments, Orkestra stepped in to smooth out a complex international logistics chain.

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  • Smooth out delays in Levitt-Safety’s supply chain as a result of COVID-19 disruptions
  • Find a cost-effective, reliable way to ensure Levitt-Safety could deliver essential PPE from Asia to North America
  • Minimize the crunch on Levitt-Safety’s bottom line


  • Coordinate directly with forwarding and freight 3PL partners
  • Deploy on-the-ground support to eliminate key delays related to payments, export process and documentation
  • Provide innovative warehousing solutions
  • Deliver real-time insights into costs and timelines through Orkestra's Platform


  • Delays were minimized or eliminated
  • Logistics hiccups no longer contributed to product delivery delays

The Situation

Before March 2020, most of the world had never heard of the acronym ’PPE! But Levitt-Safety, one of Canada's top trusted personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers, suddenly found their industry in the spotlight when the global demand for PPE surged beyond what could be met.

At least, that was the story being told in the headlines. The reality was a little more complicated. Levitt-Safety's supply Chain was, like many other PPE suppliers, based in China. But with the world going into lockdown, they suddenly found getting their production orders fulfilled and hitting shipment-ready dates became virtually impossible

Manufacturing was one thing. Getting their orders that actually were produced was another. Documentation requirements for exporting goods from China were now very stringent, in particular for PPE, to ensure product integrity. Levitt-Safety found their vendors didn't fully understand the new PPE documentation requirements, an issue that was further compounded by a fear of documentation fraud out of China.

The next hurdle involved getting approved shipments into Canada. With air travel suspended between many parts of the world, air freight rates had shot through the roof eroding Levitt-Safety's margins. Failure to hit their delivery times with end customers meant a loss in business, reduced pricing, and perhaps most importantly, a potential major hit to their reputation as the pandemic took hold. Not meeting customer demands is a position no business wants to find themselves in. Not being able to meet customer demands in a pandemic when you're supplyinglife-saving equipment to frontline COVID-19 workers? That's the stuff business nightmares are made of — and it's why Levitt-Safety turned to Orkestra.

The Solution

Orkestra's brief was simple, but had two key factors that aren't always sympatico: Find the most cost-effective and reliable way to import these essential PPE shipments into Canada.

The first step was for Orkestra to engage directly with their 3PL partner network to secure capacity and negotiate rates. Orkestra also took on the negotiation and facilitation of payment between Levitt-Safety, the forwarders, and the airlines to ensure there would be zero holdups due to payment delays. To help Levitt-Safety stay on top of volatile market shifts, Orkestra leveraged its supply chain management platform to synchronize real-time transportation rates with daily product forecasting and flight schedules.

Back in China, Orkestra deployed a team on the ground to smooth out any export license and documentation concerns as they came up. Orkestra's forwarder partners were in constant contact with the manufacturing vendors, providing updates back to Levitt-Safety multiple times per day as they were able to provide new information on product ready dates, pickup schedules, and documentation approvals by customs authorities.

A last piece of the puzzle was related to the shipments that arrived on Canadian soil. The rapid spike in demand for PPE meant Levitt-Safety's existing warehouse infrastructure would have been overwhelmed. Again, Orkestra stepped in to handie all the details securing warehouse capacity, enabling Levitt-Safety to focus on the bigger picture.

All of this information was delivered through Orkestra's supply chain management platform, including visibility into transit-times and landed cost of all their shipments down to the item level.

The Success

If the biggest obstacle for Levitt-Safety was getting their shipments out of China, their biggest success in this story was having all shipment delays eliminated thanks to Orkestra's technology and expertise.

There were timely uplifts through both commercial flight options and dedicated charter flights. Levitt-Safety was no longer flying blind when it came to the status and expense of their shipments, with lead times and costs clearly forecasted in their dashboard, enabling them to better communicate with both their vendors and their end users.

The Summary

Ultimately Orkestra stepped into a high-pressure situation for Levitt-Safety and helped smooth out the logistics bumps so the company could focus on delivering the PPE their clients so desperately needed.

Orkestra provided major impacts for Levitt-Safety in an extremely time-sensitive and high stakes situation.

The Orkestra SCS team did a great job of demystifying the logistics experience for us.”

Co-CEO at Levitt-Safety