The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge upheaval for the drinks industry as it pivots to deal with the on-premise shutdown. BevChain President Misha Shliapnikoff reveals how the supply chain solutions provider is keeping Australia connected.
How has BevChain been working to help suppliers and trade during the on-premise shutdown?
BevChain has experienced fluctuating volumes across the sectors we service. Notably, there has been a spike in packaged volumes in the retail channel as Australians consume more at home.
In the on-premise channel, we have experienced a sharp decline in packaged volume and cessation of keg deliveries due to the closure of hotels and hospitality venues.
Our flexible approach has allowed us to quickly scale our operations to meet surging customer demand in packaged goods and adjust and scale down as other volumes declined.
The wider Linfox business has partnered closely with customers to ensure the recommendations of federal and state governments are adhered to and introduced additional precautions to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection.
I am pleased to report that BevChain and Linfox more broadly have not experienced any cases of COVID-19 in our operations to date. This is a testament to the team’s dedication to safety and compliance.
Precautions taken by BevChain include:
- Closely monitoring and adopting the advice of Australian and New Zealand governments
- Educating staff 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 staff 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
Has BevChain been involved in keg returns for the major breweries?
BevChain has been working with our key brewery customers to collect kegs from on premise venues.
This is a substantial undertaking given the quantity of kegs and the reverse logistics challenges associated with full kegs. We are pleased with the progress to date despite the challenges.
Are there any other initiatives BevChain has been involved in during COVID-19?
The Linfox BevChain team in Western Australia executed a significant go live in April for a major Australian retailer, despite the challenges faced by COVID-19. Pleasingly, the project went live on time and on budget with little disruption to service.
Has work been completed on the automation of the Lion warehouse in Sydney?
We often hear about automation being implemented into new, purpose-built greenfield facilities commonly located in outer suburbs, but with the Lion brewery co-located metres away, we took advantage of the existing site’s favourable position.
We continue our work on a DC automation project in NSW for our customer, Lion. The new automated pallet storage and picking solution is set to dramatically increase capacity and realise substantial productivity gains.
Despite the challenges arising from COVID-19, we are pleased with the project’s progress and the team is on track to go-live later this year.
It’s this type of dedicated ‘future proof’ focus that has gained the extended trust of our customer to make a long-term contract commitment.
BevChain recently invested in more than 90 vehicles as part of a new truck fleet. How is the new 90 UD Quon fleet going?
Safety was top of mind when we invested in the Quon fleet, which features the latest safety technology. We installed Linfox’s own FoxTrax safety technology into the vehicles as well.
The fleet is operating well and the response from customers and our drivers has been overwhelmingly positive.
Linfox continues to invest in fleet, with electric vehicle technology to be introduced at the end of the year.