by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Cultivating the Next Generation of Supply Chain Leaders

Cultivating the Next Generation of Supply Chain Leaders

Three strategies cold chain shippers can use to ensure strong supply chain leadership today and in the future.

With the national unemployment rate hovering around 4%, the supply chain field is in the same quandary that many other industries are in right now—namely, finding skilled and available talent to fill their employee pipelines.

Going a step further, identifying and cultivating individuals who can lead the supply chain of the future is even more difficult, what with the abundance of jobs and opportunities that experienced professionals literally have at their fingertips online.

“Manufacturing, retail, logistics, and a range of other companies are scrambling to find supply chain professionals amid a severe talent shortage that threatens those companies’ very livelihoods,” Margaret Harrist writes in Supply Chain Talent Shortage: What’s an Industry To Do?

“At the same time, the skills needed are changing rapidly,” Harrist continues. “The challenge for employers is to find people with the necessary technical and operational competencies, as well as the ability to lead, apply analytical thinking, and innovate.”

Three Steps to Take Right Now

Here are three strategies that cold chain shippers can use to start shoring up their supply chain leadership pipelines for the future:

  • Define your company’s mission. According to the American Management Association, only 18 percent of managers and executives have a succession plan in place to respond to a sudden loss of key executives—not nearly enough to keep business productivity up as people retire, despite the added number of supply chain undergraduate and graduate programs. This is a major oversight for any cold chain shipper that wants to ensure a smooth transition to the next generation of supply chain leadership. “To get started, define an organization or team mission that identifies the specific objectives of your vertical, then use that mission as the foundation of your succession plan,” Tisha Danehl points out in Supply Chain Quarterly. An example of a mission may be something like: “Our goal is to provide quality service to customers while using technology to be sustainable.”
  • Position supply chain as a hotbed for new technologies. According to a recent industry survey, 70% of companies said that candidates’ perception that the “profession lacks status and opportunities for career growth have a high or very high impact on employers’ ability to find, attract, and retain talented people,” Harrist writes, noting that in many cases, those perceptions sometimes are perpetuated by the employers themselves. To buck this trend, focus on how supply chain professionals use emerging technologies (i.e., the Internet of Things, machine learning, robotics), and on how it “allows professionals to focus on several areas that are attractive to young people: improving environmental sustainability and increasing standards of living.”
  • Look outside of your organization’s four walls. “While it’s ideal to look internally, the truth is that sometimes you must go outside your organization to find the right person to lead your logistics or supply chain organization in the future,” Danehl suggests. “With senior leadership potentially approaching retirement, partnering with outside resources, such as a recruiting firm, can help you fill important roles.” Social media (i.e., LinkedIn and the new “Jobs on Facebook” feature), professional trade organizations, and partnerships with area educational institutions are all good resources for shippers to explore.

“By hiring talent directly out of college,” Danehl writes, “you can get an early sense of the candidates’ capabilities and build your workforce from the ground up to ensure that your future supply chain leaders have the right management skills.”

Are you interested in joining the Hanson Logistics team? We look forward to getting to know you, contact us today to learn about our current openings!

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

5 Reasons to Bundle Transportation and Warehousing with One Provider

5 Reasons to Bundle Transportation and Warehousing with One Provider

Siloed logistics approaches don’t work in today’s cold chain shipping environment. Here’s how to centralize those functions and get back to doing what you do best.

With organizational silos rapidly giving way to more open and collaborative business styles, being able to “flatten out” the logistics function and bundle multiple services with a single provider is becoming more and more important.

“For both small and large transit companies, maintaining multiple locations or expanding into new markets involves lots of variables,” FleetOwner reports. “Exploring costs and service-bundling options could mean greater efficiencies and money saved—and a better chance of success.”

