Leading PPE supplier overcame lockdown chaos to import equipment from China.
Personal Protection Equipment
When, in early 2020, most of the world went into lockdown, their supply chain suddenly resembled the wild west. Many problems arose with getting stock out of China. Securing production orders and meeting shipment ready dates were no longer certainties. Documentation requirements for exporting goods from China were now very stringent. And with airplanes grounded around the globe, air freight rates had shot through the roof.
For once, Levitt-Safety didn’t think they would be able to meet their customers’ requirements. And that would have been a bigger problem than disgruntled customers. The products being imported were protective equipment to be worn by COVID-19 frontline and emergency workers.
Our brief was to find the most cost-effective reliable ways to import these essential shipments. We started by entering a close working relationship with our 3PL partners.
Early on, we built Levitt-Safety a rate review capability using real-time rates. This gave Levitt a full understanding of market prices in what had become a volatile market.
We negotiated the most cost-effective solution based on the customer service requirements. It was essential to guarantee delivery. That often meant hiring charter flights. We had foot soldiers in China to smooth out all export licenses and other documentation concerns as soon as they came up. Freight shipments are often held up because of payment delays. For this reason, we carefully managed all payments.
With such a difficult assignment, clear communication was a must. Levitt received updates several times a day.
Using our platform technology, we developed a dynamic dashboard so that Levitt-Safety management and the sales team truly understand landed cost at an item level.
Finally, the sudden spike in demand for their products meant the incoming shipments would have overwhelmed their warehouse capacity. Consequently, we arranged short term storage for some of the shipments.
All potential export delays were averted. There were timely uplifts through both commercial flight options and dedicated charter flights. And during this process, Levitt-Safety had clarity on overall costs and lead times.
In short, despite the severe disruptions to the supply chain the pandemic had caused, the required shipments of crucial supplies to protect pandemic frontline workers were delivered.