COVID-19 update: call for logistics professionals to come together

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has launched an initiative to bring together logistics and passenger transport operators in urgent need of supply chain resources.

The initiative, backed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) matches organisations together so that those who have capacity can help those organisations in need, such as the NHS and the grocery retail sector.

Register on the CILT website if:

• your organisation needs urgent support
• you’re a driver in need of work
• your organisation has capacity to support others in need

Motorway services are open
Motorway and major trunk road services remain open following advice from the government deeming them ‘essential services’.
The government has made it clear that for haulage and delivery drivers, travel is essential and therefore motorway services remain open, and continue to offer takeaway food, toilet and shower services.

How to keep safe
The RHA has published guidance for lorry drivers on how to keep safe when delivering goods, handling documentation and refuelling.

Keep up to date with all official government advice on COVID-19 at GOV.UK.

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Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19

Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.

There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.

The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.

This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.

The changes will also ensure all employers affected by COVID-19 have the flexibility to allow workers to carry over leave at a time when granting annual leave could leave them short-staffed in some of Britain’s key industries, such as food and healthcare.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Whether it is in our hospitals, or our supermarkets, people are working around the clock to help our country deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

These changes will mean these valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “From our fields to our supermarkets, we are hugely grateful to the many people working around the clock to keep the nation fed.

At this crucial time, relaxing laws on statutory leave will help ensure key workers can continue the important work to keep supplies flowing, but without losing the crucial time off they are entitled to.

We welcome the measures the food industry is already taking to keep shelves stocked and supply chains resilient, and will continue to support them with their response to coronavirus.”

The changes will amend the Working Time Regulations, which apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours, and workers on zero-hours contracts.

The change is aimed at allowing businesses under particular pressure from the impacts of COVID-19 the flexibility to better manage their workforce, while protecting workers’ right to paid holiday.

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Workshops must stay open during the crisis, say First Line

In the face of the coronavirus outbreak, now more than ever, workshops have a vital role to play. While MOT deadlines have been extended, workshops still need to be prepared and willing to repair the cars that are relied on not only by designated key workers such as NHS staff, grocery shop personnel and delivery drivers, but also for those whose jobs don’t allow them to work from home.

The Government announced that workshops, as well as the motor factors that supply them with the replacement parts they need, can stay open during this COVID-19 pandemic, especially as so many key workers rely on their vehicles.

However, due to the recent statement that MOTs due on or after the 30th March are being extended by six months, many workshops are considering whether to stay open or close the doors.

For those staying open to support motorists, the dilemma is more about how workshops can protect their customer base, whilst keeping staff safe and free from infection. Vehicles will still need repair and service, and now, with the decision to suspend the requirement for an MOT, it is more important than ever to ensure they are kept in a roadworthy condition. Therefore, although business will be reduced, workshops need to try to not let it come to a complete stop. By following Government guidelines regarding cleanliness and social distancing, workshops can continue to keep society moving and provide those important repairs, especially to the staff that the public is relying on.

Global Marketing Director, Jon Roughley, said: “It’s times like this where having the ability to communicate with their customers through effective and efficient means enables workshops to adapt and evolve in these ever-changing circumstances.

“Do they have their customer’s email addresses and phone numbers, with permission to keep them informed? Could they operate with a reduction of hours, or carry out some mobile repairs at the customers’ premises? In addition, can their customers contact them in an emergency if they need out of hours advice or repairs?

“By changing the flow of the typical day and how they interact with their customers will enable many businesses to come out of this crisis in a much more positive position.”

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Letter from ECP CEO Andy Hamilton to customers regarding COVID-19

Dear Customer,

Following last night’s announcement from the Prime Minister, I can confirm that our branches remain open and our deliveries will continue – to support you.

Given the critical support they provide to keep key workers moving, garages are exempt from the business closure order. They need to be open for NHS staff, teachers, care workers, delivery drivers and all the other key workers that we’re relying on in this crisis.