Here’s how cold chain shippers can benefit from bundling:

  1. Focus on your core competencies. No more running around, trying to oversee and micromanage multiple providers and getting them to “talk” to one another. When it’s all under one roof, your central transportation, warehousing, and logistics provider will handle it all for you and allow you to focus on what you do best: supply customers with refrigerated and frozen goods.
  2. Use your provider’s infrastructure to save time and money. Delegating multiple company functions—such as warehousing and distributing—to a single service provider can result in significant time and cost savings. “Bundling these services together with one provider serves to reduce the resources required for oversight as well as provides for economies of scale,” FleetOwner notes, “as a transportation and distribution provider can often utilize their infrastructure and purchasing power to reduce distribution and fleet cost.”
  3. Have a single point of contact. Bundling logistics services with a single provider means you need only make one phone call, send one email, or schedule one meeting to get everything you need. Because this provider will serve as your focal point, you’ll avoid the wasted time, effort, and cost associated with tracking down multiple providers to get your questions answered or problems solved.
  4. Get consistent results. If you’ve historically used multiple providers for your cold chain transportation and warehousing needs, then you probably understand pains like inconsistent service levels, fluctuating rates, and unpredictable outcomes. By bundling these services with a single provider, you can avoid these uncertainties and focus on getting consistent results from one business partner.
  5. Create a win-win partnership. When companies skip around from supplier to supplier, they never really get the chance to create true, lasting partnerships with those providers. By putting the time and effort into working with one logistics provider, companies can create win-win collaborations that can help them shepherd their cold chains through even the toughest logistics environments (i.e., the current driver shortage and capacity crunches).

Demand for next-day delivery, the driver shortage, and rising transportation rates are all pushing cold chain distributors to find ways to work smarter, better, and faster in today’s transportation environment. In their quest to manage more volume and deal with more complex customer demands than they’ve ever faced in the past, more shippers are bundling fulfillment, warehousing, and shipping with single providers that can meet all of their current needs while also helping them prepare for the future.

To improve your cold chain shipping efficiency, contact us today to learn how Hanson can help.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

U.S. Growers Thrive as Consumers Load Up on Fruits and Veggies

U.S. Growers Thrive as Consumers Load Up on Fruits and Veggies

Spring planting time is here and as the produce season kicks into full gear it looks as if 2018 will be another good year for the nation’s food growers. With consumer tastes continuing to tilt in the direction of fresher, local, and more wholesome meal options, the companies that supply fruits and vegetables are in high demand. According to Packaged Fact’s Fresh Produce: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities report, consumers’ consumption of fresh produce grew steadily—albeit modestly at about 1.3%— between 2011 and 2016. Those moderate annual gains are expected to continue over the next several years through 2021. “Fruit and vegetable producers benefited from steady growth among the U.S. population, as well as from the fact that all age groups have high usage rates, especially Gen X adults,” says Packaged Facts’ David Sprinkle in a press release. “Fruits and vegetables are expected to continue experiencing growth in niche areas as consumers persist in seeking out novel flavors from around the world. Increases in disposable personal income will support purchases of premium fruits and vegetables, including non-GMO, organic, and locally grown types. Also, marketing strategies focusing on health and the delicious taste of fresh produce will help fruits and vegetables to expand their appeal and per capita consumption.”

Millennials Love Frozen Foods

Frozen foods are on a tear this year, and both fruit and vegetable growers are benefitting from consumers’ renewed interest in frozen options. Forty-three percent of Millennial shoppers said they have purchased more frozen foods this year than last year, according to a new report from Acosta. The frozen food revival also crosses generational lines, with 27% of GenXers, 19% of Baby Boomers, and 19% of the Silent Generation are also buying more frozen this year. Acosta attributes the growth to several industry trends, including:
  • Convenience drives prepared meals, and frozen meals enable consumers to have a stock of meals whenever they are out of time/ ideas/ fresh ingredients
  • Health and wellness – frozen food enables companies to offer longer shelf life without preservatives; textures are maintained without the use of artificial ingredients, and manufacturers are able to offer niche products at a better price point, including vegan options.
  • Better value for the money – hectic, unpredictable meal consumption leads to a staggering amount of food waste, and frozen food decreases the amount of food spoilage.
  • The rise of breakfast – with the search for new breakfast options, consumers are warming up to breakfast sandwiches and other frozen baked goods.

