From the Frontline: FreshLinc manages COVID-19 panic-buying rush amid Mother's Day peak

George Barrow
April 7, 2020

FreshLinc says operators forced to park up their vehicles due to a lack of work amid the Coronavirus outbreak offered vehicles and drivers to help with deliveries during the surge in panic-buying.

Temperature controlled operator FreshLinc provides fresh and chilled products to major supermarkets and were already gearing up for a huge increase in loads on the approach to Mother’s Day.

“With the demand for produce at that time akin to Christmas numbers, it was a phenomenally busy time for us on several fronts. March is already one of our busiest months of the year because of Mother’s Day, so in addition to the 300% increase in horticultural loads a day we had organised coming in from the Netherlands, we also had to step up our operations here in the UK to meet this unexpected retail demand for fresh produce,” Ashley Holland, FreshLinc’s Commercial Manager said.

It was a huge logistical effort, but every day we received offers of support from contractors who were on forced down-time, those who transported non-essential goods, offering-up their vehicles and drivers to help deliver fruit and vegetables.

The enormous increase in demand was managed using ClockWatcher Elite from Aquarius IT to help keep track of the FreshLinc fleet, its loads, and more than 800 drivers. It also meant the whole process could be monitored remotely by the FreshLinc staffed forced to work at home.

“Fortunately, the mad retail rush seems to have plateaued – for now - and we are very proud that through this difficult time we have all rallied together as an industry to keep the country stocked,” Holland said.

“It was also very humbling to receive volunteer support for our own charitable efforts during what was already a scheduled busy peak on from Mother’s Day, when we co-ordinated the delivery of fresh produce and flowers donated by our suppliers/customers, to NHS facilities and care homes.”

“As an industry – from the drivers on the front line, the warehouse staff working around the clock, and all the admin teams and supporting system partners working behind the scenes in these worrying times - we should be rightfully proud,” he added.

About the Author


George Barrow

George has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years and is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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