The Importance of Adaptability in a COVID-19 Era

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By Blair Grant

The current state of business is different for every one of the clients we are serving. For some, their businesses have come to a stark slow down or complete haul. For others, their businesses are busier than ever, especially if they have been deemed essential or the products they produce are in demand. 

From a logistics perspective, the variance has presented some unique challenges for CTE Logistics. In the last five months, we’ve had to look at each of our clients individually, understand how their business models may have rapidly changed overnight and adjust our service to them accordingly. 

When we looked at our manufacturing clients, we found that some were forced to shut down in February or March while others were deemed essential. Then, we found while some businesses were essential, sometimes the jobs within that business weren’t essential. As you can imagine, this presents all kinds of different obstacles when trying to get a shipment from point A to B. 

One example of the complexities that we had to navigate through was one of our school district clients. When schools were abruptly closed, orders became pending and timelines rapidly shifted with no real insight into when deliveries could be made successfully. We had to work closely with the client and communicate often about how we could make the deliveries they needed even when school wasn’t in operation. 

Another trend we saw unfold in real time was businesses being innovative and quickly adapting to the needs of the market. One of our clients went from being a tooling company to now producing face shields. Another business went from being a distillery to now producing hand sanitizers. When an organization radically shifts its products and services, an entirely new supply chain strategy is needed. Plus, it was necessary to act as efficiently as possible from the transportation side so they could capitalize on their business shift. 

In the case of our client now producing face shields, time was of the essence. They received their first big order that needed to go to Washington State, but weren’t sure when the order would be done. We knew the state office was closed, but the order still needed to be received. We spent a lot of time working with the client and the state office to coordinate the transportation for a successful guarantee. It would have been a financial hit had the first big order not been able to get to the client. We are proud to say we facilitate the order successfully, giving the client reassurance they could pivot their business to face shields in a profitable way. 

Another instance where we had to work with the client to shift quickly was for a specialty retail store for a seasonal product. When the 150 retail stores shut down indefinitely due to COVID-19, we had many orders that were in transit. Working quickly, we were able to re-route many of the in-transit orders to a storage facility so they weren’t arriving to suddenly closed retail locations. 

It’s moments like these when our CTE team rises to the challenge and our decade of experience as a business shows. While the pandemic is certainly an extreme example of moments in our business where we had to quickly adapt, CTE Logistics is more than prepared for the uncertainty that our clients face today. 

The current environment has allowed us to think more like a startup business. We’ve had to be more agile than ever. We’ve had to rise above new challenges that we haven’t yet faced. We’ve risen to this challenge by being even more high touch than we were, using every challenge as a learning opportunity to get better and continuing to be diligent about checking our processes. 

As a result, we’ve been more detail oriented than ever, and created new procedures that increase our ability to be agile. Interestingly enough, even though our clients are experiencing new levels of stress and challenges, I would say they are happier than ever with our service and our team. Our effort is obvious. 

If you are a business struggling with transportation challenges, please reach out to our team for a free quote: