The logistics sector is exercising a key role during the state of alarm for the e-commerce boom due to the closure of the physical shops decreed by the Government and the difficulties for the displacement of citizens imposed for weeks. In Seur, the leading package transport company in Spain, they have maintained their operations, although they have also been forced to suspend activity in their “pick up” collection stores due to the coronavirus crisis. “We have had and still have a high level of responsibility and demand, guaranteeing the distribution and supply of basic products and keeping the economy active through electronic commerce”, explains the CEO of Seur, Alberto Navarro. “Obviously, and like most companies in the country, This situation has impacted us in every way, both economic and operational.. But I can proudly say that the entire company has known how to react and has adapted with great agility to the new reality in which we have been submerged for two months now, “says Navarro.
In fact, the health crisis has also impacted Seur’s turnover, as explained by the company’s CEO. “Before the crisis, the company was growing, but from the declaration of the state of alarm, we noticed a sharp drop in sales and activity.” However, consumption through the Internet has been encouraging “in recent weeks.” “It is true that electronic commerce has grown, but not enough to compensate for the drop in the first weeks. We are confident that starting in June, if we continue with this growth rate, we will regain the growth levels in sales prior to the crisis, “he says.
Although the balance has not yet been balanced by the economic paralysis of the principle of confinement, Navarro highlights the strong pull of online shopping at the present time. “The growth of electronic commerce during these last weeks has been exponential. We are talking about Christmas campaign levels at a time of year that usually record normal activity levels. All in all, the lack of preparation for the avalanche of orders and the investment in protection measures have led to an increase in additional costs. “Despite this, the sector has shown tremendous adaptability, but nevertheless, it is not prepared to assume the transfer from physical to online sales so abruptly and quickly under the usual service conditions and with minimum levels of economic viability ”, indicates Navarro.
Regarding the measures implemented, Navarro criticizes the “lack of planning” in the Government’s plan to tackle the health crisis. “The companies we have seen forced to make decisions hastily and without room for maneuver due to uncertainty generated in the confused and late publication of the measures in the BOE. This has caused some complexity in crisis management. ” He is also critical of the plan for gradual reopening by territory. “The de-escalation as it is proposed is forcing us to have greater flexibility and adaptability due to geographic differences instead of a single rule at the state level.
Seur’s senior manager is also critical of the government for “the lack of provision of personal protective equipment.” “Transport has been and is an essential sector, and we have found ourselves without the support of the Administration to to equip our templates with prevention materials. We have made a very important effort on our part to obtain these materials, which will continue to be necessary and mandatory throughout the coming months, “he explains. He also claims, in line with other leaders of companies based in Spain, more aid for SMEs and self-employed workers. “We see it necessary to encourage hiring companies and provide greater facilities and help self-employed entrepreneurs, who are, without a doubt, one of the groups most affected by the crisis.”
Pioneers in safety
By maintaining their activity throughout this time, in Seur they have been pioneers in implementing the safety and hygiene measures recommended by the Ministry of Health. «Our delivery people continue a zero contact protocol on delivery to avoid risky situations. And we have provided all the groups likely to telework with the tools and security measures necessary to be able to carry out their work, “says Navarro, who also describes some of the ins and outs of returning to face-to-face work. “As our operations have not ceased during the state of alarm, de-escalation is not going to be as complex as it can be in other companies. Mainly, it will affect the collectives that have been teleworking. However, and in order to preserve the safety of all our workers, we must carry out these steps with special caution. ”
Given the drop in consumption and the closure of their collection stores, in Seur they were “forced to take measures to reduce working hours” at the beginning of the state of alarm, “especially in those profiles that were most affected by the situation, such as the stalls at our points of sale ». “Fortunately, it has been a very temporary measure and with the growth of e-commerce we have not only returned to normal work, but we are generating employment by reinforcing our workforce with more than 2,000 people among delivery men and storekeepers. A growth very similar to the campaign period of ‘Black Friday’ and Christmas, ”says the CEO of the transport company.
* Seur closed 2019 with a turnover of 700 million euros driven by international business and electronic commerce, as well as by the boom in urgent deliveries through its Seur Now service. International sales already represent a third of its turnover and in electronic commerce it reached 250 million euros at the end of the year.