Lockdown diaries – Alberto Barlocco, Senior Expeditor
Alberto’s role can be described as a ‘hands-on’ one. As a Senior Expeditor, he spends most of his time visiting vendors and coordinating activities of five other third-party expeditors in northern Italy and Germany.
In a time when even shaking hands became a rule breach, ‘hands-on’ took on a whole new meaning.
“My daily routine was turned upside down in early March,” Alberto describes the start of the lockdown in Milan, located in one of Europe’s worst affected areas – north Italy. “I had to stop visiting vendors and sub-vendors, and even going to our office in Milan was a problem.”
The onset of the pandemic in the region was full of uncertainty for all businesses and for Alberto it was a daily task to explain the logistics and production issues to foreign partners, especially in the parts of the world where the lockdown was yet to be announced. “About a month in, the authorities really got involved and the situation was standardised. In April, working from home became our new routine.”
"It was all very overwhelming in the beginning. But with headphones, separate rooms, laptops, and a reliable internet connection, we adapted.”
From uncertainty to efficiency
In the early days of the lockdown, Alberto could see the benefits. No rush hour traffic, an extra few minutes of sleep, and a swift start to the day after breakfast. The reality of being a busy man in a busy family soon struck.
“I have two children who were supposed to be in school, and my wife was also adapting to working from home,” Alberto continues. “Video lessons, both for school and musical instruments, work calls, it was all very overwhelming in the beginning. But with headphones, separate rooms, laptops, and a reliable internet connection, we adapted.”
As the lockdown began to ease, Alberto and his family added daily exercise to their routine. ”We found exercise videos on YouTube, and when we could finally leave the house, we started doing a daily walk, run, or cycle.”
“We are looking at implementing a new system, which should simplify our work, from setting up the visit request, to creating the final report. It is very promising”
Back to business
When the region slowly started to transition to a ‘new normal’, the team in Italy had to try hard to catch-up with the backlog of work. “Expeditors will be the last to go back to seeing vendors, as vendors have stringent rules on who can access their sites.”
Even though Alberto’s professional life, like many others around the world, was turned upside down, he sees the potential for it to be beneficial in simplifying the way the work is conducted. “We are looking at implementing a new system, which should simplify our work, from setting up the visit request, to creating the final report. It is very promising,” Alberto adds.
And in terms of personal life, surely something positive can be deducted? “Balancing home and work was a good experience but I am happy it is over. During the total lockdown, when we couldn’t even leave our homes, I was jogging inside the courtyard like a caged hamster!” Alberto concludes jokingly.