by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

The 3PL as a Technology Partner

Buying, implementing, and maintaining supply chain software applications can be an expensive and time-consuming initiative. Whether the projects are managed by your company?s in-house IT team or outsourced to a third party, the costs associated with this function can chip away at a company?s bottom line, put undue stress on a company?s resources, and result in unfavorable levels of system downtime.

To help alleviate these pain points, third-party logistics providers (3PLs) like Hanson Logistics have been investing in supply chain, logistics, and transportation applications that help customers work smarter, better, and faster without the need for big IT investments.

Gaining a Competitive Edge

By leveraging their 3PL?s technology investments, companies are getting systems up and running faster, avoiding lengthy implementation times, and blissfully ignoring ongoing upgrade and maintenance issues.

?To gain an edge in a competitive market, 3PL providers stay up to date with the latest developments in technology so you don?t have to,? writes Global Trade Magazine?s Steve Lowery in “Going it Alone.” ?The software that 3PLs create can provide visibility to monitor the entire supply chain through advanced reporting, helping inventory management, logistics planning, and many other business processes.?

In addition, Lowery points out that sophisticated software systems analyze and track processes to eliminate inefficient areas and fast track necessary links in the chain. ?By outsourcing logistics needs to a 3PL,? he writes, ?a company is able to focus more on its core competencies while being ensured that its logistics needs are being handled by reliable, seasoned professionals who are not only good at what they do but constantly looking for the newest ways to improve clients? tech options.?

Technology: The Missing Link

Already working directly with shippers to manage transportation of products in the most economically feasible and efficient manner possible, logistics providers rely heavily on technology to determine the best rates, select the best routes, and track shipments as they move around the world.

The same providers are using online platforms, websites, mobile devices, EDI, and password-protected platforms to share information with customers in real-time, thus taking on the technology investment burden and equipping multiple customers in the process.

For example, 3PLs use transportation management systems (TMS) to orchestrate product movement across the supply chain and the related transportation choices. Using reports and data, the software gives the 3PL visibility into the customer?s supply chain performance and supports future decision making.

At Hanson Logistics, we continually invest in upgrades to our supply chain systems. For example, through Infor?s Supply Chain Management System, all customers have secure access to their own inventory information, in addition to real-time order status visibility, inventory availability, and shipment status. The system has built-in parameters that are triggered in the event of back orders, order acknowledgement, shipments, or delays. This enables shippers to manage exceptions via pager, text, fax, email, or other means of communications with their contacts. In addition to dovetailing with our WMS, Hanson?s Transportation Management System (TMS) offers:

  • Track & trace, allowing customers and Hanson staff to track shipments through delivery
  • Customer defined reference numbers for added continuity
  • Secure access that gives shippers and authorized consignees tracking ability for transparent customer service
  • Easy-to-use interface for customizing event management and notification preferences
  • 24/7 access to instant rate information, carrier performance, and costing matrix, and reporting by carrier, location, date, activity, etc.

By leveraging these and other capabilities directly through your 3PL, you gain insights into the TMS-generated data that helps your company supply a high degree of customer service and satisfaction to its own clients. With a bigger emphasis being placed on the customer experience, having these real-time, actionable insights in today?s competitive business environment can mean the difference between a long-term customer and an unsatisfied client.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Looking for a Supply Chain Solution?

…You’ve come to the right place.

Working with Infor and MercuryGate, Hanson Logistics offers supply chain solutions to its customers that covers every step ? from order to warehouse to transportation. By leveraging our investment in technology, you can work smarter, better, and faster without the need for significant investments in IT infrastructure, implementation, administration, and maintenance.

Infor?s Supply Chain Execution (SCE) and the MercuryGate Transportation Management System (TMS) provide a robust supply chain execution solution for manufacturers, logistics providers, and companies with transportation management needs.

The two systems work together to provide secure access to your own inventory information, in addition to real-time order status visibility, inventory availability, and shipment status. The supply chain solutions comes with built-in parameters that are triggered in the event of back orders, order acknowledgement, shipments, or delays, the system also enables:

  • Multimodal, multi-leg planning, optimization, and execution
  • Control tower visibility and decision support
  • Reusability for setup, on-boarding, and repetitive moves
  • Highly configurable TMS in the cloud and on mobile devices
  • Adaptability to support and improve the workflow you want
  • Procurement, allocation, invoicing in a closed-loop process
  • Track & trace for all shipments through delivery
  • Secure access that gives shippers and authorized consignees tracking ability for transparent customer service
  • An easy-to-use interface for customizing event management and notification preferences
  • 24/7/365 access to instant rate information, carrier performance, and costing matrix, and reporting by carrier, location, date, activity, etc.

