7th March 2021 | 4-MIN READ

A digitally savvy 3PL reached out to serve apparel manufacturers at the height of the Pandemic

EFL 3PL Fulfilment Center


Best known for global logistics and being a forerunner in third party logistics solutions in Sri Lanka, when the pandemic hit, EFL 3PL did not stop its operations.

At EFL 3PL, we merchandise by sea, land and air and handle some of Sri Lanka’s biggest global apparel manufacturers.

We are an organization that’s on a quest to digitalize supply chains and we are equally invested in data science and robotics. With many countries closing borders earlier, global merchandise began falling in many volumes. Yet, we took a different turn. We re-invented ourselves to overcome the challenges brought forth by the ongoing pandemic.

In partnership with one of the leading apparel exporters in the country, we re-designed age-old warehousing systems to effectively play out the first historically speaking virtual-physical stock verification in Sri Lanka.

The benefited exporter’s total supply was approximately 11,000 CBM which was equivalent to about 225 forty-foot containers. We used four of our fulfillment centers to serve the supply. With multiple strategically located distribution centers established along the highways, we had the chance of eliminating any risk involved with putting all the inventory into one place. Even if one center had to close down due to contamination of COVID-19, our beneficiary was still able to rely on the stocks placed in other centers.

For one of our clients, a total of 25 plants served at a given time where roughly an average of 150,000 fabric yards was processed per day.

How did we keep COVID-19 at bay?

EFL 3PL’s Safety First Policy identified critical operations and personnel, and restructured work arrangements remotely and at the office premises, while non-operational staff continued to operate from home post-lockdown. Risk assessments based on vulnerability and probability considering all operations at EFL 3PL was conducted and a control plan was put into place which consisted of strict workplace guidelines.

Leveraging on advanced technology, EFL 3PL implemented its own home-grown digital dashboard and mobile application, which give the management real-time insights across all facilities on the risk level, number of negative and positive cases, site wise and total number of PCRs and Rapid antigen tests carried out as well as much more advanced real-time data.

Staff was provided with the necessary protective equipment including face masks and shields. We relied on AI-driven crowd mask and temperature detection systems (to detect whether or not a person is wearing a mask); AI-driven cameras to detect temperature and mask discipline in large gatherings, instantly notifying management and teams; 3D facility tour and live view options to facilitate external stakeholder visits and cargo unloading and loading procedures were created and shared with customers to communicate to their respective transporters.

In other measures, we adopted a bubble strategy within the Distribution Centers where workers were divided into  different color zones based on their operations. Workers from each of these color zones were given lunch breaks and work breaks at different hours so that one zone does not mix with another in an attempt to minimize the spread of the disease.

We were probably the only 3PL that followed the WHO concept of Test, Test, Test, and recorded the highest spend on testing in Sri Lanka to keep our staff safe while ensuring that  our clients’ operations continue.

We provided remote access to inventory reports through mobile applications. Doing so, we facilitated timely and proactive decision-making to all the related parties. Real-time data dashboards, virtual tours, and advanced scanning tools offered the successful verification of the raw materials across multiple sites in record time, while the entire process was governed and signed off by an independent global audit firm.

This process innovation helped key individuals from the apparel company and the review firm to partake distantly without having to compromise on the outcome of the verification nor the wellbeing of their workers.

In summary, our technology-first strategy helped a leading apparel manufacturer and exporter to continue its business despite the collapse of supply chains.

Our aim is to build technology for logistics so that businesses are better prepared to run even in the worst turbulent turfs. We have faith that digital technology can help any business scale faster.

 If you are looking for reliability, agility and no-excuse responsible logistics, then look no further than EFL 3PL.

Over the years, we have thrived on overcoming the challenges of operating in limited logistic infrastructure markets, taking our operations to 24 countries, 60+ offices, and over 2,300 staff around the world.



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