by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

A Cold Chain Best Practices Checklist

A Cold Chain Best Practices Checklist

The best cold chain practices?have evolved significantly over the past ten years in parallel with the evolution of the global supply chain. This evolution was the result of free enterprise at work; the best got better. Now, the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) will add an addditional metric to frozen product distribution. This act is the result of simple questions from consumers about today’s complex food chain. As consumers ask more questions about where products are sourced, they also question handling and packaging procedures. Make sure your 3PL has the answers.

Readiness checklist:

  • Audit of your distribution facilities
  • Identify risks and put actions in place to fix issues
  • Train and document procedures
  • Perform preventative routine maintenance
  • Invest in technology
  • Evaluate transportation options
  • Know regulatory standards

Let’s break this checklist down into four primary areas: Operations, Training, Technology and Regulation.

Operations for distributing frozen foods include warehousing and transportation. It is important to distinguish between the two because both include their own risks and regulations. Warehousing and storage facilities have their own criteria for audits, especially if they are third-party owned.

When auditing distribution facilities, check for the following*:

  • State of the facilities should be modern and incorporate sanitization in their design
  • WMS is used to manage daily tasks and direct work
  • Storage is designed to prevent spoilage, contamination, and separates allergens
  • Zones are established for temperature control or product-specific needs
  • Tamper-proofing measures are in place
  • Staging is fully enclosed
  • Loading patterns are known and followed by employees

*not an exhaustive list

Transportation of products can be managed with a fairly standard set of criteria with a few new additions required by the FSMA. These criteria apply to both commercial and private reefer fleets. Mixing rules need to be enforced so that carriers avoid commingling incompatible freight. Shipping units, like palettes, insulated totes, dunnage and covers, need to be in good shape or replaced regularly. Loading facilities need to be easy to access, and their appointment scheduling should be optimized for quick turns. Once the freight is loaded, the carrier should know what to do to check and maintain temperature while not compromising the quality of the food. The FSMA Sanitary Transport Rule goes a bit further to address both safety and sanitary transport. You or your logistics provider must keep written work procedures and records on all shipments. Transport equipment needs to be in good condition, and communication about the shipment must flow freely between involved parties.

The next primary area satisfies the Sanitary Transport Rule’s final aspect: training. Inadequate or incomplete training leads to waste and product loss. Make sure your warehouse or carrier have training programs in place. Under the Sanitary Transport Rule guidelines, employees must be trained so they are aware of proper handling and know how to prevent or recognize contamination. The training is not limited to work procedures. Employees also must be trained on personal hygiene.

Time and temperature are integral parts of the cold chain, but what about technology? Advances in connectivity make sharing data achievable and practical. Sharing information easily helps in decision making because parties (shipper, carrier, and consignee) can be alerted to issues, and all have the data they need to decide what to do right away. At a minimum, your company should have a WMS and a TMS. If you outsource these functions, your providers should give you web portal access.

Finally, know your regulations, and be proactive. The complexity of food safety regulatory standards?requires dedication and expertise so that your company is up to date with improvements even before they become a law. This forward-looking mentality gives your company a competitive edge and ensures the safety and quality of your products.

Not all 3PLs possess the necessary knowledge required to navigate the complex cold chain. At Hanson Logistics, our team?s extensive experience in refrigerated warehousing and transportation sets us apart from the rest. Our best practices in logistics don?t just meet the stringent regulations and requirements?they exceed them, while simultaneously ensuring customer satisfaction. For 3PL expertise that applies a ?Yes, We Can!? philosophy to every challenge, contact Hanson Logistics today

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Why 3PL Experience is More Important Than Ever

Why 3PL Experience is More Important Than Ever

With the influx of transportation rules and regulations, navigating the temperature-controlled logistics industry is more challenging than ever. In order to properly manage the ultra-sensitive cold chain, shippers are finding it more and more attractive to leverage the specialized knowledge of a third-party logistics provider (3PL).

In the cold chain, a single upstream error can (and will) have a domino effect on the entire supply chain, and the more complex the industry becomes (see below regulations), the more disciplined and pragmatic you must be to avoid mistakes. Partnering with an expert 3PL will help better ensure that each and every step of the cold chain has been managed well. An experienced and quality-focused 3PL will have the systems in place, aided by advanced technology, to monitor product quality throughout the cold chain?not only within the four walls, but outside as well.

A smart 3PL will monitor environments and overall vehicle condition. In temperature-controlled transportation, trailer temperature must be properly adjusted according to the type of goods being carried. The right 3PL will not only monitor the current temperature of the truck but will also ensure that only like products are shipped together and that the truck has been thoroughly sanitized between shipments.

While a good 3PL will provide that level of service regardless of regulatory pressure, several recent acts will affect the temperature-controlled sector. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act?s (FSMA) proposed rule, ?Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food,? requires strict sanitary and temperature-controlled for shippers, receivers, and carriers who transport food in the U.S. While this may promote truck sanitation, it could also shrink the number of trucking companies who are willing to ship temperature-sensitive goods, thus affecting capacity.

The California Air Resources Board?s (CARB) also has new regulations, which will require all trucks to have 2010-model-year engines or equivalent by the year 2023. This regulation applies to most all diesel-fueled trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds. As California possesses a great majority of the U.S.?s temperature-sensitive food, this regulation could also have a large effect on capacity.