A single platform transportation management solution that enables companies to manage their multi-modal, multi-leg transportation across geographies while providing control tower visibility and decision support and managing fully-loaded transportation costs, MercuryGate TMS works with Infor SCE to rapidly customize solutions and select the delivery option that is right for each customer.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

5 Ways 3PLs are Modernizing Logistics

Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) like Hanson Logistics continue to make significant inroads in improving and modernizing logistics. With new products, safety regulations, and quality standards being introduced all the time, 3PLs give careful consideration to the challenges and opportunities associated with shipping and distributing temperature-sensitive products. Here are five ways that these providers are modernizing cold chain logistics right now:?

  1. Conducting thorough risk assessments on an ongoing basis. It?s no longer enough for a shipper to send out products in hopes that they will be handled properly on the way to their final destination. By helping customers identify potential points of weakness in the transportation or distribution process, 3PLs are playing an increasingly important role in companies? overall risk assessment strategies.?
  1. Leveraging technology to streamline the supply chain. It?s no secret that the greater the number of touch points there are along the cold supply chain, the higher the risk of failure occurring at one or more of those points. By using technology to improve supply chain visibility and develop transparent tracking and accurate forecasts, 3PLs can simplify the distribution process and ensure expedient, uninterrupted service for end customers.
  1. Adhering to stricter and stricter safety codes. Food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturers must follow precise guidelines when making, storing, transporting, and delivering their products. Top 3PLs understand all of the rules associated with these requirements and are helping their customers adhere to these strict safety codes and regulations.
  1. Extensive training on advanced systems and solutions. The best technology in the world is useless if no one knows how to use it and maximize it. By training staff members on proper software and application use, and by maintaining in-house teams to run and maintain their systems, 3PLs are leveraging cold chain-specific systems such as advanced monitoring, temperature control, and humidity control to manage the wide variety of items that are transported daily.
  1. Providing the quality and consistency that manufacturers require. In some industries, speedy delivery is a top priority. For others, it?s the safe handling of high-value goods. Within the cold chain, shippers want consistency and quality ? two measures that they can rely on when working with a 3PL like Hanson Logistics. Accustomed to working with sophisticated products that require an extreme level of detail and care, we help customers attain higher standards while delivering what they want most: consistency and reliability.
by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

The Statistics Behind Solutions

Success in today?s fast-moving transportation environment requires 100 percent visibility over the end-to-end, creating supply chain solutions. As your transportation partner, Hanson Logistics provides the access to real-time shipment visibility. This also encompasses online shipping management, reports, efficiency, and customer service that you need. Streamlining your transportation, distribution, and manufacturing operations to create visibility is easy with Hanson. We’re bringing the solutions to your needs.

According to Gartner, companies that gain visibility over the ?status and availability of products reduce inventory levels by 20 ?percent. They also decrease stock levels to less than seven days ?(from over 10 days), reduce freight charges, and cut manpower ?needs. Other key benefits include enhanced supply chain efficiencies, enhanced inventory management, and better synchronization of the end-to-end supply chain. These major factors can determine higher success for organizations who utilize it.

Ready to start creating visibility? We can help. Hanson Logistics provides a comprehensive transportation and logistics services suite plus the real-time visibility that you need to operate as efficiently as possible. We also can become a?business partner that can help you take better control of your inbound and outbound supply chains through improved visibility. Hanson Logistics is in the pursuit of excellence.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Hanson Represented at the Global Cold Chain Expo

This past week, from June 20-22, the Global Cold Chain ?Alliance (GCCA) hosted the inaugural Global Cold Chain ?Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. Hanson Logistics ?was able to be present during the length of the expo, not ?only representing at the conference but also hosting a tour ?for attendees at the Chicago Consolidation Center.

The Global Cold Chain Expo has grown considerably since ?past International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses ?(IARW) conferences. In previous years, the expo held only 100 exhibitors in a 12,000 sq. ft. space. This year noted a considerable jump to 165 exhibitors with 28,000 sq. ft. of presentation space. The over 14,000 attendees included World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) participants, IARW warehouse members, and 1,200 more registered participants.

Hanson Logistics hosted a booth to discuss with attendees the responsibility of maintaining food safety while distributing throughout North America. We also brought one of our state of the art trucks parked squarely in the center display for all to climb aboard.

During one day of the Global Cold Chain Expo, we also had the privilege of hosting several Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) members and expo attendees at our Chicago Consolidation Center in Hobart, Indiana. Equipped with full service Hanson capabilities, this facility anchors our Velocities Multi-Vendor consolidation program, and is strategically located east of Chicago congestion.

Our Consolidation Center also grants newer modes?of efficiency and quality in shipments. ?Everyone that we?ve run across: customers, potential customers, carriers; they love our location. Can?t believe that no one ever located in that northwest Indiana corridor,? notes Andrew Janson, Hanson Logistics President. The centralized spot helps service both west and east of the Mississippi River while reducing stress for truckers who normally spend their time in excessive traffic.

Offering a tour of our Chicago Consolidation Center gave global cold chain partners the venue to connect and network in the constant pursuit of excellence.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business

As a part of the ever-evolving cold supply chain, Hanson Logistics is always looking for opportunities to meet new customers and better ways to serve existing customers in the food and beverage industry. By attending this year?s AFFI Frozen Food Convention (AFFI-CON), Hanson Logistics will be among more than 1,400 processors, logistics providers, suppliers, retailers, foodservice distributors and operators. It?s a great venue for networking as well as learning about key issues in the frozen food and beverage industry.