Nutritious and Natural Both Rank High

Right now, Food Industry Executive says grocery shopping preferences are “trending heavily toward nutritious, natural foods from transparent manufacturers that share their health goals.” Successful manufacturers are following suit, the publication reports, while convenient and healthy frozen options from restaurant-style appetizers to full dinners and desserts are “revitalizing the frozen food aisle, despite the common belief that fresh trumps frozen.” Packaged Facts points to the Green Giant brand as a good example of how frozen food marketers are getting back on track. The brand changed hands in November 2015, when B&G Foods purchased it from General Mills for $765 million and began breathing new life into the brand. In less than a year it was rolling out a series of new and innovative Green Giant frozen products, including veggie tots, a “kid-friendly, mom-approved alternative to potato tots and French fries that are filled with vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli instead of potatoes; riced veggies, made from 100% vegetables and with no sauce or seasoning, are positioned as alternatives to traditional rice; and mashed cauliflower, an alternative to the typical potato side dish. “Since the acquisition of this iconic brand, we have been working tirelessly to meet consumer desire for new, delicious ways to incorporate more vegetables into their daily lives,” Robert Cantwell, chief executive officer of B&G Foods told Packaged Facts. “This consumer desire has inspired the creation of new Green Giant frozen innovations, as well as the brand’s modernized persona, with the intention of bringing back the Green Giant with a purpose — adding more vegetables to America’s plates.”

Addressing Logistics Challenges

As produce season heats up, both manufacturers and their logistics providers are keeping an eye on capacity, rates, regulatory changes, and other issues that could impact their supply chains. With U.S. crop volumes growing between May and July—and due to the time-sensitivity of such shipments—expect available frozen and refrigerated capacity to shrink and rates to rise accordingly. “Tight U.S. truck capacity and rising rates marked the first quarter of 2018, and the outlook for the remainder of the year is more of the same, if not worse,” JOC reports. “That is the dilemma for shippers of perishable goods, especially food, who are seeing growing demand from buyers, on the one hand, tempered by a capacity crunch on the other.”
by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

How the New Generation of “Fast Food” is Impacting Food Logistics

How the New Generation of “Fast Food” is Impacting Food Logistics

Much like Uber did to ground transportation and Airbnb is doing to the hotel industry, doorstep food delivery is disrupting the food supply chain with its promise of delivering everything from raw ingredients to hot-and-tasty dishes right to the consumers’ doorstep.

In a world where searching for ingredients, visiting a store for those goods, and then going home to cook meals is giving way to more immediate, on-demand options, the logistics industry has found itself in an interesting position.

And when consumers can get their favorite meals with the tap of a mobile phone, both cold chains and refrigerated warehouses must be able to adapt quickly to that level of order fulfillment.

“The cold chain industry is changing fast. Between the increased development and usage of temperature sensitive biologic pharmaceuticals and consumer preferences for convenient, fresh foods, the cold chain must adapt quickly,” Datex Corp., notes in its 2018 3PL Refrigerated Warehouse & Cold Chain Trends report.

The All-Powerful Consumer is in Charge

With more than 600 refrigerated warehouse operators across the U.S., the cold storage warehouse industry is dominated by the top 10 companies, which own 80% of the market. This trend is poised to continue, Datex reports, as the largest enterprises merge or acquire smaller cold storage warehouse operations.

Consumer power is a major factor dominating the cold chain, where convenience, wholesome food, and just-in-time delivery are converging and creating new supply chain challenges. The shift away from highly-processed foods with a long shelf life to temperature-sensitive perishable food products, for example, requires an adjustment in the food supply chain.

“Because consumers value convenience and fast delivery, there are added complications,” Datex notes. “From U.S. ports to distribution centers, 3PLs and privately-owned refrigerated warehouses, designing a cold chain that meets consumers’ needs can seem daunting.”

