‘We keep the world moving’ is the official claim of Linde Material Handling’s parent company, the KION Group. However, in the midst of the current pandemic, it is much more than “just” a motto. It is a promise to the customers of Linde and the KION Group, to which both feel more committed than ever. Because as the world's leading provider of material handling solutions and industrial trucks, Linde and KION play a truly key role in securing supplies to the public.
What do we actually need in your daily lives when it really matters? What items can we do without in an emergency? And how can we ensure that the necessary goods are available in sufficient quantities; at the right time and in the right place? Just a few weeks ago, no one would have guessed that these and other questions would soon be on practically everyone’s minds across the world. Yet, since the moment the coronavirus began its global spread, the systems which ensure supplying the various populations around the world has been receiving special attention.
Systemically relevant industries in the current situation include healthcare, pharmaceuticals, food production, logistics and food retailing and thus precisely the areas which represent the lion's share of KION's customers. The industrial trucks from KION brands, such as Linde Material Handling, as well as the supply chain solutions from Linde’s sister company Dematic, ensure an optimal flow of material goods and the smooth delivery processes for them; both in their ordinary daily business and in states of emergency.
Our workforce is putting in an enormous amount of effort to ensure that we can provide our customers with the best possible service, even in a difficult and constantly changing environment. It also applies to service and spare parts supply, which are of the utmost importance to our customers, especially now. And they are available in full regardless of the production of new vehicles,
explains Gordon Riske, KION Group CEO. Thus, Linde as a subsidiary of KION is making a vital contribution to maintaining public supply.
Securing basic needs
In times of lockdown, the food retail industry assumes a special role worldwide. Whether it’s Kaufland in Germany, in England at Morrisons and ASDA, or at many retail chains in several other countries worldwide, the industrial trucks from Linde are managing the flow of goods in the gigantic warehouses belonging to food wholesalers and they are ensuring that the supply for the large supermarket chains does not come to a complete standstill.
A special challenge here is the customer’s altered purchasing behavior: Their demand for some products is enormous and retailers have had little time to prepare for it. More than ever, supermarkets need support to cope with the current workload. Many are turning to rental concepts used by manufacturers to add to their fleets on such short notice.
To support the industry during this period, we have drawn on resources across our network and delivered vehicles to all parts of the country,
notes Eamonn Parker, a vice president of Sales and Marketing for Linde Material Handling UK.
Keeping supply chains running
Whether its food, beverages or hygiene products, what impact does the altered purchasing behavior have on manufacturing companies? Apparently a rather tremendous one. German toilet paper producer Hakle has ramped up production so that it can quickly ensure supplies for the constantly empty shelves. Linde forklifts ensure that the mountains of rolls are loaded as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, driverless transport systems from Dematic on the other side of the world ensure that there are ample supplies of diapers for babies and toddlers for delivery.
How do these goods get into the shops and then the hands of the consumer? This is where the logistics service providers behind the large supermarket chains come in to play. They also rely on the support of Linde and KION. Looking at rail logistics provider, DB Schenker, demonstrates just how well cooperation works – even in times of a pandemic. Numerous forklifts from Linde MH were used to load 500 pallets of pasta from Italy for transport to 650 German Aldi-Süd supermarkets.
Particularly in difficult times, we do everything we can to ensure our customers' supply chains. We play our part in ensuring that our customers can continue to do business and that consumers do not stand in front of empty shelves.
Christophe Lautray, managing director of Sales and Service at Linde Material Handling
Finally, the supply chain specialist, Dematic, also makes sure all processes can run smoothly in intralogistics by equipping warehouses and distribution centers with automated systems such as its popular multi-shuttle solutions and systems for conveying, sorting, sequencing and picking. Linde’s sister company makes goods available for dispatch in the shortest time possible.
Serving the healthcare industry
Linde products and solutions also ensure smooth processes when it comes to pharmaceuticals and medical goods. In pharmacy wholesale, the comparatively light, small-sized deliveries are often made using Linde's handy storage technology equipment.
However, one of the most critical issues of this pandemic involves supplying hospitals and doctors' surgeries with respiratory masks and protective clothing. When two million masks and 300,000 protective gowns arrived in Germany via detours in Leipzig in early April, vehicles from Linde helped the German Armed Forces to guarantee the fastest possible transport to Berlin so that the goods essential for survival could be distributed to hospitals and doctors' practices in Germany's largest city.
The brewery group AnheuserBusch InBev currently produces not only beer but also disinfectants, the demand for which has also increased rapidly in recent weeks. As a customer of Linde, forklifts are also used here to transport the goods.
Supporting official aid organizations
What else can be done to provide the best possible support to states, provinces and municipalities in the current situation? Lots, actually! Because where humanitarian challenges require rapid and efficient action, aid organizations and armies currently rely on a logistics chain that is at least as efficient as that of industrial companies. In many areas across Germany, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is currently responsible for the distribution and transport of respiratory masks, disinfectants, gloves and respirators. For loading the valuable freight into the ubiquitous blue trucks, THW counts on Linde trucks in German states like Bavaria.
The Swiss Army has also gotten involved in containing the coronavirus. Its fleet includes roughly 150 Linde vehicles used to secure its own supply chain. To keep them fully functional and to be fully operational for civil defense measures in the event of an emergency, the Swiss Army brought forward all service orders for the logistics vehicles at an early stage. A sensible measure, which Linde's service staff in Switzerland supported with all their might.
Fast material flow power with the rental solutions from Linde
Many systemically important companies currently require additional support. The current workload is also partly responsible for a higher material flow. Many are using Linde's rental concept to increase their fleets at short notice.
Possessing an answer for every question
Indeed, Linde and the KION Group help to keep the world moving. It does so with high-performance products made for the toughest demands and with flexible services that help customers move ahead at the right moment. And by being there whenever we are needed, responding wherever it is necessary at any time and in any situation, no matter how difficult.