Luis Simões: Food logistics in emergency situations
07 Sep, 2023

The logistics of essential goods are crucial to ensure the supply to supermarkets and stores, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Operators and producers had to reconfigure their processes and adapt them to the new circumstances, with the aim of meeting the high demand with maximum safety and protection guarantees.

Luís Simões recognized with IFS Logistic certification

Thanks to its strong performance in this regard, Luís Simões has been recognized with the IFS Logistic certification (a system that certifies food safety in transportation and logistics activities, both in transportation means and storage) at its Logistics Operations Center in Guadalajara.

This achievement allowed LS to position itself as a preferred player during pandemic times in the logistics and transportation of food products.

This was the first center of Luís Simões in Spain to receive the IFS Logistic accreditation, joining the national centers in Carregado and Azambuja.

Located in the Puerta Centro – Ciudad del Transporte Industrial Park, it has an area of 89,000 m2, a capacity for 178,000 pallets, and a daily movement of 112 incoming trucks and 174 outgoing trucks. Additionally, it has 5,350 m2 dedicated to co-packing/e-commerce operations and temperature-controlled chambers, allowing it to support various product profiles and customers.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we noticed an increase in demand for products in certain sectors, such as food, compared to previous years. The same has happened with e-Commerce. All of this required us to rethink our solutions and look for new options to meet what the market was asking for and needing,” explains Vítor Enes, General Director of Business Development at Luís Simões.

To achieve this, it was necessary to create new logistics formulas tailored to the specific characteristics of the situation, including increased safety protocols and changes in the production chains of many manufacturers. It was also necessary to strengthen the commitment to sustainability, which involved investing in cleaner technologies.

Three new environmentally-friendly industrial refrigeration chambers

With this goal in mind, Luís Simões acquired three new environmentally-friendly industrial refrigeration chambers with low environmental impact and no greenhouse gas emissions, in an approximate total investment of 1.5 million euros. These chambers are located in the centers of Vila Nova de Gaia and Guadalajara, with capacities for 4,300 and 10,800 pallets, respectively.

This evolution and commitment to a new food logistics also allowed LS to compete for the Nestlé Sustainability Award and be ranked in the Top 10.

The new future of food logistics

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the distribution and logistics routines of the food sector. These are the five crucial aspects highlighted by Luís Simões to ensure normal distribution in emergency situations:

  1. Safety and protection of people: Logistics operators must implement a special action protocol that ensures the maximum protection of teams and other people involved in the distribution chain. Limiting access to centers, facilitating remote work, conducting tests, and creating COVID-19 protection kits were some of the measures implemented by Luís Simões in recent months, preventing transmission chains within the company.
  2. Team training: All employees must be aware of the new protocols and measures implemented to improve the efficiency of operations. This includes basic information on how to comply with safety guarantees, as well as information on how to proceed in case of cold chain incidents, for example.
  3. Collaborative model: Collaborative work between the operator and the client is essential to achieve efficient and profitable supply chains. It involves creating logistics models adapted to the specific situation of each case while finding synergies with other operations located in the same logistics facilities, allowing for operational efficiency, resource optimization, and sustainability for all supply chain players.
  4. Environmental monitoring and flexibility: Continuous analysis of the situation’s evolution and announced measures (such as legislative changes or safety protocols) is essential to develop adaptable logistics capable of responding to new needs. Operators should design flexible work processes prepared to implement changes quickly without compromising service levels.
  5. Time management: Effective time management will achieve maximum productivity in logistics activities. To achieve this, waiting times, loading and unloading times, as well as transit times, must be met and even reduced.

“In 2020, it became more evident than ever that logistics activity is fundamental to the well-being of society. Despite the challenges we faced, thanks to the efforts of all our teams and close collaboration with our clients, we managed to maintain operational efficiency and supply supermarkets and the e-Commerce channel,” concludes Vítor Enes.