More fresh and chilled products are being ordered in smaller quantities and from a wider range of product choices, Datex adds, leading to a proliferation of new product development, product and packaging changes, and updates.

“The food and grocery industry is changing at breakneck speed, due to consumer buying habits and expectations,” Datex concludes. “The cold chain needs to change and must become as flexible and transparent as possible and that will take technology, forward-thinking business executives and investments in innovation.”

Feeling the Impacts

In Blue Apron and the Subscription Retail Supply Chain, Arc Advisory Group’s Chris Cunnane says consumers like the model for its sheer convenience. Suppliers, on the other hand, face some unprecedented challenges in the race to provide that convenience.

Ensuring that ingredients are kept fresh during the delivery process, for example, incorporates both storage and delivery. The last mile, warehousing expenses, and labor also present their own challenges for companies with these new food delivery models.

“With continued innovation, and more companies joining the subscription ranks, the market is poised to continue to put more control over the shopping experience in the hands of the customer,” Cunnane notes. “The big question is whether these companies have the supply chain to accommodate the change.”

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

5 Things Every Cold Chain Shipper Should Know About the FSMA

5 Things Every Cold Chain Shipper Should Know About the FSMA

About 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from food borne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 4, 2011, enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system.

As a key element of this preventive approach, FDA was mandated under FSMA to establish science-based, minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce on farms to minimize contamination that could cause serious adverse health consequences or death.

The food safety law passed by Congress on December 21, 2010 aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. issued a written statement shortly after passage. Key facts about this legislation are presented below.

The FSMA is now final, and compliance dates for some businesses begin in September 2016. According to the FDA, this final rule is the product of an unprecedented level of outreach by the FDA to industry, consumer groups, the agency’s federal, state, local and tribal regulatory counterparts, academia, and other stakeholders.

Here are five important points that every cold chain shipper should know about the FMSA:

  1. There are new hazards analysis and risk-based prevention controls. Covered facilities must establish and implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls. The rule sets requirements for a written food safety plan that includes: Hazard analysis, preventative controls, monitoring, corrective actions/corrections, and verification. The latter, for example, includes validating with scientific evidence that a preventive control is capable of effectively controlling an identified hazard; calibration (or accuracy checks) of process monitoring and verification instruments such as thermometers, and reviewing records to verify that monitoring and corrective actions (if necessary) are being conducted.
  1. Farms aren’t subject to preventive rules control. The EPA’s definition of a “farm” includes two types of farm operations, and operations defined as farms are not subject to the preventive controls rule. A primary production farm is devoted to the growing of crops, the harvesting of crops, the raising of animals (including seafood), or any combination of these activities. A secondary activities farm isn’t located on a primary farm, but it is devoted to harvesting, packing, and/or holding raw agricultural commodities.
  1. Some companies will need risk-based supply chain programs. The FSMA mandates that a manufacturing/processing facility have a risk-based supply chain program for those raw materials and other ingredients for which it has identified a hazard requiring a supply-chain applied control. Manufacturing/processing facilities that control a hazard using preventive controls, for example, or that follow requirements applicable when relying on a customer to controls hazards, need not have a supply-chain program for that hazard.
  1. Employee training will be mandatory. Management is required to ensure that all employees who manufacture, process, pack, or hold food are qualified to perform their assigned duties. Such employees must have the necessary combination of education, training, and/or experience necessary to manufacture, process, pack, or hold clean and safe food. Individuals must receive training in the principles of food hygiene and food safety, including the importance of employee health and hygiene.
  1. Compliance dates for businesses are staggered over several years after publication of the final rule. Here are the deadlines:
  • Very small businesses (averaging less than $1 million per year in both annual sales of human food plus the market value of human food manufactured, processed, packed, or held without sale): Three years
  • Businesses subject to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (compliance dates extended to allow time for changes to the PMO safety standards that incorporate the requirements of this preventive controls rule): Three years
  • Small businesses (a business with fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees): Two years
  • All other businesses: One year

Click here to learn more about the FSMA.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

The Statistics Behind Solutions

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

Down with Red Tape: Compelling Reasons to Work with Smaller, Family-Owned Service Providers

Down with Red Tape: Compelling Reasons to Work with Smaller, Family-Owned Service Providers

Defined by Merriam-Webster as a system of government or business that has many complicated rules and ways of doing things, “bureaucracy” is often used to describe the inner workings of any organization that tends to operate with a lot of red tape, rules, policies, and decision makers. Hanson Logistics, on the other hand, has effectively bucked this trend and instead focuses on making it easy for customers of all sizes—and across numerous industries—to do business with it.