This year?s AFFI-CON is about ?Takin? Care of Business??something that rings true for us as well. With our Chicago Consolidation Center being the hub for more than 120,000 distribution miles every week, we are always on the move. And now we?re excited to add SUPERVALU distribution centers to our network of delivery points.

SUPERVALU can now leverage into Hanson Logistics? expertise, WMS and TMS integration, and transportation management services for greater visibility and control, using one third-party provider.

Temperature-controlled distribution is more than order consolidation and shared truckloads ? it?s about taking care of business so our food processors can take care of theirs.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Green Supply Chain Management and the 3PL

Ever since the first third party logistics (3PL) firm opened its doors 40 years ago, 3PLs and cold storage providers like Hanson Logistics have evolved and transformed to meet their customers? needs. With more businesses paying close attention to the environmental impact of their supply chains?and finding ways to offset the carbon footprint associated with producing and distributing food products?3PLs play a vital role in making the transportation component ?greener? than ever.

According to the Green Supply Chain Management, Environmental Collaboration and Sustainability Performance?report, green supply chain management ?integrates environmental thinking into supply chain management? and aims to minimize or eliminate waste. Hazardous chemical, emissions, energy, and solid waste all fall under the GSCM umbrella; so does the waste associated with product design, material resourcing and selection, the manufacturing process, the delivery of final product, and end-of-life product management.

Once implemented, green supply chains help promote lean operations, earn the respect of customers, business partners, and employees, and improve profitability.

?Green supply chain management plays a vital role in influencing the total environmental impact of any firm involved in supply chain activities,? write the report?s authors, ?and thus contributing to sustainability performance enhancement.?

Already on the road delivering goods for multiple customers, 3PLs play a part?in green supply chain management by helping to reduce emissions, consolidate loads, and reduce fuel consumption. Always looking for ways to improve fuel efficiencies, upgrade their fleets to modern standards, and run vehicles at full capacity, logistics providers help decrease the emission of greenhouse gases, create greater savings-per-mile, and cut down on the total number of trucks on the road.

These and other environmentally conscious efforts help measurably reduce shippers? carbon footprints while also helping food manufacturers run more efficient supply chains. At Hanson Logistics, we know that the success of the value-added food sector is premised on a reliable cold chain that?s economical, compliant, and environmentally conscious. As the complexity of the agricultural and processed food supply chain continues to grow with the proliferation of flavor profiles, varieties, and wholesale and retail SKUs, the need to ?think green? is sure to grow exponentially.

By focusing on emission reduction and fuel conservation, and by efficiently laying out their facilities in a way that helps reduce equipment usage, transit times, and energy, today?s 3PLs are leading the pack when it comes to ?greener? supply chains. With efficiency and sustainability at the core of our business processes, we help food suppliers achieve their own green supply chain and sustainability goals while also helping them work smarter, better, and faster in today?s competitive business environment.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Keeping Cool in the Temperature-Controlled Logistics Industry

Keeping Cool in the Temperature-Controlled Logistics Industry

Temperature sensitivity and the complex logistics from manufacturer to customer present many challenges to the temperature-controlled supply chain.

Failure to maintain the correct temperature in moving food or beverage can result in degradation, spoiling, and microbial growth. While countries like the United States have advanced temperature-controlled warehouse and transportation technology, less-developed countries do not.

The U.S. imports 17 percent of the 650 billion pounds of food consumed each year, and some of those markets from which food is imported may have limited cold-storage infrastructure. Those nations? varying infrastructures become just one barrier to the efficiency of cold chains in the U.S.

Empowered with advanced technology, the U.S. food industry is focused more on visibility and traceability as top priorities that can help prevent potential issues in the cold chain. With new advances in tracking and scanning technology, shippers and 3PLs can gain better visibility into temperature-controlled transportation, ensuring greater food safety and quality. Because the cold chain involves many steps, each manufacturer, 3PL and carrier should have a list of checks and balances, sharing the responsibilities of the process.

One way to reduce the risk of damaged product and waste is through consolidated loads, such as the Hanson Logistics Velocities program. Consolidated loads are handled less frequently, which lowers the risk of damage and decreases transit time. With state-of-the-art TMS technology, Hanson Logistics also provides end-to-end supply chain visibility. Customers and Hanson staff alike can track and trace shipments through delivery.

Choosing to partner with a knowledgeable 3PL allows retailers to rest assured that temperature-sensitive shipments will arrive on time and in the proper condition. Subsequently this will strengthen relationships between manufacturers and retailers, which is key to having an efficient overall cold chain.

Contact Hanson Logistics today to receive best-in-class temperature-controlled transportation expertise from the beginning of the cold chain through the end, keeping each partner cool in the process.

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.