With the final quarter of 2020 approaching, we sat down and spoke with Kevin Fletcher and asked him to reflect on the year thus far and his thoughts on life in 2021.
When you look at this year, I'm almost seeing two parts: Pre-Covid and Post-Covid. Obviously, the economy was doing well in the first part of the year. I don't know where the GDP was exactly, but the economy was certainly showing signs of strengthening and then Covid hits. When that happened, weaknesses in domestic as well as global supply chains were quickly exposed.
Honestly, this pandemic has been a tremendous strain across the board. From general office workplace and staff, to production lines, to the warehousing, distribution and transportation of product. The increased need for flexibility as well as agility is an understatement. Due to their heightened importance, the requirements for supply chain visibility and real-time information have gotten much more stringent.
As a consumer you can see it on the shelves, or the lack of certain items on the shelves. Stocks are being replenished as quickly as possible, yet there are still items that were once abundant are noticeably scarce on store shelves. When coronavirus-related panic first surfaced here in the U.S., items like toilet paper were basically being hoarded like it was the end of civilization.
Also, many more people are buying online these days, resulting in the flourishing e-commerce business and increased demand for final mile delivery services. Previously you had services like Uber Eats, and DoorDash, used commonly for food delivery.
Now, almost everyone provides online ordering for groceries, home improvement, big box retail, all offering delivery options. Some are free, and some aren't, but it's actually caused businesses to evolve into this "new normal" where Amazon isn't the only one offering same day delivery.
Ultimately, a light has been shined that brings greater attention to the importance of logistics and supply chain management.
Not knowing what will happen with COVID-19, companies have had to totally rethink their supply chain. Where are they sourcing from? Where are they making their products and what are the risk and vulnerabilities? Do companies that source and/or manufacture their products overseas need to transition to a near-shoring or domestic strategy? I think companies will build in more safeguards.
A lot of businesses are taking a much deeper look at where and what the risks are by asking questions like "What is our Plan A and if that fails what is our Plan B?".
You can’t flip the switch on and have it happen overnight. If all of a sudden you give an opportunity to a company to double or triple business due to COVID-19 related demand, they've got to do something to ramp up to that to be able to accommodate the increased demand. For example, I spoke with some folks and they said that their business is up over 100% due to the pandemic. Now, that may not have necessarily interrupted their supply chain, but what it has done is force them to revisit their supply chain design and strategy and adjust accordingly. I mean, how do you accommodate businesses that have grown 2-3X? How do you find that amount of capacity in warehouses and transportation? What about suppliers and manufacturers that are not used to pumping out that much product? Are they having to do it now themselves, or are they outsourcing to folks like co-packers and contract manufacturers?
With 2020 being an election year, I think the next few months is something everyone is watching very closely and waiting for with great anticipation. How will that relate to building your business, or investing in newer facilities, or purchasing additional assets. There’s also everything COVID-19 related closure and talk about possible recession. There are just so many factors in play. I think if nothing else it's a lot of uncertainty as far as next year goes, and I think we are seeing that from a transportation perspective, as rates right now, due to covid-19 are climbing to near record levels.
On a positive note, the increased importance of transportation has elevated the public’s awareness and appreciation of the 3+ million truck drivers in the U.S. that pickup and deliver 7x24x365.
It’s good! It’s exciting,I love these people. If you can use the term “too good to be true”? Things have definitely exceeded my expectations.
I would say there's more from a camaraderie perspective and the group truly feels closely knit. There is great interaction and collaboration among the team, there’s no hidden agendas. When things are good, we celebrate, and when things are going a little rough, we all jump in and lend a hand.
The company culture is centered around commitment which permeates the company at all levels. Our commitment to customer service is at the top of the list, but our commitment to the community, our commitment to being leaders in the industry and our commitment to each other are things we strive for each and every day. Commitment is not a buzz word or taken lightly at Atlantic Logistics and I find that very refreshing.
Lastly, I see tremendous opportunity here to provide customers with innovative solutions that deliver value and in the process accelerate what is already rapid rate of growth at Atlantic Logistics.
Atlantic Logistics provides truckload and partial service on flatbeds, stepdecks, lowbeds, vans, and reefers throughout the United States and Canada. Moving over-dimensional/over-weight freight with specialized equipment, Atlantic Logistics is an approved Department of Defense and General Services Administration broker, qualify as a woman-owned business, and are members of the Transportation Management Sales Association (TMSA), Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), The National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA.)