Les Flanagan of Northamptonshire based Les Flanagan Logistics Services Ltd (LFLS) started in the logistics industry in the 1970s. This longevity has given the industry veteran an enviable contact book and a wealth of experience that he can call upon for the largest or smallest customer.

Over the decades, he has developed a familiarity with the practises of supply chain management, logistics, warehousing and 3PLs, which has led to long-standing relationships with wholesalers, manufacturers and blue-chip retailers.

From business strategy review to project management and operational implementation, LFLS covers a broad range of services and provides advice and support on transportation from small vans to large goods vehicles across many market sectors from grocery logistics through to two-man home delivery.

He says: In a career spanning almost 50 years, this is the strangest time I’ve ever seen for the industry, yet there are lots of positives. It has certainly highlighted the important role the supply chain plays to keep industry moving and nations clothed and fed. Businesses more than ever before need a reliable supply chain, and safe and dependable warehousing and logistics.

LFLS is currently working with a number of global freight forwarders some of which with which LFLS has been working for almost a decade.

Flanagan says: I have seen first-hand the dynamic response by forwarders to air freight and forwarding. As the demand for the safe warehouse space to store bulk PPE, for example has soared in an already overheated market, we made contact with them all to see if we could help them find more space. From a standing start, we viewed premises, agreed terms, commercials, signed the contract, secured the space and began moving in 20,000 pallets, with capacity of up to 40,000, in less than a week.

Since then, LSFS has set up another six warehouses accommodating up to another 70,000 pallets.

Perfect storm

With 95% of the world’s cargo moving in passenger aircraft and COVID-19 decimating passenger travel, scheduled freight has become the movement of choice. But as retail gets set for the golden quarter and PPE pre-empting a second spike of COVID-19 push warehouse space to capacity, this is why agile and reliable global solutions partners are more important than ever during the Coronavirus pandemic.

LFLS is primed and ready for the perfect storm as Q4 products, PPE and pre-Brexit bulk vie for vital air freight services and warehouse space already close to capacity with the global reduction on aircraft bellyhold space.

Flanagan says, ‘As we went into lockdown in March we started to get calls from organisations that had expanded their product range into new sectors, and began importing into new territories, requiring considerably more warehousing space, almost overnight. In particular was the surge of requests to move and store PPE and medical equipment in big numbers. With 50 years of logistic experience, a broad supplier network and, coupled with a network of fantastic contacts, we were ably placed to help customers continue to move goods and freight despite the pandemic. We set the wheels in motion to provide a rapid response to the crisis.’

Industry observers suggest that demand is only going to grow with stockpiles of PPE taking up warehouse space and transport resources and displacing normal products and services. Retail is ramping up for Q4 and business concerned about BREXIT are overstocking product, putting further capacity constraints on an already pressured environment.

It’s exactly the type of challenge that we relish. As Flanagan explains, ‘We have the knowledge and expertise, we have a fantastic network of contacts, we are flexible and move at pace We’re agile and well versed in handling urgent warehousing requirements of a complex nature. We are dedicated to handling time critical and often complex requests for customers that need to move quickly. We’re on hand and ready to face the challenge ahead.’