Without the supply of parts, these garages can’t keep these key workers on the road.

Euro Car Parts also supplies the emergency services and the Royal Mail, keeping their vehicles operational, and all the national roadside recovery services. We will continue to supply them with what they need too.

To further protect our customers and colleagues, we are stepping up safety procedures at our branches.

From today and to support social distancing we will be operating a one-in-one-out policy for those customers that have no choice but to visit our branches, with customers being asked to queue two metres apart while outside the building.

Our counters might not be manned to the same level so please accept our apologies if service is slower than normal.

But if you’re not a key worker or a garage customer supporting them, then please respect the government’s guidance and stay at home.

As a reminder, we are still doing regular cleaning of our vans, branches and retail spaces, wearing latex gloves to serve customers and while on delivery routes, and making hand gels and soaps available to all our teams, in line with government guidelines.

We’re working closely with our suppliers to ensure we can maintain good availability across all our products and branch network.

To date, we haven’t experienced any issues with stock availability because of the outbreak and are well-prepared to mitigate against any potential impact.

I’d like to thank you for your support as we put these important measures in place, and our teams on the ground for the amazing commitment and care they are delivering every day to help keep the UK’s critical services moving.

The safety of our people, customers and communities is our primary concern. Together, we can help keep key workers moving by following this guidance. We’re keeping our processes under constant review and will update them if necessary.

Kind regards

Andy Hamilton, CEO, Euro Car Parts Group

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TechMan to provide ‘business as usual’ for customers during Coronavirus restrictions

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, TechMan is advising its customers that it will be continuing to provide services and support for its garage management system whilst these unprecedented restrictions are in place.

The government has announced a forced closure of all non-essential retail outlets, however garages are an explicit exemption to the rule in order to provide ongoing services for repairs and MOTs of the vehicles of emergency services, key workers and essential supply workers.

Individual garages will be evaluating their own position and capabilities during this time in order to understand the best next steps for their businesses and how they can operate whilst adhering to the new social distancing instructions advised by government.

Leo Freebairn commented: “In line with government advice on social distancing, some of our team will be working from home whilst others that support our critical infrastructure will be working from the office.

“Whilst this is a major change for both your business and ours we will be endeavouring to continue to provide ‘business as usual’ services to the best of our abilities, and will be working to support our customers throughout this time.

“We would also recommend that you speak to whoever runs your payroll in order to better understand your own position around the furloughed leave-of-absence legislation.

“These are truly strange times, and we want you to know that we are still here for you and your business as the weeks progress.”

For further information on TechMan call 01604 666 720 or visit http://www.techmangms.com/.

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The Parts Alliance to continue deliveries

The Parts Alliance has confirmed that its branch network will continue to offer trade deliveries, adding that there are no significant shortages of products emerging within the supply chain.

Neil Croxson, chief executive officer of The Parts Alliance said: “We feel it’s our social responsibility to continue supporting garages across the UK at this crucial time, operating in a way that keeps our people and our customers as safe as possible. Our motor factor branches provide the vital link between suppliers and garages that need quality products to keep cars moving safely.

“The decision on whether garages remain open will be taken by them individually with mind to the risks involved and the needs of their communities, but the fact is many people are reliant on cars, either as key workers travelling to jobs, or to buy food and medicines.”

However, garages are advised that service levels may be reduced to improve the safety of staff and the group has implemented a wide range of safety measures, including increased cleaning of vehicles and premises with latex gloves used on delivery routes.

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A message from Nutexa

We want to reassure you that Nutexa Frictions Ltd is still open for business.

As a Brake lining manufacturer, we are aware that commercial traffic will remain an important resource receiving goods and supplies to all concerned, similarly the bus companies will continue to need linings and pads.

We are still operating the reline brake shoe scheme, the team are loading and unloading your vehicle to minimise contact and the turnaround time is not affected. Our phone lines remain fully manned as are our emails.

