Several companies have stepped up to meet new demands during the COVID-19 global pandemic and pivoted their production lines to make much-needed items. Automakers have shifted their manufacturing abilities from vehicles to ventilators, fashion designers have started making face masks and distilleries have learned to make hand sanitizer.
"The engineering that has gone on behind the scenes is one of the untold stories of this crisis," said Andy Moses, senior vice president of global products for Penske Logistics. “The leadership companies have shown is remarkable.”
These shifts add complexity to the supply chain as manufacturers work to source new raw materials and get their high-demand items into the hands of those who need them.
"Right now, many of the decisions are being made on the fly,” Moses said. “I don't think anyone has laid out the complete supply chain in a linear fashion. Instead, people are trying to coordinate concurrent workstreams."
This new reality makes supply chain visibility critical. “When everybody is working as fast as possible, it becomes even more important to quantify what ‘as fast as possible’ means,” Moses said. “Manufacturers must know what components have been ordered, when those orders have been fulfilled, and the day and time components will arrive so they can plan labor and production.”
Third-party logistics (3PL) providers can help manufacturers pivot rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re adaptable and used to things changing,” Moses said. “We can help select modes and identify carriers, and we have a proven IT platform that provides visibility and can help manufacturers interface with suppliers.”
“We make it easy for people to collaborate on a common platform.”
3PLs can tap into their extensive carrier base and transportation expertise to move new inbound and outbound products. “A ventilator is much smaller than an automobile, so the mode may change,” Moses said. “It may also have different cleanliness and sterilization protocols. We can help navigate those requirements.”
3PLs can also help manufacturers analyze their existing carrier base and broker discussions with carriers, allowing manufacturers to focus on their core competencies and meet crucial demand.
“The supply chain is resilient, and transportation and logistics providers are working around the clock to move critical goods,” Moses said. “The most important thing is to find a partner that you trust.”
Andy Moses is senior vice president of global products for Penske Logistics. Prior to this role, he was vice president of sales at Penske Truck Leasing. Moses has more than 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, serving in product and sales leadership positions with both Penske Truck Leasing and Rollins Truck Leasing. A Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Moses earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Brooklyn College and a master's degree from Pennsylvania State University in leadership development.