How do you choose the right 3PL? Experience?and Hanson Logistics has more than 60 years of it. We understand complex logistics. We know how to drive volume in frozen food distribution. We know food safety and best practices. With our supply chain experts and advanced TMS technology, we have control and visibility, from one end of the supply chain to the other. For complicated temperature-controlled requirements, the solution may be as close as your phone. Contact Hanson Logistics today for the best 3PL expertise in the industry.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

The Logistics Expertise You May Not See

The Logistics Expertise You May Not See

Hanson Logistics has achieved many milestones, thanks to the effort and commitment of all Hanson associates, including warehouse staff, administration, drivers and supply chain directors.

With the recent addition of two new members?Terry Brown and Mark Eriks?to the Hanson Logistics Board of Directors, it?s important to acknowledge the value our board adds to our company.

We?re fortunate to have a board comprised of very talented and experienced individuals, all of whom have played an important role in our growth. During the last 10 years, Hanson Logistics has successfully transitioned into the 3PL market with an additional focus on temperature-controlled distribution.

Our growth has required a deepening of our management team to include seasoned logistics professionals. Our board of directors provides our team with guidance and perspective from a variety of industry backgrounds. In addition to extensive logistics expertise, our board consists of members who have experience in industries such as consumer products, banking, legal, and retailing. They are leaders, problem solvers and mentors.

Our board of directors works in concert to gain a greater vision for developing long-term strategy. As a company that has more than 60 years of experience, we rely on our team of experienced executives to strengthen and support our continuously growing organization, applying ?Yes, We Can!? to everything we do.

We are grateful for this expertise you may not see.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

What Can a 3PL Do for You?

Since the term ? and the market ? originated in the ?70s, 3PLs providers have evolved to offer a variety of niche and broad-based supply chain services. Today, with the need for sophisticated technology, access to capacity and increasing compliance issues, even those companies that may have been hesitant to outsource logistics to a third party are acknowledging the growing value.

A 3PL offers many benefits, some of which include:

  • Opportunity Cost ? Outsourcing allows you channel your resources to your core competency; you invest in yourself. A 3PL eliminates the need for capital expenditures in all of the separate elements of the logistics process (warehouse space, technology, staff, transportation, etc.). And no more diversions spent on rectifying a costly mistake. All of these factors directly impact your company?s rate of growth.
  • Leverage Expertise?3PLs are experts in the supply chain industry and know what solution is best for each customer. 3PLs have (or should have) the technology that gives you visibility into inventory, tracking, and delivery, plus automation that eliminates repetitive tasks. Technology is required to serve larger retailers and other lean supply chain customers. And if you?re in the food business, technology is a must for traceability. ?With this best-in-class expertise at your fingertips, logistics becomes an asset, not a liability.
  • Scalability? Responding to seasonal demands, changing marketplaces and rapid company growing places a huge burden on internal resources. 3PLs are structured to manage any and all transitions or changes in the supply chain. The combination of warehousing network, truck fleet, and assets from supply chain partners gives 3PLs scalability to meet supply chain demand peaks. . . and valleys.
  • Continuous Improvement?3PLs constantly look for ways to improve the logistics process. These providers know how to deploy resources that ensure the job will get done in the most efficient way, providing security and comfort for your company. Whether it?s the latest advancements in technology or continuous optimization of the supply chain process, a 3PL has your best interest in mind.

And if you?re searching for a 3PL provider with a 60-year track record in all of the above, give Hanson Logistics a call. Outsourcing your needs to Hanson allows you to leverage best-in-class logistics as a competitive advantage.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Mitigating Recession-Altered Transportation Costs

Over the last five years, many temperature-controlled transportation companies have seen an increase in average load weight as well as a decreased number of loads shipped. This has impacted smaller carriers who struggle to survive. Rising transportation costs have increased the quantity of SKUs shipped per load well, in efforts to mitigate costs.? However, for the mid-tier food supplier this is not always a feasible option. They may feel forced to ship in smaller lots (LTL), which creates a higher cost per pallet. In order to?give the economic advantage back to the smaller refrigerated shipper, Hanson Logistics has created Velocities TM Multi-Vendor Consolidation (MVC) program. This allows many smaller companies to take advantage of the full truckload price by combining product lots with the same temperature requirements from multiple vendors who have all sold product to a single or low number of receivers.

As the country progresses through recovery and financial ability improves, the affordability of LTL shipping may come back into range for the mid-tier shipper. But the loss of many temperature-controlled carriers currently leaves the country with a combined capacity for the major carriers of approximately 10,500 tractors and 15,000 trailers at 3500 cubic feet of available space per 53 ft. trailer for national coverage. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) currently limits drivers to 11 hours of driving daily up to a maximum of 70 hours per week. Within each day?s driving, a 30-minute rest break and a 10-hour sleep period are required. Most major transporters limit the maximum speed of their trucks to 62 or 65 mph for fuel economy, allowing drivers to cover 500 to 550 miles per driving period. All this results in a shortage of capacity as the demand becomes greater. Hanson Transportation Management Service works hard to meet the needs of the mid-tier processor by offering consolidation plus national, regional and local distribution.