Our delivery partners, TNT, Countrywide and Palletways, are still working normally and are currently experiencing no delays.

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EAG ‘very much open for business’ and ‘heightens cleaning policies’ following COVID-19 outbreak advice

Excel Automotive Group (EAG) has confirmed that it is ‘very much open for business’, amid the outbreak of COVID-19 and the latest measures the UK government introduced on Monday evening.

Motor factors and workshops are being allowed to remain open; therefore, EAG is prepared for continued demand. EAG Managing Director, Adrian Lamb, has assured customers that the company is primed and ready to continue the professional and reliable service that they would expect:

“Customers can order online through our website – www.excelautomotivegroup.com – or through TecCom. They should contact us to set-up these facilities, if they are not already connected – it only takes a few minutes.

“Alternatively, they can call our friendly customer service team on 0113 271 8111 or e-mail [email protected] We continue to hold a very good level of stock, which means availability remains excellent.”

Adrian also addressed how EAG is ensuring its workforce and customers remain safe in and around its office, stores and warehouse: “We have always operated a tight policy of cleanliness and hygiene surrounding these areas, but are naturally now following government and World Health Organisation guidelines, as well as introducing heightened cleaning policies across all areas of the business to reduce contamination.

“The health and wellbeing of our staff continues to be of the upmost importance to us. As concerns surrounding the spread of the virus continue to grow, we are keeping ourselves up-to-date with all news and policies.

“Following the latest advice from the government, we will be limiting all non-essential business travel and meetings. Where possible, staff will be advised to work from home and, of course, our drivers will be taking extra care when delivering and minimising contact.

“Our thoughts are with all those people and their families who are affected at this difficult time. Thank you, as always, for their continued support.”

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Autosupplies – open for business

Autosupplies is open as normal but has very strict restrictions in place, which are in-line with the government’s latest directives regarding Coronavirus and social distancing. Of paramount importance is the health and well-being of its staff and customers. Only essential staff are currently in work and it is working closely with customers on their current and future requirements, particularly in supporting local authorities, emergency vehicles and keyworkers.

The business has very effective procedures in place and has implemented an action plan of deep cleaning all Autosupplies Group sites on a daily basis. In the interest of its employees’ well-being and safety, it continues to follow the UK Government and NHS Coronavirus guidelines and social distancing advice.

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Six-month MOT extension causes huge challenges, says IAAF

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has said the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) decision to extend MOTs for a six-month period causes “huge challenges” for the sector, arguing that the industry needs to ensure vehicles continue to be kept safe in these challenging times.

After receiving extensive feedback from its membership, the IAAF has found many motor factors fear that without MOT business, some garages will no longer be viable and so could result in the complete loss of the essential repair services for key workers, logistics networks and emergency services, which are key to keeping the country running during this critical period.

IAAF is also urging DVSA to be clearer on the definition of ‘roadworthy condition’ and to provide clarity on its plans to support the industry and keep roads safe moving forward. IAAF is also seeking urgent clarification on insurance.

Another concern expressed by members is that the majority of consumers do not realise that they are expected to ensure the car is roadworthy and if not, they face large fines and penalty points.

A “roadworthy” condition is not specifically defined, which means some cars will be driven in a dangerous condition and in turn, the insurance companies will refuse to honour the insurance because they can prove the car is un-roadworthy.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “First and foremost, we support any measure to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The government wants the automotive aftermarket supply chain to remain open but the decision to extend MOTs removes any guaranteed income for garages. We have seen how well garages have adapted to the ‘new norm’ and successfully maintained a vehicle’s roadworthiness, either through enforcing social distancing measures or offering a car collection and return service.

“We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the DVSA, calling for greater clarity around the implications of the six-month extension, and offering suggestions to ensure safety on the road remains of utmost importance, while protecting the automotive aftermarket.”

To keep up to date on IAAF’s work around Covid-19, visit www.iaaf.co.uk/iaaf-news.

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