A view from the In Kind Direct Warehouse
Janet, our Inventory and Liaison Manager, explains all we're doing to keep getting essentials out to where they're most needed
As the severity of the coronavirus pandemic started to hit, we made changes to our working environment: ensuring we had the necessary gloves and masks; regular hand washing and hand sanitising became the norm; social distancing measures were implemented. Even two of our colleagues based in London got up to speed with the warehouse systems just in case!
Then - WOW - we could not have imagined we would get so much support from our donor companies in such a short time. Within hours we were receiving emails from our colleagues advising of huge donation commitments from manufacturers of essential supplies: Andrex® donating one million toilet rolls; PZ Cussons offering huge amounts of Carex hand wash, Unilever providing dried food and cleaning products; Reckitt Benckiser with cleaning products; P&G with feminine hygiene products; plus more from other donors.
In April, almost ten times as much arrived as the same time last year - 1,764 pallets from 40 donations! We had to be proactive and arrange overflow storage as our warehouse was bursting.
We knew once these items were on the catalogue our network would rush to make their orders.. we had to be creative to get them despatched as soon as we could. Our warehouse manager made extra pack benches from pallets as a temporary fix until we were able to get engineers in to install new proper ones. We bought in an agency team of 18 which we split along with our own staff into two shifts: one team working 6am – 2pm, the other 2pm – 10pm. Not only did this give us extra working hours but it also protected everyone by making social distance measures possible with so many extra hands on deck.
A delivery from P&G arriving at the warehouse
Our committed warehouse team worked tirelessly to get orders despatched. Over 2,500 orders were distributed across the UK in April alone, meaning In Kind Direct supported almost 1,200 charities, food banks and community groups with essential supplies. Almost three times the value of goods has been distributed compared to the same time last year.
We believe everyone deserves access to life’s essentials. We are extremely proud to work extra hard to make sure this is possible during the current crisis. We know, however, that this would not be possible without the incredible support of our donor partners.