Counted among the largest refrigerated public warehouses in the country, Hanson is smaller than the conglomerates and internationally held PRWs.  Smaller companies are well known for their agility, growth potential, and ability to turn on a dime when the market calls for it, and Hanson is no exception.

Add “family-owned” to the equation and the attention to customer service, longevity, and sustainability becomes that much more focused. Rather than concentrating on what’s best for shareholders, for example, smaller firms empower their employees to make decisions instead of just deferring to corporate management. These qualities translate into less bureaucracy and more personal client and supplier relationships.

“When looking for a company to do business with, whether that’s as a supplier, a distributor, or service provider, it can be easy to go straight to the biggest names in the field,” notes Complete Biz Systems’ Size Matters: The Benefits of Doing Business with a Small Company. “However, when you look at the day-to-day reality of business, smaller companies often offer much more in return, providing you with a personal service that could suit your requirements far better than any global corporation ever could.” Just a few of those benefits include:

  • Understanding:  A small company is far more likely to recognize how your business works and what it needs to grow.
  • Accountability:  In large national or international companies, finding the person who is responsible for dealing with your query or complaint can be almost impossible.
  • Accessibility:  When contacting a small company, they’ll know exactly who you need to speak to, and if they’re not in the office, should be able to help you get in touch quickly.
  • Personal service:  Smaller operations are far more likely to take each client on individually, talking through their exact requirements and molding products and services to suit those needs. This way, you get a much more practical and targeted solution for your business needs.
  • Price:  Big businesses may be able to offer competitive prices due to the volume of business that they take on, but generally small companies will be able to offer you better deals on their products.

According to the National Research Center, other great reasons to work with small businesses include the ability to easily build relationships with owners and staff (and perhaps even feel like they’ve become part of a “family”); the opportunity to support the nation’s biggest job creators; and the fact that small business owners are generally experts in their field. This makes them better equipped to answer complex questions or provide innovative solutions for their customers.

For more information on how to leverage Hanson Logistics’ strength as a small, family-run logistics provider please visit us online at www.hansonlogistics.com.

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

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

GCCA Interview with Andrew Janson, President of Hanson Logistics

GCCA Interview with Andrew Janson, President of Hanson Logistics

We believe our success in the frozen food and 3PL industry is only possible with the seasoned logistics professionals on our management team.

As part of a recent issue of COLD FACTS magazine, the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) interviewed Andrew Janson, President of Hanson Logistics, to learn more about the current state of the cold chain industry and how it may continue to evolve in the future.

Janson joined the (then) Hanson Cold Storage team in 2004 as Vice President of Business Development. He serves on several boards, including the International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA) and is currently Chairman of the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association (MFFPA).

COLD FACTS: With 27 years of experience in food logistics, what’s the most significant change that you’ve seen in the cold chain industry?

ANDY JANSON: Technology, without question, both in the warehouse and transportation. When I started in this industry, we were picking with paper and pencil. Applying labels to cases of produce was a big advancement at the time. Today we have computers on forklifts and many warehouses are completely paperless—scanning pallet IDs, directed put-away, EDI, satellite tracking of trucks, trailers and reefer units, energy management systems and on and on.

CF: What factors impacted Hanson’s decision to enter the 3PL market in 2004?

AJ: Customer demand for transportation services caused Hanson Cold Storage to rebrand our organization as Hanson Logistics and offer transportation services utilizing both asset and non-asset based solutions.

Read more of the interview at www.gcca.org.